Monthly Archives: January 2014

Should I Let My Cat Out In The Cold?

People assume that because cats have their bodies protected by hair that they will be able to handle cold weather. Depending on the severity of the weather it may be ok to let your cat out in the cold. With 27 states currently experiencing a cold snap at present I think that it is timely to bring up the subjects of Hypothermia and Frostbite.

Keep Kitty Inside As Much As Possible When Temps Are At 30º F.

Keep Kitty Inside As Much As Possible When Temps Are At 30º F.

HYPOTHERMIA

Technically speaking Hypothermia is low body temperature and can occur as a result of being exposed to low outdoor temperatures for a prolonged period and can be exacerbated by being wet. Hypothermia can also occur following shock or anesthesia.

SIGNS OF HYPOTHERMIA

Violent shivering, lethargy, low body temperature of below 97º F and shock. This can result in unconsciousness, coma or at worst, death.

WHAT TO DO

Bring the cat inside and try to warm him/her as fast as possible.

Use a heat pack if available, however check the temperature first.

If the cat is wet give a warm bath if possible and dry thoroughly.

Be very careful using hairdryers as it could burn the cat’s skin.

Take the cat’s temperature, if you have a rectal thermometer.

Replace towels and heat pack until the cat’s temperature reaches 100º F. Check the cat’s temperature at 10 minute intervals.

Take the cat to the Veterinarian for assessment and further treatment, if warranted.

FROSTBITE

Frostbite is the actual damage that occurs to the skin and underlying tissues when the cat is exposed to extremely cold temperatures. Common places for frostbite to occur are the ears, toes, paws, scrotum and tail.

Cats with heart disease or diabetes are at higher risk of developing frostbite due to poor circulation to the extremities.

SIGNS OF FROSTBITE

Skin may be pale and white or blueish and grey then red and swollen later.

Peeling skin.

Affected area is cold to touch.

Pain when affected area is handled.

Swelling may be evident.

Blisters or skin ulcers may be present.

Black skin otherwise known as necrotic or dead tissue.

As the affected area thaws your cat will experience pain and there will be redness and swelling evident. It may take days for the dead tissue (necrosis) to appear.

WHAT TO DO

Bring the cat inside and treat indoors.

Dry the cat with a towel carefully and wrap in a heated towel or blanket.

Place a warmed heat pack inside but check temperature first.

Do not rub or massage the affected area.

Apply warm water to the affected area/s with a compress or soak their limb in a bowl of warm water for approximately 15-20 minutes, then dry off afterwards.

Do not use hairdryers in this instance

Do not give the cat any medication for pain

WHAT NEXT

Once circulation returns to the affected area it will become evident by the color of the skin, if necrosis has occurred. Note that it may take several days before necrosis becomes evident, therefore frequent assessment is important.

Depending on the extent of damage surgery may well be required as well as antibiotic therapy and pain management.

In some cases there may be no long term effects, however in extreme cases the cat may require surgery to remove dead tissue or even limbs. The prognosis will depend on the period of exposure, the cat’s age and medical history.

Please be aware of temperatures in your area, and if extreme keep your cat inside. If your cat has been exposed to extremely cold conditions outside, commence with the measures listed above, then take the cat to the Veterinarian as soon as possible for assessment and treatment.

 

 

Looking After Your Cat on a Hot Day.

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It is extremely important when looking after your cat on a hot day to provide adequate shelter and hydration. This ensures that your cat will be comfortable and will not suffer from the heat and its effects.

It may not be hot where you are right now, however hopefully you will remember these tips when it is and refer back to them. People sometimes forget that their animals have special needs during the extremes of our weather.

On hot days, always provide cool or cold water in and out of the house. Keep ice blocks handy in the freezer during Summer so that they can easily be popped in Kitty’s drinking water. If possible ensure that Kitty is inside and preferably near an airconditioner. Everyone knows that you can’t always tell a cat what to do, so if your cat prefers to stay outside, ensure that there is shade and water. If transporting your cat to an appointment on a hot day, always drop the cat off first, never leave the cat alone in the car, temperatures can rise quickly causing distress, permanent damage, and at worst death.

Be on the watch for signs of heat stroke, including fatigue, loss of appetite, excessive panting, diarrhoea or salivating. Heat stroke is an emergency situation, and if suspected your cat must be taken to the Vet immediately.

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