Your cat wants to go outside even if it’s winter and it’s very cold?

Is it too cold to let him go outside?

To find out, ask yourself these 3 questions:

  • When your cat wants to go back inside, will you be home to greet him?
  • If you have to leave, how long will it be before you come back?
  • Can your cat stay out in the cold as long as that?

You can also rely on the recommendations of the Canadian Pediatric Society to get an idea if it's too cold outside to let your cat out:

  • At -15°C and above

o   It is recommended to have children play outside every day, while making sure they are dressed appropriately;

o   Cats can also be allowed to go outside, but the owners must be available to let them in a reasonable amount of time (maximum 8 hours provided they have a place to protect themselves from the wind).

  • Between - 15 ° C and - 27 ° C

o   It is recommended to closely monitor the signs indicating that the children are cold;

o   Cats may also be allowed to go outside, but the owners must be available to let them in as soon as they “ask” to go back in.

  • Below - 27 ° C

o   Do not let children or cats go outside.


*Don’t forget the wind factor!

What can happen to my cat if I let him go outside?

He could get frostbite!

When the cat's skin is exposed to the intense cold of winter, the blood vessels that are on the surface shrink. That means there is less blood going to his skin. If contact with the cold continues for too long, then inflammation will appear and cause frostbite. The skin will then swell, get red and be painful. 

Severe frostbite can result in the death of the affected cells. When a lot of cells die then part of the affected skin can even fall!

There are 3 body parts of cats that are at higher risk of having frostbite:

  • The ears. Because they are far from the center of the body, they are very thin and they are often not very hairy;
  • The footpads. Because they are not protected by fur and they are in direct contact with the frozen ground;
  • The tip of the tail. Also because it is far from the center of the body, it is not thick and there is less hair there than elsewhere on the tail.

How do I protect my cat from the winter’s cold?

Put a coat on him or other clothes? 

Unless you stay there to keep an eye on him the whole time he's outside, it's not a good idea because the coat or other garment could cling to different objects. Your cat could then get stuck, in a fence or under a shed for example. 

To build a shelter  for him? This is a good idea. Your cat could then hide from the cold of winter. A shelter could also serve as a refuge for stray cats.


What you need to remember...

In short, cats can go outside in cold weather, but not at any temperature or for long periods of time. Otherwise, they may get frostbite or, worse yet, die of cold!

Your cat went outside while it's very cold and looks uncomfortable when coming home? Make an appointment at one of our establishments  to treat his frostbites, if any.

Text created in February 2019