Cats are independent and empowered creatures.
They often live life to the beat of their own drum and do not long for lots of attention or companionship from their owners in the same ways that dogs do.
Cats enjoy exploring the outdoors, wandering different gardens and streets, whilst searching for their own food or snack to steal away.
In this way, we can grow used to their independence, and fickle nature, and tend to leave them to their own devices.
However, it is important to note that during the winter months, or in colder climates, cats will need extra care and attention, and cannot be left to sleep outside at night.
Temperatures can drop majorly at night, and your cat can possibly freeze to death if left outside with no means of returning home.
This is why when the winter months come, we often are reminded to check under our vehicles before driving in case cats have taken refuge near the warm engine of the car.
Just because a cat has fur, does not mean it can keep itself insulated in freezing cold temperatures, and should be treated just as you would like to be. If you would not like to sleep outside in the cold, then do not make your cat sleep outside in the snow.
Generally speaking, if it is too cold for you to sleep outside, then it is too cold for a cat to as well.
Although cats can become acclimated to colder and outdoor temperatures, they will always need a place of refuge or shelter to warm up. These shelters can protect from wind, rain, snow and the cold if your cat is left outside.
Kittens, adult cats or sick cats should not be kept outdoors when the temperature is below 45 degrees fahrenheit for their wellbeing and their safety.
Even though cats can be feral and look after themselves, a pet cat will be used to living indoors or at home, and will not be able to fend for itself against the elements.
How to stop a cat from freezing to death
The main cause of cats freezing to death is if they are kept or lost outside and cannot find a warm shelter to survive the night.
Many owners may forget that their cat is outside, or accidentally leave them in the cold.
If you think your cat is at risk or freezing, then you should try to find your cat immediately, or try to entice them home.
How can cats freeze to death?
Cats can suffer from hypothermia, just as humans do. In this sense, cats can become so cold that they become unconscious, and may freeze to death in cold temperatures.
With this in mind, it can help you gauge as to whether it is too cold outside for your cat.
Hypothermia can happen when temperatures fall below freezing, which is 32 degrees fahrenheit. Your cat may be at risk of hypothermia if left outside in low temperatures, and can suffer frostbite. This will over the space of a few minutes result in them freezing to death.
It is important that you understand the symptoms and effects of hypothermia, in the case of an emergency or if you are worried your cat may be freezing to death.
When an animal is suffering from hypothermia, their body temperature will drop drastically. This can cause kidney failure, heart failure, neurological issues and slow breathing.
If these symptoms persist then the animal may stop breathing, have frostbite and will eventually freeze to death. In order to prevent this, there are a few warning signs you should look out for.
How to tell if a cat has hypothermia
If you are concerned that your cat may be suffering from hypothermia, you will need to act fast. Hypothermia can set in quickly, and without proper care your cat can freeze to death.
There are many symptoms that you should be aware of, to prevent this from happening. The first and most common symptom of hypothermia is excessive shivering and trembling. This is rife when an animal is too cold or scared. You should be concerned if this shivering suddenly stops.
Your cat may become sleepy or lethargic or even pass out due to freezing temperatures, if this happens you should take them to a professional veterinarian to seek medical help.
Their body and fur may become cold to the touch, and their body temperature can reach below 95 degrees fahrenheit if suffering from hypothermia. They can also suffer from difficult breathing or fail to stand up and walk properly.
If your cat has dilated pupils, a decreased heart rate or pale gums and eyes, then they may be freezing to death, and you will need to seek help immediately.
How to stop your cat from freezing
If your cat is suffering from early stages of hypothermia, then you can act fast to warm them up and bring them back to health. If any more serious or life-threatening symptoms are prevalent, then you should take them to a veterinarian as soon as possible.
The first thing you should do is remove them from the cold environment and take them somewhere warm and cozy to bring their temperature back up to normal. Dry any rain, snow or dampness from their fur with a towel or hair dryer.
Try to keep checking their temperature to ensure that it is rising to a regular level, and wrap your cat up with blankets. If their temperature is still below 95 degrees, then you will need help from a medical professional.
You may also wrap hot water bottles in towels or blankets to not burn your cat, and place them on the animal. This should successfully bring their temperature back up.
If your cat’s temperature and breathing goes back to normal and the symptoms of hypothermia subside, you do not need to seek emergency veterinary assistance.
However, you should try to visit the veterinarian after the incident to ensure that your furry friend is kept purrfectly safe and healthy.