Yes, a cat can freeze to death. Cats can also suffer from hypothermia when exposed to extreme cold the same way humans do. The most important thing to remember is that if it is too cold for a person to be outside, it is also too cold for a cat to be outside.
If you want to learn more about how your cat deals with the cold and how to keep it from freezing to death, keep on reading.
Can a cat freeze to death?
Yes, cats can freeze to death when they are left out in cold weather for too long. Due to cold weather, the cat will begin to suffer from hypothermia. Their breathing and heart rate will decrease, and they will begin to suffer from neurological problems, heart problems, kidney failure, and frostbite. Eventually they will die.
Studies have shown that cats may freeze to death if their body temperature falls below 60°F. The best way to ensure your cat’s safety during winter is to go outside yourself. If it is too cold for you, it will be too cold for your cat. This is especially true at night when the temperature drops significantly.
That is why it is important that we pay extra attention to our cats during winter. This is especially crucial for outdoor cats who spend most of their time outside.
What temperature will kill a cat?
When the temperature drops below freezing (32°F), it can be dangerous for your cat. This can cause hypothermia and frostbite, and may even lead to death.
What are the signs of hypothermia in cats?
Hypothermia is rare in cats, but it can still happen. Here are the signs to look for if you suspect hypothermia:
- Shivering and trembling
- Decrease in heart rate
- Cat cannot stand or walk
- Difficulty breathing
- Cat’s gums are pale or blue
- Pupils are dilated
- Cat is cold to the touch
- A body temperature of 95°F or lower
What do I do if my cat has hypothermia?
If you suspect that your cat has hypothermia, you have to act as quickly as possible to treat it. If you do, you may be able to reverse the early stages by just warming your cat up. The later stages of hypothermia will require a visit to the vet for more intensive treatment.
When you find your pet out in the cold with the signs mentioned above, take it inside the house and into the warmest room. Dry the cat off completely with towels and a hair dryer set on low. Hold the hair dryer about a foot away from the cat. When the cat has been dried thoroughly, wrap it up in a warm blanket. Wrap a hot water bottle in a towel and place it on your cat’s stomach.
If you have a thermometer, check that your cat’s temperature is not below 95°F. If it is, take it to the veterinarian immediately.
If the cat’s temperature is above 95°F, wait 15 minutes and take its temperature again. Continue getting your cat warmed up with towels and hot water bottles. After you check your cat’s temperature a couple more times, if it has gone higher than 100°F, you can remove the hot water bottle but keep the cat bundled up in a blanket.
Even if your cat’s temperature has gone above 100°F, you still need to take it to the vet, ideally that day. This is because even a single incident of hypothermia can do some possibly irreparable damage to your cat and may even make it more prone to hypothermia again.
What do I do if my cat has frostbite?
Hypothermia is not the only problem that can arise when your cat is exposed to the cold. Like humans and most mammals, cats can suffer from frostbite in extremely cold conditions. It typically occurs on the cat’s extremities, as well as its tail, ears, and toes. If you suspect frostbite, check your cat’s skin thoroughly. If you spot areas that are paler than usual, take your cat to the vet as soon as you can.
How can I keep my cat safe during the winter?
The simplest thing to do come winter time is to keep your indoor cats warm through the winter months. Doing the same for outdoor cats may be trickier, but there are numerous ways you can keep your outdoor cat comfortable in the winter to reduce the possibility of hypothermia and frostbite from happening.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, it is imperative that they have a winter-appropriate shelter that they can easily access. Their shelter has to be protected from the wind and should be insulated, because strong cold winds can make the temperature feel lower than what it actually is. It does not have to be a large space: as long as your cat is able to stand up, turn around, and stretch inside the shelter, it is large enough.
An outdoor cat needs more calories during the winter months to help keep its optimal body temperature and conditioning. The lower the temperature is outside, the higher the energy the cat’s body will require. Large, calorie-rich, healthy meals can help up your cat’s metabolism and help stave off the cold.
Along with food, water is vital to a cat’s survival. Because water can freeze quickly when left outside, make sure you are regularly checking your cat’s water bowl. If you are in a part of the country where water left out in the cold freezes almost immediately, it may be best to purchase an electric bowl to prevent the water turning to ice.
Always check under the hood of your car before you leave. Cats like to get away from the cold and into a warm spot to snuggle. This can be very dangerous and even fatal for any cat. Before starting your car, check under the hood and kick the wheels to wake any sleeping kitties.
Lastly, even if your cat is very independent and is normally fine in the winter, take time out of your day to check in on it. If you notice any signs of illness, take them seriously as this may make the cat even more vulnerable to the elements. If your cat does not seem 100% healthy, coax it indoors to take proper care of it. If things seem more serious than what you originally thought, do not think twice about taking it to the veterinarian.
Yes, a cat can freeze to death when the temperature outside is 32°F or the cat’s body temperature is 60°F or lower. Your cat can suffer from hypothermia when its body temperature reaches 95°F or lower. Some cats get frostbite on their extremities, tail, ears, and toes if left out in extreme cold for too long.
When you suspect hypothermia in your cat, take it inside into a warm room, dry it with towels, wrap it in a blanket, use hot water bottles, and take its temperature to make sure it does not have hypothermia. If you can, take the cat to the vet on the same day to be examined.
Keep your cat safe during the winter by providing a sturdy and warm shelter. Feed your outdoor cat more calorie-rich food, make sure its water does not freeze, check under the hood of your cat for sleeping cats, and check on your cat everyday.
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