Cats and Cars in Cold Weather

During the cold winter months cats will often seek out any warm space they can find. Help keep your own and your neighborhood cats safe this winter by following the tips below and talking with your veterinarian about cold-weather care for cats:

Keep your cat inside
The best advice regarding your own cat is simply to keep him indoors during the winter. You’ll protect him not only from engine dangers but also from becoming lost, stolen, or injured. Jane Harrell, former Editor-in-Chief of Our Site, is no stranger to the devastation that can be caused simply by turning a key: “I’ve been in the pet industry for thirteen years, and every year there is a story that comes up about a cat that’s gotten trapped in a car [engine]. I’m hoping we can share the message about this and help save a lot of cats out there.” To keep your own cat safe, Jane suggests simply keeping him inside during the cold months. “If you allow your cats outside they are more likely to seek a place of warmth, and underneath or inside a car’s engine are two very warm spots,” Jane says.

Check on your cat before taking any trips
With your cat safe inside, it should be easy for you to check on her before leaving on any trips. Maddie, a seven month old Tabby cat, somehow survived her family’s 100 mile long trip in 2009. Maddie was unknowingly stowed away during the drive that lasted for ninety minutes. Her family almost learned the hard way how important it is to check on your cat before any trips are taken. Other cats aren’t as lucky as Maddie was. In 2012, a cat named Pebbles barely survived his 15 mile trip. Pebbles needed a couple of jaw surgeries and lost the end of his tail.

Give any cats that might be hiding under your car a warning
Even with your cat safely inside, neighborhood and feral cats could still be hiding under your car. Jane suggests you, “give a little pound on your hood or slam the car door before you start [your car]. It’s always a good idea to check underneath your car to see if cats are hiding.” You can also honk your horn before starting your car to help wake up any sleeping cats under or in your engine.

Give cats time to escape your car
After you’ve made plenty of noise, be sure that any cats have had time to run away. Cats can tuck themselves into the tightest of spaces and may need a little extra time to wiggle out. Fortunately, by following these precautions -- and any cold-weather cat care advice your veterinarian has to offer -- you can help keep cats safe during the cold weather months.

If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.

Reviewed on:

Friday, September 11, 2020

Cold Weather Hazards That Affect Your Pets

Winter storms and frigid temperatures can be a challenge and a hazard to our four-legged family members. Both our feline friends and our canine buddies need to venture outside for play or potty breaks regardless of how cold the temperature gets, which means they may be at risk for cold weather injuries. In this article, we’ll provide precautions to take to ensure your pets stay safe and warm this winter.

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That tip is utter nonsense.
My cat would kick down the door if I’d lock her in all winter long.

Albeit that tip might be valid for a spoiled and overbred Persian or the like, it’s definitely not true for every cat. Locking up e.g. a Norwegian Forest Cat all winter long would be on the brink of the absurd and could result in a very miffed cat and a very littered flat or house.

My cat would kill me if I didn’t let him outside when he wanted out. As it is he bites and scratches me to get what he wants until I say yes or I punish him by putting him outside so he can’t have access to biting and scratching me. He evenutally gets over it and comes back all charming and purrs but if he had to stay locked up he would kill me. He had to be locked up for 6 weeks when he got hit by a car and had a broken pelvis and that was hell for him. He hates being locked up even though he loves being in bed with me and laying by the heater in winter there are times he just wants to go and be a cat and that means going outside and doing cat things. Afterall I am not going to deny my cat from being a cat, he is not a human nor a toy, he is a living breathing animal, he is a cat and that is why I have him in the first place. Doesn’t mean I love him any less than I love people or other animals, actually I probably love him more.

My kitten died when he escaped the house on a cold winter night in Texas.

My cat just survived a night in -40 degrees

I’m in Boston dealing with one of the worst winters of my life. Sub 0 windchills 100 inches of snow – a cat with a collar on it has been around my house in the garage surviving because I’m feeding it- trying to bring it to a shelter with a hav a heart trap- my heart breaks for this poor animal- anyone with common sense keeps a cat indoors all winter season- they will surely die due to your negligence- use common sense.

