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How cold is too cold for my kitties?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
My living situation at the moment is such that I have no central heat -- just a small space heater that I'm afraid to run when I'm not at home. With luck, I should be able to get the heat repaired before Christmas, but in the meantime, it's really very cold in the place... about 50 degrees F right now.

I can handle it -- but I'm worried about my little ones, Clyde and Pearl. They're both young and healthy, and the three of us stay reasonably warm at night by snuggling... but I know the cold can't be good for them. The only thing I could do about it right now is take them over to stay with my parents until I can get the heat fixed.

They've come with me to visit my folks on a few occasions, and even though I've stayed there with them the whole time, they've been traumatized. I can't imagine what a panic they'd go into if I took them there and LEFT them. Overnight, yet! I'm afraid that might be even worse for them than the cold.

So I guess what I'm hoping for is confirmation that my kitties can safely handle these temperatures for the next three weeks or so. But if that's not the case, I need to know, so I can try to make them comfortable -- if not happy -- over at my folks' house for a little while. Any expert advice?
post #2 of 25
How old are these cats? if they are small kittens you can make sock heaters with instant rice and a microwave and heavy socks
post #3 of 25
I'm not to sure.. but mine do have a couple down blankets a throw and comforter.. Also, I bought a wool balnket from an antque store.. I guess make sure they have a lot to cuddle on, blankets, towels sweaters etc.. just so that they're warm..

My Max loves a sweater or sweat shirt to sleep on..

Also, they do sell a space heater that if it gets knocked over it'll shut off.. My husband has on in the garage that goes on and off for his snakes..
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Clyde will be three on March 14th, and Pearl is about 18 months. The microwavable sock heaters are a great idea -- I've been using a hot water bottle, but the socks would be much more comfortable for the kitties, I'm sure! Thank you!

I do have a lot of blankets piled on the bed, but the kitties won't get under them... so I have to leave parts of myself uncovered so they can cuddle up to me for warmth. I think I'm actually getting the better end of that deal. :-)

A second space heater is not possible, though it's good to know they have safer ones now! I just have to save every penny for the central heat repair. ~ sigh ~
post #5 of 25
If your kitties like to cuddle together (and I'm sure in the cold they would) maybe something like a shallow box or laundry basket with blankets in it would help (of course I dont know the behaviors of your kitties and whether or not they'd even use something like that)... I know you want to save money, but they (ie: places like fosters and smith and petstores) make: a) microwavable heat disks that last for I believe 8 hours and b) kitty beds/blankets that warm up simply by the kitty's body heat... I'm not sure how expensive either of these are as I've never needed to price them myself, but I know other people are looking into them currently and could let you know if it's a reasonable option for you... I don't think they're in any immediate danger though - especially having each other to keep warm (just think of all those poor poor strays that somehow manage to make it through winters outside - I know it's not cool that they're out there, but thank God they make it)... good luck with everything and BUNDLE UP!
post #6 of 25
They make pet heating pads....You might check on those. I have no idea about them except that they make them. Sorry I'm not more helpful.
I do agree with Buzby though: Those poor strays do make it somehow through some cold winters. Three weeks might be rough, but I would think that as long as you have each other to keep warm with they would be fine.
I found a link to the kind of thing I'm talking about. http://www.valleyvet.com/ct_detail.h...2-00b0d0204ae5
post #7 of 25
Brrr! I hope you're staying warm as well.

I would just make sure to feed them a little more than usual so they have the energy to burn to keep warm, in addition to what you're already doing.

It would be a lot of work, but you could also keep heating blankets in the dryer, or at least a couple times a day when they want to lay down.
post #8 of 25
for the rice heaters. Plain long grain white rice is better for long term use on them. Instant is good but in my experience with the hot/cold bags I make..it burns. where long grain plain white doesnt. and its super cheap.
post #9 of 25
Carol,

One trick I use for the outside cats is this, and it would probably work for you. We have an easy chair out on the porch. In the winter, I take two pvc pipes of equal length and wedge one on each side of the front of the chair. Then I bungee them down so they don't move. Take a large sleeping bag, and unzip it, and drape it up and over the poles, and back of the chair and down the sides (or blankets will do) Then pad the inside of the "tent" with warm blankets. The cats love to go in there and cuddle up and sleep through the cold spells.
post #10 of 25
Everyone has given good suggestions. I'll just throw in a factual tidbit.

