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C2006-49

Dear Christopher Cat

How can I keep my indoor-outdoor cats safe this winter? I know they’d be safer indoors, but they like to go outside, and besides, they keep our barn’s rodent population under control.

Christopher Responds

I am a long-haired cat, but even I get chilly in cold weather. So be sure your cats have several places to keep warm.

Some cats warm themselves by sleeping under a vehicle’s hood, against the warm engine. To prevent them from getting hurt when you start your engine, bang on the hood before you climb into your vehicle.

Watch for yellow-green puddles of antifreeze, and immediately clean them up with a paper towel.

Ethylene glycol antifreeze is so deadly that we cats can die from licking even a few drops from our coats as we groom.

Provide extra rations of high quality food, because your cats will need to eat more to maintain their weight during the winter.

Change their drinking water daily, and make sure it doesn’t freeze. Freeze-proof water bowls are available at pet supply stores and through pet catalogues and Internet sites.

Use a pet-safe sidewalk deicer rather than rock salt, which burns our feet.

Pet-safe deicers are safe for pets and children, and they have additional benefits:
· Unlike rock salt, which is corrosive, pet-safe deicers don’t damage concrete, asphalt, plants or indoor flooring;
· While rock salt stops working below 15 degrees Fahrenheit, pet-safe deicers remain effective to zero or below; and
· Most leave an invisible film that continues working for a few days.

If you follow these guidelines – and let your cats inside whenever they wish – they’ll likely survive until the return of the warm weather we cats prefer.

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