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How to Prepare the Immune System of Outdoor Cats for Autumn

author Lucy Byrne | Health and diet

A Norwegian Forest cat or a Siberian cat enjoy winter. However, a Sphynx suffers, for example. It is apparent that every cat deals with autumn and winter differently and needs different care. If your furry friend lives exclusively at home with you, you don’t need to prepare it for the change of weather. Its living conditions do not change a lot. However, if it spends some time outside or at leasts sits for long whiles at an open window, it is good to support its immune system. 

The cooler it gets, the more energy a cat needs to maintain its body temperature and the creation of a sufficient layer of the subcutaneous tissue. Therefore, it will need a larger supply of energy in the form of food. My friend who operates a temporary cat shelter and therefore has years of experience in taking care of these noble creatures claims it can be said how tough the winter will be. And she says it is obvious from the appetite of cats – the more food they want, the tougher the winter will be. And it even holds true even for strictly indoor cats.

In cold weather, it is particularly important to have high quality food. A cat needs more energy, so it needs higher supply of food to get it. With higher quality food, the amount does not increase so much as the energy in them is easily accessible and thanks to the high level of digestibility, the organism doesn’t have to use so much energy for digestion when it’s needed somewhere else and it doesn’t create unnecessary burden for it. If you feed a strictly outdoor cat, it is great to opt for high-energy cat food, usually “outdoor cat” range. 

Warmth is more easily maintained by healthy, thick fur, so pay more attention to it. Comb it to remove potential clumps of hair but do it carefully and use a right comb so you don’t damage the hair structure or pull out the undercoat. The fur quality can be also supported by food supplements, the salmon oil is great, for example. It is also a good idea to add other food supplements that support the immune system. For example, vitamin C in the form of hips, sea buckthorns or cranberries. These “superfruits” are also contained in some  healthy treats.

If you feed an outdoor cat, give it the food bowl somewhere with the least exposure to wind, rain and snow. The bowl also shouldn’t be directly on the ground. There are various stands and holders for bows, but a simple piece of polystyrene will also be good. Change the water more often and when it gets even colder, check it so it doesn’t freeze. 

You will have no worries if you place the bowls somewhere under a roof. Good choices are a boiler room, a cellar, a shed or a garage, for example. Every cat should at least have an unlimited access to a dry and relatively warm place. Basically to some place where it can hide if the weather is bad. Such a place will also be good for it to get its strength back if it gets cold.

Check the health of the cat regularly. Notice the unusual things, may it be in the physical shape of your furry friend or in its behaviour. A perfect opportunity for this in outdoor cats is during feeding. If you aren’t sure everything is okay, have your cat in a warm place at home for a couple of days or if the symptoms are not clear, contact your vet. 

How well does your cat handle autumn? Does it go out even when the weather is bad or does it rather stay at home in these darker days?