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Advice from Cats Protection to keep your furry friends safe at Christmas

We spoke to Cats Protection to get some helpful advice and tips to keep our furry friends safe at Christmas. We all love our cats and do our best to keep them happy and healthy, but not all cats are lucky enough to have a warm cosy bed to go home to this Christmas. Take a look below at these helpful tips and advice.

Fortunately in the UK we are lucky to have the Cats Protection and below you’ll find some tips from them on how to ensure outdoor cats and strays are not left outdoors and are safe and warm during the cold winter weather:

* Cats keen to venture outdoors might still want to brave the temperatures – even during a harsh winter. If your cat has access to the outdoors, provide them with a shelter to ensure they are safe. A sturdy cardboard box covered in plastic sheeting should do the trick.

* If you’ve got a cat flap, you’ll need to make sure your cat can get easily in and out. A heavy snowfall or icy patch might result in the cat flap becoming stuck, or blocked.

* Ensure that your cat has plenty of fresh water indoors, in case any outside sources freeze.

* Check that your cat’s usual toileting site hasn’t frozen over.

* If your cat is seeing snow for the first time, consider giving them access to a safe and enclosed area, such as a garden, and accompany them when they go out.

* Keep cats away from de-icing products and groom any rock-salt residue from your cat’s fur.

* Always make sure your cat comes inside at night, locking the catflap once they are inside. Provide them with warm, comfortable and safe places to sleep.

*  Regularly check sheds, outhouses and garages to ensure your cat isn’t locked inside.

* Make sure your cat is microchipped, and the details are up to date. If they do wander off in search of a warm place, they’ll be easily traced back to your address.

* If the weather becomes particularly cold, keep your cat indoors. While they might seem bored or restless, pet cats aren’t used to extreme temperatures and can even develop frostbite or hypothermia. Keep them entertained and exercised with enrichment toy<http://www.cats.org.uk/enrichment and feeders.

* Arthritic and elderly cats can suffer in cold weather as it severely affects their joints. Offer plenty of warm places for your cat to sleep in, as well as making sure they are easily accessible.

Keeping cats cosy

* Some cats might prefer to head indoors during the winter and find a warm spot for a snooze. Warm, comfortable and draught-free places are ideal for your cat, while heat pads or beds that go over radiators are even better.

* If your cat has come in from the snow, wipe off any road grit, salt, or anything that might stick to their paws and fur.

* Provide a litter tray somewhere private (one per cat plus one) – that way, your cat won’t have to head outside to go to the toilet. Remember to scoop it out daily and completely clean out once a week.

* Open fireplaces are lovely in winter but can be a risk to cats. Screen off open fireplaces and always supervise your cat if you have lit a fire.

Feral cats

Many feral cats are very resourceful and find adequate food but it may be helpful to offer them extra help, especially in winter. Only offer food if the feral cats have been neutered. This is important because feeding unneutered cats increases the number of kittens that are born.

Do you have somewhere a stray cat could call home, perhaps a garden shed or an outhouse that isn’t used through winter, this Christmas?

We can but hope that all stray cats find a kind person who will help feed and care for them throughout the cold, winter weather, each and every one of them deserve a warm cosy home.

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