Summer has passed and winter is on its way! Now, you’ve probably heard or read about the effects of changing seasons on humans, but have you ever wondered about your furry friends?
We cats live through our senses – light, temperature, sounds, smells – and as these change with the seasons we respond to those changes mentally and physically. So, just like humans, we are affected by seasonal changes.
You might notice that as the weather cools, your kitty’s fur is getting thicker. This is especially true for cats that are exposed to the outdoors. Conversely, in the hotter months, you may notice that we shed more heavily as we lose our winter coats.
Your cat’s skin may be drier during the winter months, especially in climates like ours that are lower in humidity. If you think your cat’s skin is overly dry and flaky, check in with your vet clinic for some recommendations.
Just like you, cats can develop arthritis and joint issues and these can be more of an issue as the weather gets colder. Signs of discomfort may include stiffness, a change in our movements, and sometimes our disposition – grumpiness can be a sign of pain.
Cats are usually more active during spring and fall when the weather is less extreme. In the summer you may find us lounging on cooler surfaces such as tile floors and in the winter we like to visit the heater vents on a regular basis!
Cats sleep more in the summer and during the hottest parts of the day to avoid overheating. You may also notice that your kitty also sleeps a bit more in the winter; this is a natural instinct to conserve energy and store fat reserves during the colder weather. We do love comfy, warm spots to snuggle in, so make sure you have plenty of those around the house especially when the temperature is dropping!
In the winter months, cats need more food to stay warm, so you may notice your kitty eating a bit more. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to feed us more in the winter and any concerns about diet and weight loss should always be discussed with the doctor.
You may be familiar with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder), a form of depression that can affect people during the winter months. While the research on pets and SAD is limited, we know that cats do respond to the feelings of their humans. If you’re feeling down, your kitty may pick up on that and respond in kind. To combat a case of blues, take advantage of sunny days and open the curtains. You may also want to play a bit more with your cat, which can be a mood lifter for both of you!
You know, the older I get the more I realize how much kitties and humans have in common! I hope you and your kitties are enjoying our crisp autumn days as much as I am – winter will be here before we know it!
Here’s looking at you, Kits!