How To Tell if a Cat Is Cold

Lisa Selvaggio
by Lisa Selvaggio
Zanna Pesnina/Shutterstock

Despite your cat’s luxurious coat, they can feel cold sometimes, and it’s important to make it easy for them to warm up because, if they get too cold, they could become hypothermic. Keep reading to learn how to spot the signs that your cat is cold, and how to help them feel warm and comfortable.

Signs Your Cat Is Cold

Cats of all ages and breeds can feel the effects of the cold, but kittens, seniors, and those who are ill are more susceptible. And, of course, hairless cats can get cold even faster. 

Here are some of the ways to tell if your cat is cold:

Your cat’s body feels cold – Feel your cat’s body to see if they’re cold to the touch. If their ears, paws, and tail are colder than normal, they may need help warming up. 

Your cat’s posture changes – A cat who’s cold may curl up in a ball to try to warm up. You might also find them puffing up their fur or they might be in a hunched position as they try to conserve heat. 

Your cat is looking for warmer spots – A kitty who’s feeling the chill in the air will find the warmest spots in the house. They might get under the thick blanket on your bed, or they might insist on sitting in your lap. And you might find them spending more time near a heater or fireplace. During the day, they might also move to areas that get more sunshine to feel its warmth.

Your cat isn’t as active – When a cat feels too cold, they may become less active. If your pet is sleeping more or appears lethargic, first make sure that another medical issue isn’t to blame. If it’s because they’re cold, take action to warm them up, including turning up the heat in your home. Bear in mind that cats with certain conditions, such as arthritis, might feel even more discomfort when it’s cold, and this can lead to changes in activity level and behavior too.

Your cat starts shivering – Like people, cats shiver when they’re very cold, and this is a sign that you need to warm them up right away. But because this could also be a symptom of other problems, from illness and pain to stress and fear, be sure to determine if temperature is really the culprit.

What To Do if Your Cat Is Cold

There are many ways to help your feline friend feel cozy and comfortable, such as:

Give your cat a cozy bed and blanket in a warm spot

When you see that your cat is feeling cold, give them a warm bed that they can rest in to warm up. There are heated beds that you plug in, as well as self-warming beds that work without electricity. Plus, there are heated pads that can be helpful in making your kitty feel cozy. And you can let your cat crawl under a soft blanket for extra warmth. Just be sure to use heated beds and pads as directed to prevent injuries. 

Let your cat relax in a warm area in the house, such as near a heat source or in a spot where the sunshine streams in during the day. Move your pet away from drafts.

Snuggle with your cat

Once your cat finds a comfortable spot on the bed or sofa, you can lie down next to them to help them warm up with your body heat. They’re sure to love the attention, and you’ll get to be near your purring feline friend.  

Put sweaters on your cat

As long as your kitty doesn’t mind wearing clothes, you can use sweaters to keep them warm on chilly days. This is especially useful for hairless kitties. And you can use clothes to keep your cat warm while exploring the outdoors with you.

Protect cats who spend time outside

If your pet is an adventure cat who goes outside with you, or an indoor/outdoor cat who goes out on their own, check outdoor temperatures first. Generally, it’s best to let them spend time outside only when it’s at least 45°F (7°C), but every cat is different, so some might only feel comfortable when it’s even warmer than that.

Whenever it’s cold, raining, windy, or snowing, keep them indoors until the weather clears and warms up. Remember, cats who are cold or wet for too long are at risk of frostbite and hypothermia.

Note: If you have an outdoor cat, they’ll look for shelter to stay as warm as possible, so give them a safe and dry outdoor enclosure that will protect them from the elements if you can’t bring them into your home, which would be preferable.

Check Out These Products That Help Cats Stay Warm

Here are a few products we recommend for keeping your cat warm:

K&H Thermo-Kitty Bed Deluxe Hooded

This round pet bed has high sides for security and comfort, and comes with a hood that zips on and off for cats that prefer more privacy. The Pet Bed Warmer inside the cushion will provide extra heat to help your feline warm up faster.

Furhaven Self-Warming 4-in-1 Plush Long Faux Fur Convertible Cuddler Pet Bed

Self-warming beds don’t need to be plugged in, and this one has elastic loops and buttons that make it possible to configure it in four different ways, from a flat mat to a bed with high sides. It helps your pet warm up by reflecting their body heat back while they rest.

Best Friends by Sheri Calming Pet Throw Blanket in Shag Fur

This shag throw blanket is lightweight, machine washable, and dryer safe. Use it on your bed or sofa so your kitty can rest on top of it or get under it for extra warmth. Plus, your cat will probably want to smurgle or knead this irresistibly soft blanket once their paws touch it.

Help Your Cat Stay Warm and Cozy When It Gets Chilly

Feeling cold isn’t any fun, especially for cats who prefer warmer temps. So, if you notice that your pet is showing signs of being cold, make it easy for them to warm up fast.

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Lisa Selvaggio
Lisa Selvaggio

Lisa Selvaggio is a freelance writer and editor, and our resident cats-pert, with certifications in pet nutrition and pet first aid. She enjoys producing content that helps people understand animals better so they can give their pets a safe and happy home.

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