The onset of winter means it’s time to crank up the heating, boil the kettle and settle in for a cosy day indoors! However, the colder season can also come with its own risks to the health of our cats. All cat owners want to keep their four legged friends safe, whatever the weather. Which is why we’re sharing these ten winter cat health hazards you definitely need to know about!

Winter cat health hazards - cat playing in snow

1. Antifreeze

Antifreeze might help to keep your car running during the winter months, but it can be fatal to cats. It doesn’t help that it has a sweet flavour and smell, so cats can be tempted to drink it! Make sure to keep it out of reach and clean up any spills.

2. Road traffic accidents

With winter comes longer nights, and the darkness can cause an increase in road traffic accidents involving pets. Keeping outdoor cats inside during night time is often the best way of making sure they stay safe. Find out more here.

3. Human foods

Food isn’t only a winter hazard, but certain items tend to be found around the home more often over the Christmas period. Goodies such as chocolate, raisins, coffee and alcohol can all harm your feline. Resist giving them turkey bones too, as they may splinter!

4. Cold weather

Even though they have fur coats, cats can still feel the cold! Just like us, if their temperature drops too low they can be at risk of frostbite and hypothermia. Symptoms include shivering, a slow heart rate, drowsiness and low temperature. If your cat displays symptoms such as these, take them to your local vet.

Winter cat health hazards - kitten plays with bauble

5. Salt

Salt plays a great role in keeping our paths and roads free from snow and ice, but can be dangerous to cats. The salt can irritate their paws, causing your moggie to lick them. This can create an imbalance of electrolytes within their body, which might cause them to drink more than usual and seem confused. If you suspect this may have happened to your cat, contact your vet.

6. Medication

You probably already know to keep medication away from your kitty! But if you have friends and family coming to stay, they might not be aware. Make sure you let them know to hide any medication they might have brought to stop your cat getting their paws on anything dangerous!

7. Decorations

With Christmas comes decorations, which can be a problem in more ways than one! Do your best to keep your cat from knocking anything large over, such as the Christmas tree, and also smashing any glass baubles, to prevent injury. It might also be best to avoid using tinsel, as it can quite quickly form into balls in your cat’s stomach when ingested.

8. Plants

Around the festive season you might have plants such as mistletoe and holly around the house, both of which can be severely poisonous to cats! Poinsettias are also poisonous, however a cat would have to eat a lot for it to have a serious effect, and the taste is quite unpleasant!  

Winter cat health hazards - cat sleeping in wheel arch of car.

9. Cars

Outdoor cats and strays can get really cold during the winter months, and often look for warmth by laying under car bonnets, on engines or in wheel wells. Before setting off during winter, giving your bonnet a tap or sounding your horn might be a good idea, in order to give any cats a wake-up call and the chance to escape!

10. Heaters and fires

Cosying up to a warm fire or heater can be especially attractive to your cat in cold weather. However, this might not do them much good and could lead to burns. Take precautions to protect them from heat sources using guards and positioning their bed near, but not next to, a radiator.

Whatever the weather, ensuring your four-legged friend feels safe and secure is always important! Another thing you could do that might give you extra peace of mind is to consider taking out cat insurance. At The Insurance Emporium, we offer flexible Cat Insurance policies with a range of Standard Benefits, as well as a range of helpful Optional Benefits. You could also receive up to 30% discount*. Head to The Insurance Emporium to find out more!

* The 30% discount is made up of 20% Introductory Discount plus 10% Multi-pet Discount (if appropriate). The Introductory Discount is available for the first 12 premium payments on lunar and calendar monthly policies or one premium payment on annual policies.

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