Proper cat care is a yearlong thing. As we enter autumn, it’s a great time to get the pets prepared for winter. Many cat owners don’t know their cats undergo subtle changes during the cooler months.
And that’s why this family vet clinic is taking a look at cat care in the cooler months and what you need to know
Feline skin is a delicate thing
As it cools down, we’re more inclined to use fan heaters, fireplaces and gas heating appliances. Artificial heat dries out all kinds of skin, including ours. It also dries out your cat’s skin. A cat with dry skin can be prone to irritation and dandruff. They can scratch the skin and damage it further.
Many cat owners incorrectly assume they can suspend flea and parasite prevention. Dry, vulnerable skin finds it harder to cope with fleas and other issues. So your cat’s skin can lose health quickly.
A couple of prevention tips against cat skin issues during winter include:
- Choosing nutritionally balanced cat food rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and Vitamin E. Both naturally soothe and protect the skin. We stock Royal Canin veterinary range foods at Fox Valley Animal Hospital
- Ask about Omega 3 supplements on your next vet visit. We also have Essential 6 oils that restores and optimises skin hydration. This helps keep your cat’s skin fit and healthy during Winter as added support
- Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. A humidifier can help your whole family avoid dry skin associated with heating a home. And if you have a fire, you can also use an old kettle with water to add moisture to the air. As long as it’s safe from being knocked by pets or out of the reach of curious children of course!
- Encourage hydration. Check that any outdoor water source isn’t iced over. And make sure your indoor water bowls are clean and inviting. Cat’s love drinking from places they shouldn’t such as sinks. Having a kitty sink filled with water will encourage drinking. There are also some great cat water fountains on the net designed especially for cats.
- Roll back any bathing routines and opt for brushing instead. The natural oils found in your cat’s coat helps keep them clean. It also protects them against the elements. So replacing regular washing with grooming can help distribute natural oils and keep excess fur at bay. It also gives you the opportunity to inspect the health of your cat’s skin and respond to any changes
If you are noticing your cat has dandruff or appears to be scratching a little more than usual, please bring them in. Dr Katie has an interest in skin related issues and will be able to advise on the correct course of action.
As an experienced family vet clinic, we know all kinds of ways to help minimise the impact of cold months on feline skin and coat.
Combating mobility issues and arthritis in cats
The cooler months see many more pets coming in for arthritis support and cats are no exception to the rule. Luckily for us, Dr Alex is knowledgeable in the area of pet arthritis and can help minimise the impact of this painful disease.
A couple of things you can do to help your cat deal with arthritis at home are:
- Minimise your cat’s exposure to icy, slippery surfaces. If your cat toilets outside, be aware that steps, window skills and paths can be slippery. Do what you can to minimise your cat’s exposure to frosty, wet and icy areas
- Make use of heat pads and warm bedding. Add a pet approved heating device to your cat’s bed. Even adding extra warm blankets can make all the difference to your cat. And make sure the beds are placed out of drafts and off the floor
- Explore your arthritis support options and diet changes for cooler months. We stock a range of medications, supplements and mobility support foods at Fox Valley Animal Hospital. Finding the right products to add to your cat’s diet to improve movement and mobility are only a short visit away!
If you suspect your cat is struggling with winter and mobility related issues, always bring them in.
Arthritis in cats can cause quite a lot of discomfort and even interfere with everyday routines such as grooming, so early detection and treatment is always best!
Cats and unusual cold weather challenges
You know a good family vet clinic when you stumble across them because the advice isn’t always about treatments and medications. It can be about behaviour as well- even the quirky stuff! Fox Valley Animal Hospital is one such family vet clinic in the Wahroonga area. We make knowing the curious side of cat care a big priority.
The cooler months pose a few interesting challenges for cats- some you wouldn’t normally think of.
Like most of us, cats are much less active during winter. This inactivity can lead to weight gain. Especially if they are still being fed the same amount of food. So a reduction in food or a change of diet may help avoid any unwanted weight related issues.
Cats are attracted to chemicals like anti-freeze. The sweetness of the scent of this chemical draws them to it and they may be tempted to drink it. Unfortunately, anti-freeze is incredibly poisonous. So if you need additional lubrication for the family vehicle during winter, make sure you lock any anti-freeze products away after use. And clean up any spills straight away
Cats love a warm place to snooze. Unfortunately, this means they might jump on warm car bonnets and snuggle up in tyres. Or seek out the warmth of machinery in action like behind the dryer, tucker box freezers and too close to the heater. Always make sure your cat can’t access and get stuck in warm, enticing nooks and crannies that might end up spelling danger.
The final word on cat care in cooler months
A little bit of preparation goes a long way when it comes to winter. Don’t be afraid to come in and have a skin check and ask advice on cat arthritis. And feel free to ask the vet nurses for advice on winter bedding, feeding, proofing tips and general care. That’s what we’re here for.