Do Cats Like Snow?
By Ed Malaker
If you live in an area with lots of snowfall and are thinking about getting a cat for your home, you probably wonder if your cats like snow. Generally speaking, cats don’t usually like snow. However, that doesn’t mean they can’t live in an environment that gets snow, nor does it mean that all cats hate snow. If you want to know more about cats’ relationship with snow, keep reading while we discuss how cats deal with this cold white stuff and how you can help them enjoy it.
Do Cats Like Snow?
Most indoor cats will prefer to stay out of the snow if given a choice. Despite their heavy coat, cats usually prefer to stay in warmer environments. While not true in every case, indoor cats that spend a lot of time on the porch during the summer months will start to stay in more as the temperature drops, long before the snow arrives. These cats will often refuse to venture outside, even for a short time once the snow comes.
Outside and Feral Cats
If you allow your cat to go outside unrestricted, it likely has a territory it needs to watch over, and it will continue to go outside undeterred by the snow. Feral cats don’t have the luxury of a warm home, and they will likely find a warm spot to hide out when things get too chilly. Snow for these cats is likely a nuisance like it is for humans, but their thick coat of fur can protect them from cold temperatures.
Snow Is Better Than Rain
Your cat probably prefers snow to rain because rain is more likely to penetrate the fur. Once the fur is wet, the cat can become cold. Wet fur is also heavier, which means the cat will need to expend more energy to move around. With snow, only the cat’s paws and legs are likely to get wet as the cat can shake off the rest, so there is much less water in the fur allowing the cat to stay warmer and remain lightweight.
Do Any Cats Like Snow?
Some larger cat breeds native to areas that receive a lot of snow may enjoy playing in the snow and may actually look to go outside more often in the colder and snowy weather. Snow-loving cat breeds include the Maine Coon, Scottish Fold, Norwegian Forest Cat, Russian Blue, Himalayan, and Persian. If you have one of these breeds, you probably have a different experience than most cat owners when it comes to cold weather and snow.
How Cold Is Too Cold for My Cat?
Most experts suggest that when the temperature is continuously below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s time to bring the pet inside or provide it with a warm shelter that it can use if it gets cold so that hypothermia doesn’t set in. Signs that your cat is getting too cold include shivering violently, difficulty breathing, skin that’s cold to the touch, lethargy, and even loss of consciousness.
How Can I Keep My Cat Safe in Snowy Weather?
Keep It Indoors
The best way to keep your cat safe during snowy weather is to keep it indoors until the storm passes. Even outdoor shelters can be dangerous because whiteout conditions can occur that can cause your cat to become disoriented and unable to find its way home. Cats kept indoors will not get lost, nor will they need to worry about sudden temperature drops.
If your cat insists on spending time outside in the snow, we highly recommend building or purchasing a shelter that you can use if it should need it. Several commercial brands are available, and you can even heat them with heating pads if it stays dry, adding an extra layer of warmth and comfort for your pet. As we mentioned earlier, while your cat might not be able to find shelter in a whiteout, even more common is that other animals looking for shelter can move in, causing a territorial dispute that might be dangerous to your cat.
Most cats prefer to avoid snow, but they are quite capable of surviving in it, and you shouldn’t let their distaste for it sway your opinion against getting one if you live in the north. However, several species, including the Main Coon and Norwegian Forest Cat, prefer cold weather if you want to make your cat as comfortable as possible, but allowing your cat to go outdoors unrestricted is dangerous for many other reasons besides cold weather and keeping it indoors is our recommendation.
We hope you have enjoyed this short guide, and it has helped answer your questions. If we have helped you understand your pet better, please share our look into if cats like snow on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: Konstantin Zaykov, Shutterstock