The paws of any animal, cats included, are designed to be resistant to most types of weather and wear. They don’t wear shoes, after all- this is how they get around town! However, winter can cause new problems to occur- snow, sleet, and cold rain can have terrible effects on our furry friends. Their paws, noses, and skin can dry up and go brittle, causing them itching and other forms of discomfort.
But not to fear! There are home remedies for these types of seasonal ailments, and also preemptive ways you can ward off the winter harm on your pets. Read on for information on what causes dryness, home remedies, and other guidelines. Keeping your furry friend happy is so important.
Smaller dogs and cats are more susceptible to changes in temperature and weather- after all, they don’t have as much body mass or fur to ward off the cold. For cats, dry paws, noses, and skin can come from prolonged exposure to the cold. Windows left open during this time may be perches where your cat usually sits. The cold air will sap moisture from their fur and little noses.
Prolonged activity, as well, can cause dry paws in the winter months. If you have an outdoor cat that likes to run around, running on ice and snow can cause lumps or redness to form on their paws, an obvious source of discomfort. Repeatedly being on ice and slamming their paws down on it can cause inflammation as well. When you bring them inside, the dry heat will dry out any moisture left on their body, leading to cracked, uncomfortable skin.
Wetness and cold, in short, do not bode well for small furry animals.
First off, don’t let your cat out multiple times a day. Going out into the cold and wet and coming back into dry heat will cause their skin and nose to dry up and crack. After they are outside, place a humidifier near their favorite spot indoors, or simply humidify the air in your home at a regular basis. More moisture in the air will keep their noses, skin, and paws from drying out due to the cold.
Trim longer-haired cats so pieces of snow and ice, and water in general, don’t have as many places to stick to their body. Snow and ice on a cat’s fur will not only feel cold, but also melt uncomfortably. The chill can dry their skin. This way, too, salt crystals won’t stick to their fur. You don’t want salt all over your floors, and you definitely don’t want your cat accidentally licking that up.
After and/or during walks or being outside, use a towel to gently get all ice and snow off of your feline friend. Keeping them dry will help, oddly enough, with less drying of their skin! After baths as well, dry them off as fast as you can.
In terms of bathing, though, try to do so as little as possible when it’s cold out. The texture and properties of their fur and skin is made in such a way to keep them protected, and washing them constantly strips them of that outer protection. Moisturizing washes are better than regular shampoos in the winter, and can provide extra relief.
If you’ve always wanted to play dress up, now is your chance. Cat sweaters or shirts can keep their little bodies warm if they’re short-haired, and the trapping of heat keeps them from getting dry. Little booties for their paws, too, may help! With protection on their feet, walks outside or even inside walks with cold floors won’t be as harsh on their little paws.
Brush your cat’s hair as often as you can- this helps with blood circulation under the skin, which keeps the skin as healthy as it can be to stave off dryness.
During the winter, animals burn more energy trying to stay warm. Because of this, you may want to feed your cat a bit more during the winter, and make sure they have plenty of water. Keeping them fed gives them the energy to stay warm, and staying warm will prevent their bodies from drying.
Water-resistant creams, balms, or even your cupboard petroleum jelly can be put on the pads of you furry friend’s feet to keep their paws moisturized and happy. Creams and balms for the skin, as well, may help with any dry spots. Put a little dot of lotion on their dry noses.
The best tip there is, though? Keep your pet inside and away from cold areas as much as possible. Make sure your house is warm. If you feel cold, your cat may- or likely- feels colder. Bundle them up like you bundle yourself up.
Taking care of a pet can be hard enough, but during the colder months they need even more attention. If you’re chilly, they’re chilly. To keep them warm and to keep their paws, noses, and skin from getting dry, there are many at-home guidelines and remedies. If you follow these tips, your cat will stay moisturized and happy all winter long.
Enjoy this article? We've covered more topics like this one on the Fauna Care pet care blog!