How Cold Is Too Cold for Indoor Cats?

How cold is too cold for cats

How cold is too cold for cats? Winter is right here, and with temperatures dropping, many loving cat owners, like me, might be wondering about: 

  • how much cold an indoor cat can tolerate
  • at what temperature do house cats get dangerously cold 
  • what is the coldest indoor temperature that a housecat can safely handle with its coat
  • how cold is too cold for cats in your house
  • how do indoor cats stay warm in the winter
  • do cats get cold easily
  • what is the right temperature for a cat to keep warm 
  • how to keep an indoor cat warm during winter

I understand your concerns and agree with you. You only want the best for four-footed members of your family. For this reason, I would like to explain and detail these questions in this blog post.

How Cold Is Too Cold for Cats?

I guess I don’t need to say how much cats love the heat. Anyone who lives and loves a cat knows that they are heat-seekers. You can always find them on your home’s warm spot since they know all the warm corners of the house better than anyone. We often see our cat snoozing in the sun, snuggled up to a radiator, or under a quilt. Heat makes them feel comfortable so they are attracted to cozy places, like under your blanket. It is simply unpleasant for cats to be cold. They can be restless, fussy, and irritable during cold weather conditions. It would be good to make sure that your cat has a couple of warm spots at home, especially in winter.


We know that cats are extremely adaptable and good at getting alongside in all sorts of unique environments. However, cats are quite adaptable animals. They may be at risk of disease if the temp is too low because they are usually quite sensitive to sudden temperature changes. Cats have a body temperature of around 37- 38 degrees Celsius, just like a healthy person.


Despite this similarity, we have a significant difference in the resistance to heat changes. We can tolerate colder temperatures better than cats. We can put on warm clothes and drink warm beverages to warm us up. Whereas low temperatures, in general, can cause numerous health complications from a simple cold to hypothermia risk for cats. That’s why it’s important to know the right temperature for our cats, and we should try to keep our house at that temperature.

What Is the Ideal Temperature for Indoor Cats?

For most cats, the proper room temperature is around 21°C. If the room temperature drops below 21°C, hypothermia becomes a real risk. Cats hold a similar body temperature to humans, so if you’re shivering, chances are your cat is uncomfortable, too. It is fair to say that our cats are fine if we are not feeling cold. A house below 21 °Celsius can be considered too cold for a cat, so keeping your thermostat around 21 °Celsius is a good way to ensure they’ll stay cozy all winter long. This will enable the cat to maintain its optimum body temperature. It is good to remember that these are all based on a typical cat, so you should know some other factors that can affect your cat’s relationship with heat.

Some conditions affect indoor cats’ tolerance to temperature changes and cold. Let’s take a look at these.

  • What is your cat’s breed?

Finding the best room temperature for cats with inside the wintry weather truly relies upon the breed. Many short hair breeds originated in hot climates, and their bodies are still wired for warmth. Long Haired cats will retain warmth easier, as their fur will offer extra protection from the cold. A long-haired cat can be fine with a less warm home, even as a short-haired or skinny cat may want it warmer. Norwegian forest cats, Maine Coon cats, and other similar breeds are genetically able to withstand colder temperatures.

Meanwhile, a hairless cat like a Sphynx will experience truly cold even if you are feeling just a little chilled for your home. A hairless cat, such as a Sphynx, will feel the cold much more. Hairless cats typically need a sweater even when indoors. You may want to take some extra measures for cats without hair to make them feel warm and cozy. While most cats do not like clothes, Sphynx cats would wish to a hoodie or sweater in the less warm winter months. You should prefer smooth fabric rather than something itchy to their skin. If not, you might have to deal with a sneezing cat. A quick tip: In dealing with a sneezing cat, have some humidifier that’s going to add additional moisture in the room. 

  • Weight

A cat’s weight is a decisive factor in how resistant it can be to temperature changes. Cats’ normal body temperatures can range from 37.5 °Celsius to 39.2 °Celsius. However, what they need to stay warm is varies depending on their weight. Obese cats can likely handle the cold better, but they would also be slower, which would expose them to other dangers.

  • Age

our cat’s age is also an important factor in temperature tolerance. Young cats are more sensitive to temperature than adult cats.
Young kittens need to be kept warm since they cannot regulate their body temperatures. In contrast, adult kittens can tolerate cold better compared to them. Healthy adult cats are hardy and skilled at moderating their body temperature. However, it would help if you still were mindful of the risk. Older cats with arthritis issues may have a hard time tolerating colder weather.

