5 Ways to keep your cat happy and healthy all winter long

Winter is a dream for some cats and a right pain for others. Some cats love lying beside a radiator, snuggling up on blankets and taking it easy for a few months. Others would rather roam outside and can get pretty naffed off when the weather stops them doing their usual rounds. Either way, your cat may need a little extra attention during the winter months so here are some ideas for keeping your cat happy and healthy this winter…

1 PLAYTIME

Your cat might be going outside less during the colder weather so it’s a good idea to have an alternative way to entertain them indoors. My cat refuses to step outside the back door if it’s wet out – and it seems like she complains at me for making it rain! If your cat is just as fussy with frost, rain or wind, you can keep them active by playing with them inside.

Use a laser, teaser or catnip mouse like this one made by my friend Alice from Wool & Whiskers to engage your cat in a game of chase. This helps to give them a bit of exercise if they’re staying indoors more. Plus, it helps to keep their mind active and engaged too, which is healthier for them than just sleeping the winter away. It’s so much fun to see my cat’s inner kitten come out when she’s lured into a game and starts pouncing on the laser mouse that my mum bought for her.

2 DIET

Giving your cat the right food for their age is an easy way to make sure they’re getting the nutrients they need. Any age over 7 years old is classed as a mature cat, and there are plenty of food options available that are suitable for an older cat. Of course, I haven’t told my cat that she’s now eating ‘senior’ food (I’m sure she things she’s still a fresh young thing) but it meets her nutritional better than a food formulated for kittens or adult cats.

The key here is to check the advice on how much to feed your pet to make sure they’re eating the right amount for their age and size. Not too much, not too little, just right. If your cat is staying indoors more and exercising less in the winter, they may gain weight if they are over-fed (it happens to us all!) and it’s surprising just how little dried food cats need when you actually weigh out the recommended quantity.

3 HEALTHY TREATS

Nowadays, treats aren’t just treats – they’re treatments too. I’m talking about Toothies or Dentabites that help with your cat’s oral health. Or treats that contain taurine for heart and eye health. Or a tasty paste that aids digestion, or provides essential vitamins, or helps with furballs. Long-haired breeds and indoor cats are more prone to hairballs so I make sure that my cat has a little paste treat as regularly as the product recommends.

4 SOMEWHERE TO SCRATCH

When your cat goes outside, they may like to have a good stretch up the trunk of a tree or a enjoy scratch on the decking. While they’re stuck indoors in the winter, they’ll probably be missing their daily claw-sharpening, and might start doing it on the arm of your sofa instead. So it’s a good idea to get your cat a scratching post to give them the enjoyment of scratching without doing any damage to your furniture. I bought this low-cost scratching board for my cat, which can be mounted on the wall or on the floor. You never quite know with my cat if she’s going to be up for using something new but this was a hit with Muffin straight away.

5 CALM MOMENTS

Cats can become stressed when routines change or even if you move furniture around a room. I mean, they’ve only just got used to the Christmas tree being in the room and now it’s gone again and the whole room has been reconfigured. Plus, there are more of you in the house at the moment so your cat has to deal with a change in how they use the rooms. You can help ease their anxiety around change by using a synthetic pheromone spray to leave ‘happy home’ messages around the house. This lets your cat know they are safe and can relax in their home this winter.

Let me know any other tips you have for taking care of your cat in the winter in the comments below and I’d love to hear all about your pets so please tag me in your cat photos on instagram @Cassiefairy.

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in lifestyle promotion studies. She loves to 'get the look for less' so regularly shares thrifty fashion posts, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.