In detail

Can cats freeze to death? Detect hypothermia


Cats are protected from freezing temperatures by their fur, but only to a certain extent. Hypothermia occurs more often in cats than you might think. We will tell you how to recognize them, what you do with hypothermia and whether cats can also freeze. Hypothermia in cats should not be underestimated - Image: Shutterstock / Vladimir Konstantinov

Small animals like cats can not withstand icy temperatures. Snow and cold can hit them despite their fur. The four-legged friends are generally very warm. Hypothermia can have far-reaching consequences for you.

Hypothermia in cats: these are the signs

When a cat suffers from hypothermia, it not only trembles excessively, but also has cold extremities. Therefore, owners should especially keep an eye on body ends such as paws, ears, nose and tail.

Ideally, cats have a body temperature of 38 to 38.5 degrees Celsius. Anything below 37.5 degrees Celsius has to be acted on. Otherwise, in extreme cases, a cat can even get a cold shock.

Can cats freeze to death?

If cats are exposed to freezing temperatures and have no way to warm up, there is a risk of frostbite. A distinction is made between the following three levels:
● First-degree frostbite: When the cat warms up again, the hypothermic area of ​​the skin turns red. It can also swell, itch and also hurt. However, the symptoms subside after a while.
● Second-degree frostbite: If, in addition to redness and swelling, there are also blisters on the hypothermic area, then this is called second-degree frostbite. This also remains without consequential damage.
● Third degree frostbite: The supercooled parts of the body die, which means they turn black and look dry. Scars due to open skin wounds can also occur.

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What are the causes of hypothermia in cats?

Hypothermia occurs when animals are exposed to extreme cold without protection. Newborn kittens in particular are susceptible to them. The same applies to cats that have been involved in accidents and are then in shock. Cats should therefore always be covered in emergencies.

Hypothermia in cats: what to do?

If a cat is hypothermic, first aid must be given. This consists of slowly warming up the animal again. To do this, first bring the cat to a warm place. Cover them up. A hot water bottle can also be helpful at this point. But be careful: Since there is a risk of burns, the hot water bottle should not be too hot and should not be placed directly on the small four-legged friend. It is best to wrap them in a towel beforehand.
Infrared lamps can also give warmth to a hypothermic cat. However, lukewarm water warms the animal from the inside. It is also a good idea to keep the extremities under warm but not hot water and then massage your paws and the like extensively.
However, if the cat has a strikingly high pulse and only shallow breathing, there is a risk of a cold shock. Then it says without hesitation: off to the vet!

Prevent hypothermia and frostbite in cats

Hardly a cat will want to go out voluntarily on cold, rainy or snowy days. However, if your cat is a free-lover through and through, then this is generally harmless for young, healthy animals. Just make sure that your four-legged friend can always return to the warm apartment.

If this is not the case because you are working, for example, it is advisable to set up a small refuge outside so that your cat can protect itself from wind, rain or snow. A small warming hut is ideal for this.