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Cats and Snow: A Complicated Combination

Cats and Snow: A Complicated Combination

Posted by Armarkat on 7th Dec 2023

If you live in a cold climate, you may have seen your kitty gaze out the window in awe of the snowflakes. But do cats like to be in snow? Cats of certain breeds or especially adventurous cats are more likely to tolerate or even enjoy the clumps of puffy frost gathering on the ground. However, most cats are content with watching the dazzling show from the comfort of their favorite windowsill.

Historically, felines came from arid environments, according to Modkat, so anything wet that also makes it hard for them to move around is not comfortable for most cats. Norwegian Forest Cats and Siberian breeds are an outlier since their extra thick coats evolved to endure their snow-covered surroundings. Their thicker paw pads are also key to helping them stay warmer for longer periods of time. A study by Stanley Finger and Ulf Norrsell published in the Journal of Physiology determined that a cat’s feet are almost as sensitive to temperature as a human’s hands.

Regardless of typical cat behavior, a few kitties have curiosity so strong that matters of weather are secondary to their urge for a stroll in the natural world. Tuxedo cat Luc-Luc wants to go for a walk every single day, rain or shine, warm or cold. But his cat parent has to reign in his desire to explore the outdoors when the temperature dips too low. PetMD reports that the average adult cat will struggle with temperatures lower than 45 degrees Fahrenheit, though elderly cats, kittens, and cats with illnesses may have an even more restricted threshold of tolerance. Also, cats are at risk of hypothermia in freezing temperatures. Having fur doesn’t exclude an animal from the threat of frostbite, either. Medivet explains that cats’ ears, tail, and toes are particularly vulnerable to frostbite.

Cat parents who walk their kitties in frosty weather also need to be aware of the dangers of ice-melting additives on sidewalks and streets. Rock salt can be very harmful for your cat in multiple ways. Medivet warns that “Prolonged contact can sometimes lead to chemical burns, dryness and painful cracking.” Also, ingesting rock salt is toxic for cats, so Medivet advises that you “always wash their paws as soon as they return home to prevent them from licking it off themselves.”

But what about cats who are purrfectly content to stay indoors all winter? Well, their cat parents also need to be aware of wintertime risks. YuMOVE writes that it’s normal for cats to be drawn to radiators in the home, as they are naturally attracted to heat sources. However, cats’ love of warm surfaces can prevent them from paying attention to their health: “In fact, they love the warmth so much that they sometimes don’t know when to stop and become at risk of overheating.” According to Modkat, this scenario can be avoided by setting up a barrier around the radiator, or even a simple screen, and providing a cat with a cozy cat bed. Armarkat offers several cat beds that will keep your kitty warm and cozy all winter! On our website you can find a wide variety of beds for your home feline, from plush poofs to covered hideaways and even ones that can unzip into a luxury blanket. Many are machine washable and there are dozens of styles and colors to choose from:

Quote of the day: “Winter hikes aren't really my thing. I like long walks on top of my human's laptop."


Journal of Physiology, National Library of Medicine, “Temperature sensitivity of the paw of the cat: a behavioural study”

Medivet, “Caring For Your Cat In Snow And Freezing Temperatures”

Modkat, “Do cats like snow?”

PetMD, “How Cold Is Too Cold for Cats?”

YuMove, “Do cats like snow?”