We lost power for over 70 hours last week. I left my indoor cat at home thinking it was only going to be 12 hours. but after leaving him in the apartment at -10 degrees Celsius for over 40 hours, when I finally got back to check on him he was moving extremely slow and his paws and nose were incredibly cold. I loaded him in his crate and took him to be borded until we had power back. After I went to pick him up he was much better. I think if I had left him for much longer he would have been going into Hypothermic shock.

What to do if you see a pet left out in the cold

Cold weather can be deadly for pets. As the temperature plummets in many parts of the country, the Humane Society of the United States sees a marked increase in the number of complaints about dogs and cats who have been left outside with no food or shelter.

We encourage you to contact local law enforcement agencies because pets left outside in extreme temperatures, especially without food or shelter, are at risk of hypothermia, frostbite and even death. Their owners are at risk of facing criminal charges.

The act of leaving a pet outside without food or adequate shelter often receives less attention than a violent attack against an animal, but neglect is a crime. Especially in these cold months, it is important for people to bring their pets inside and for others to report neglected animals to law enforcement.

If you see a pet left out in the cold, speak out.

One of the most common forms of animal cruelty, cases of animals left outside in dangerous weather are investigated more by police and animal control agencies than any other form of animal abuse. Our most constant companions—dogs and cats—feel the effects of winter weather as much as we do, only they are often cast outside to weather the cold or a storm owing to a misconception that the fur on their backs will insulate them from suffering. Without proper shelter, food and water, these domesticated animals’ chances of survival in frigid temperatures is greatly decreased. Any pet owners who aren't sure what protections their pets need during cold weather can read our cold weather advice for keeping pets safe.

While views on animal welfare vary from region to region, there are laws in place in every state to prevent needless suffering. Callers to the HSUS report numerous cases across the country of animals left out in the cold, but we are also working with an increasing number of law enforcement agencies that recognize the importance of intervention in these cases.

Winter Freeze: Lifesaving Tips for Animals

Houston SPCA Urges Community to Help Keep Pets Safe

HOUSTON (February 11, 2021)—Houston SPCA has an urgent message for pet owners to pay special attention to their outdoor pets as an arctic blast is expected in the coming days. A pet’s age, breed or health may impact how they tolerate inclement weather. It is strongly recommended that all companion animals be brought indoors, or at least in an enclosed structure with blankets. If a pet is living outdoors during extreme weather, there must be extra care when providing food, water and shelter.

Houston SPCA urges pet owners to reach out on how best to care for their outdoor pets if they have questions. “Do not disregard or abandon your pet, especially during this freeze, as it could have dire consequences,” said Adam Reynolds, Chief Animal Cruelty Investigator. “Not only is it cruel, but it’s against state law.” The community is encouraged to call 713-869-7722 (SPCA) if you see an animal in immediate distress, or to fill out a cruelty form at

The Houston SPCA offers the following recommendations to help keep outdoor animals safe:

  • Provide MORE: Food, Water and Shelter: Outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Make sure to provide fresh water for your pet and use plastic food and water bowls as your pet’s tongue can stick to metal or the water can freeze. Outdoor pets should have a shelter or dog house that will protect them from the wind and is elevated. Add in blankets, towels or hay to keep your pet warm and dry. Watch this video and learn how to make an outdoor feral cat winter shelter.
  • Exercise Care with Cats, Canines and Cars: A car can act as a refrigerator in the winter. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the winter months. Keep your cats indoors during cold weather as they may sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
  • Avoid Antifreeze and Rodenticide Poisoning: When taking care of your car’s winter needs, be sure to use ‘pet safe’ antifreeze since most cats and dogs are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze, which is lethal to your pets. Also keep rat and mouse poisons out of reach, as they can cause fatal bleeding or organ failure in your pet.
  • Equine & Farm Animals: Be sure horses have access to a barn or a three-sided structure with a roof so they can escape the wind and cold. While not all horses will need to be blanketed, blankets will help horses keep warm and dry, especially in the rain or freezing temperatures. Frequently check water troughs and buckets to ensure the water is not frozen. Provide access to extra grain and hay if no grazing is available. Feed your horse unlimited forage during extreme cold to help them increase and regulate their body temperatures.

Watch the video: 24V CUMMINS COLD START COMPILATION! (October 2021).

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