Cats have to burn calories to maintain their core body temperature after the ambient temperature drops below 50 degrees Farenheit. So without supplemental heat of any kind,or protection from the cold, a cat would have to remain in some sort of motion or shiver to maintain core body temp.
post #11 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for your thought and concern! I can certainly borrow some extra blankets from my folks and build my little ones a cave to sleep in when my body heat is not available... and if I can swing a heating pad to put in the cave, or even just a bunch of heated rice-socks, that should really help. Brilliant ideas! Thank you!

As for giving them extra food, oh yes, I've been doing that -- and I'm warming their food in the microwave, too, because it's just SO cold right out of the can. I'm giving the two of them four or five cans a day. I'm putting out less dry food, because of what I'm learning by reading this board, and I think maybe I should try to move them over to an all-canned diet...?

I've been giving them Fancy Feast's seafood assortment, because I don't like the idea of feeding them beef... but based on what I'm learning here, I want to switch them to a better food, and away from so much fish. I gave them a can of Felidae to try last week, and they loved it... and the shelter where I volunteer sells it, so I can support the shelter by using it, and that's great.

Am I doing the right things?
post #12 of 25
How about buying them one of those cat heated beds.
post #13 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fonzi
How about buying them one of those cat heated beds.
Hmmmph. I'd like a HUMAN heated bed.

I don't know what 50 f is. ok, I see now..Its 10 C!
Brrr.. You should pad your own bed with rice socks!

And Carol, there are a bunch of great threads debating what kinds of food are touted as the best.
I will feed Fancy feast in a pinch (if I run out at the last minute) but I don't like it for an ongoing feeding program.

Do a search on "cat food" here and you will find alot of comparative opinion and analysis.
Good luck and stay warm!
post #14 of 25
Ooo, just thought of another idea that would warm both you and your kits... once again, I'm not sure of the cost but it popped into my head so i thought I'd suggest it... how about a heating pad for YOUR bed? My boyfriend has one on his double bed... it goes underneath your bottom sheet and there's a controller to regulate the temp - we usually put it on the middle setting to warm it up then on low to maintain the temp and we stay nice and toasty! It'd be safer (at least I think) than leaving a space heater on all day and then everyone could stay warm! Like I said, just another idea that popped into my head... I know you're trying to save money and stay warm at the same time!

PS: try searching ebay as well for the microwavable kitty disks and self-heating kitty beds... you may be able to find them cheap, in an auction that's ending soon then you'd get them pretty quickly... yet another idea! I'm full of them today!
post #15 of 25
My house is cold too, I don't know if as much as yours, but I feel it when I'm back. It's warmer than outside, but not by much. I leave a blanket for my kitties to snuggle in to, and they like to sleep it the clothes basket. When I get the second duvet on the bes, they'll probably sleep there. I haven't got any type of heating. Luckily I'll be able to move soon
post #16 of 25
Also, I just thought of a few more things that might help you out.
When my husband and I were dating, his parents didn't have central heat. So when it got cold they would heat the house with the oven. I'm sure that would work wonderfully for you. Just crack the oven and keep an eye on it to keep kitties away. That way at least when you're gone the house can be generally warm, especially if you use your space heater too.
Also, have you thought about an electric blanket?
I've got a trick for when I wake up and it's incredibly cold (I can't sleep with the heater on, it makes me feel like I'm not breathing fresh air). I sit under a blanket and put the tip of the hair dryer under there with me. It warms the blanket right up.
Hope these help!
post #17 of 25
I just recently purchased a few bears - made for infants or toddlers - that has an insert that can be heated up in the microwave and placed inside the bear's tummy- and I give it to YY to lay with. Since meezers and sphynx love heat, they all love their bears!!
post #18 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CyberKitten
I just recently purchased a few bears - made for infants or toddlers - that has an insert that can be heated up in the microwave and placed inside the bear's tummy- and I give it to YY to lay with. Since meezers and sphynx love heat, they all love their bears!!
I was thinking about getting a couple of those! They have some made for cats that have a hole in their tummy for a bottle, for kittens that need to be fed. I bet your kitties look so adorable snuggling with their bears!
post #19 of 25
My house is staying pretty cool, because the kittens can get inside of the radiator, and it has an open flame. I leave Rowan's heating pad (previously my PMS pad, but he's claimed it) on their cat bed, and I have an electric blanket that I stuck under my matress pad. I turn the matress pad on at night before bed (an hour or so), so that it warms up the matress and blankies. Then I turn the pad off, and we all snuggle up for the night. I bought the blanket at Walmart for like $20. It's only a twin size, but it's just fine for my full.

