Winter Tips for Pets and Outdoor Animals

Orange cat sleeping on windowsill with miniblind.
A Sunny Spot Deserves a Cat

First, get a windowsill. It’s a great place for a cat or dog—or person—to soak up the winter sunshine.

Don’t take for granted that animals can survive outdoors. Simply because other animals live in the outdoors without human intervention doesn’t mean that our pets can—and it doesn’t always mean that those animals whose habitats are outdoors live well or even survive the winter. A Chihuahua with short, thin fur or a delicate Italian Greyhound with no body fat obviously don’t have the resources of a squirrel who’s doubled his fur and fattened up on nuts and fruits (and my bird seed and suet). Cats may tolerate cold for a while, but their small bodies lose heat quickly and extremities like tails and ears can easily be lost to frostbite.

While the cat above isn’t a stray like yesterday’s kitty, I’m sure a windowsill like this one would be the dream of many a cat who’s found itself fending in the great outdoors. I’m starting off the winter tips as a follow-up to yesterday’s post about feral cats with information addressed specifically to caring for stray or feral cats outdoors during the winter.

The Homeless Cat Management Team’s website,, has a detailed page on how to build a shelter and provide food and water for strays and ferals through the winter at Winter Care for Ferals. In addition, they also have in interesting page describing the difference between strays and ferals at What is a Feral Cat?

ModernCat also published a list of tips for caring for cats outdoors at (Too) Cool Cats: Winter Care Tips for Outdoor Cats.

And for pets outdoors, The HSUS Offers Pet Safety Tips for Winter Weather, including a link to more information on caring for feral cats outdoors, and the ASPCA’s Cold Weather Tips will help keep your cat and dog comfortable during walks and backyard breaks during the winter months. One of my neighbors as I grew up had a small dog of mixed breed, and the dog had more coats than I did, which I thought was cute but also thought it was just my neighbor being silly. Now I know differently.

And here is the full view of the same kitty from above, who didn’t even flick an ear as I walked around his window and snapped about two dozen photos. I like the stained glass light above the window, the shades of blue a nice complement to all the orange tones in the cat, the brick , and even the reflection on the white miniblind. Looks like it might be a painting some day?!

Neighbor's orange cat sleeping on the windowsill
A Scene of Orange and Sunshine
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