  • Cats with special conditions

In some special cases, cats need better care and attention. Whatever the breed, some cats need extra protection from the cold. If your cat is pregnant or nursing a litter, you need to take special care that the mother cat and her babies are warm enough. As cats age, they tend to lose body fat, and like older people, they get cold easier. Cats with diseases like diabetes and others need more attention and care. You must pay extra attention to sick, pregnant, nursing, very old, operated, disabled, injured cats. Their immune systems are not strong enough, and they are more vulnerable to diseases. A very young cat, an elderly cat, or a cat with health problems can lose their lives from temperatures well above freezing. 

Symptoms of a Cat That Is Cold

Although some symptoms in the hustle and bustle of daily life can be overlooking, as a cat owner, you need to observe your cat better, especially in the winter months, which require extra care and attention. Because early diagnosis and awareness prevent future unavoidable consequences, signs, and symptoms of chills may differ for each cat. When an animal like a cat gets cold, the individual hairs stand up slightly so that there are very small spaces between them.

While those aren’t instantaneously and certain caution signs, there are numerous warning symptoms that your cat is just too cold:

-shivering

-trembling or cuddling into warm spaces

-slow breathing 

-feeling cold around their footpads 

-sitting in a hunch position 

-difficulty breathing

-puffing fur

-a loss of coordination

-low energy

Of course, we should be mindful of all the symptoms listed above. However, one critical thing to remember: Cats are very good at masquerading their discomfort and hiding their pain. Keep a close eye on them, so you don’t miss the chance to catch any potential health issues early on.

Another thing that should consider is that some cats may not show any of these symptoms. Do not rely on your cat to shiver when cold since not all cats display this behavior. That doesn’t mean the cat is not cold. You will need to observe your cat and look for the warning signs. If your cat exhibits these symptoms, contact your vet immediately.

What to Do If Your Cat Is Displaying the above Symptoms? 

First of all, you should stay calm. You can’t heal your cat unless you’re okay. I have a few methods you can try before you go to the vet. But if you are in doubt, contact your vet. I will give tips but am not a doctor.

Let’s start with the simplest: turn up the heat and try to get them to spend five to ten minutes in a hot, steamy bathroom can help open their airways.

Another thing you can do is to keep your home humid and use a humidifier. Increased humidity will help with your cat’s breathing while they’re sick. Moreover, it is also important to separate other household pets. You should also provide fresh and clean water to your cat because a sick cat needs to keep hydrated. After that, you can wipe their eyes and nose with a damp towel to remove discharges.

Another thing to do is warm their food – it makes it smell tasty.

Let’s also see what you can do to understand how serious your cat’s condition is: check your cat’s gums. They should be a soft pink color. If your cat’s gums are red or pale, and they feel tacky or sticky on your finger, then it is time to go to the vet.

You may be able to reverse the early stages by trying the suggestions listed above. However, later stages will require more treatment and a vet trip.

What Special Precautions Should I Take in My House to Protect My Indoor Cat During the Winter?

My cats also like warmth and don’t like being cold. I should make my home more sheltered and comfortable for my cats to not face alarming situations for my cat’s health during the winter months. Below are a few tips that you might be able to apply.

First of all, heated cat beds can help keep your cat warm. Choose a style based on the type of bedding your cat has previously preferred for sleeping. If you are concerned about the security of heated cat peds, make sure that you provide your cat with several cozy sleeping options so she can curl up and get away from cold surfaces.

The second suggestion is to pay higher attention to your cats’ coat care because hair is a fabulous insulator. Help your cat make most of the assets by combing and brushing it every day.

Another piece of advice is to make sure that you do not skip daily play-time with your cat. My cat loves laser pointers. It doesn’t cost much; however, a laser toy can keep your cat entertained for hours. Playing with cat laser pointers is a great way to keep them exercising and, more importantly, warm. Do you want to buy a cat laser pointer? I made a post about the pros and cons of a cat laser pointer.

My last tip is to increase the number of meals you feed your cat to help it bulk up its coat and face up to chillier temperatures.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you find this post about the heat that indoor cats need in winter interesting and helpful. In this post, I wanted to inform you about the ideal temperature for an indoor cat. Because of the fact that even indoor cats need a little help staying warm in the winter, I mentioned some tips on this issue.

If you like this post, then you may want to look at some posts in the Cat Life part since this post is also part of it.

When you know someone who likes to know more about what an indoor cat needs at an ideal temperature in winter, then feel free to share this post. Additionally, do you have any experience relating to cats and cold weather? If so, please feel free to leave a comment down below.

By Marleen

Marleen van der Leest is a truly madly deeply cat lover and founder of That Is for My Cat. She wants to share her knowledge about cats with other people who like to know more about cats.

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