They apparently don't mind that much, because when I come home, they're generally on the unheated bed or the old cat bed, neither of which is heated. I have no idea what the temperature inside is, though. The windows all face south, so they do quite a bit of greenhouse heating for most of the day.
post #20 of 25
Thread Starter 
Such smart people we have here... your ideas are great! Last night, I built a little cave with an end table and some blankets and kittybeds, tucked in some heated rice-socks, and turned on the space heater near it. My kitties checked it out thoroughly... and then hopped up on the bed to sleep with me instead. :-)

I guess true love really CAN keep you warm at night!

post #21 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia
I guess true love really CAN keep you warm at night!

It DEFINITELY can... whether it's the cat, dog or my boy, I stay warm!! (so true of all of them - for some reason, they're all heat machines, including the BF... and without them, I freeze at nite!)

But I'm sure they'll apreciate their new fort when youre not home!
post #22 of 25
Thread Starter 
Yes -- I've been reheating the rice before I leave the house, because they do go in there when I'm gone.

Last night was particularly cold, even with the space heater, and my babies finally let me snuggle them in under the blankets, so that's good. I never cease to be amazed at what good companions they are... they deserve so much better than I'm able to give them right now. But I'm working on it...
post #23 of 25
tips on making kitty bed / blankets

i make DIY bed and blankets for my cat as those bought in the store r way too expensive and usually not washable.

for the blankets, i go to frabic stores and buy small piece of frabics..usually it's very cheap as they r odds and ends of stuff...fleece work best as it's soft, warm, washable and it doesn't have loose ends, so i could jsut cut it and use it, no need to sew the seam.

and then i make my DIY kitty bed by cutting a big cardbox to the right height, and put in several pieces of fleece so it's soft and comfy for my kitty. and i wash those fleece every week to keep it clean.
post #24 of 25
Thread Starter 
Last night, the temperature got down near freezing -- low enough that the space heater could make the air less cold... but not warm at all. Clyde and Pearl tucked in close to me, allowed me to put my arm around them and bring the blankets up over us, and then lay there looking at me for the longest time. I think they were saying, "Aren't you going to do something about this?"

It was so cold that I had to consciously keep my teeth from chattering, and I can't put them through that anymore. It's supposed to get down to 29 degrees Fahrenheit tonight, and there's possible snow coming tomorrow... so I'm going to take the kitties to my folks' house and spend the nights with them there in the spare room until my furnace can be fixed.

My babies will be alarmed, I know... but better a nervous kitty than a frozen one. So... thank you all for your advice and moral support -- and you can rest assured that my kitties won't be cold anymore.
post #25 of 25
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia
Last night, the temperature got down near freezing -- low enough that the space heater could make the air less cold... but not warm at all. Clyde and Pearl tucked in close to me, allowed me to put my arm around them and bring the blankets up over us, and then lay there looking at me for the longest time. I think they were saying, "Aren't you going to do something about this?"

It was so cold that I had to consciously keep my teeth from chattering, and I can't put them through that anymore. It's supposed to get down to 29 degrees Fahrenheit tonight, and there's possible snow coming tomorrow... so I'm going to take the kitties to my folks' house and spend the nights with them there in the spare room until my furnace can be fixed.

My babies will be alarmed, I know... but better a nervous kitty than a frozen one. So... thank you all for your advice and moral support -- and you can rest assured that my kitties won't be cold anymore.
Aw, I'm sorry you had such a rough night! I can only imagine as it's 27F here in the middle of the day and I wouldn't dream of having no heat here at night! Good thing you're able to spend the night at your parents'! Your kitties will thank you just for being warm and will get over the shock of being somewhere new....
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