ask ms kitty: Christmas gifts to warm up your kitty

Dear Ms. Kitty: My cat Sophie is 12 and very thin. She sleeps under the covers at night, but I worry about her staying warm during the day when I’m not home. The thermostat is set at 65 degrees. She seems fine on days when she can follow the sunbeams from window to window. On cloudy days, she doesn’t eat well and doesn’t want attention.
Signed, Chilly on Chelton

Dear Chilly: Some cats have a hard time regulating their body temperature, especially young kittens and senior cats, cats with health issues, cats with sparse coats and cats that are underweight.

If Sophie sleeps under the covers and is 12 years old and underweight, she would benefit from having warm places to rest. As a bonus, beds can make great holiday gifts for your kitty!

Many cats like to sleep around their person’s head—since a lot of heat is released there—or on laptops or other electronic devices. Giving Sophie her own warm bed can minimize disruptions in your life so that everyone is happy!
Consider the type of places she currently chooses to rest, and enhance them to give her extra warmth. If she is happy under the covers, she might like a bed that surrounds her. Look for places where the sun provides warmth and install a window hammock or a cat tree. If your cat gravitates to heat radiators, consider a raised bed or wicker basket that allows warm air to circulate.

A heated pet bed is a safe way to keep Sophie comfortable. But if it’s in a confined space, make sure she has room to move away from the bed if she gets too warm.

You might think the bed isn’t working at first because it doesn’t feel hot. The surface of the bed will be only slightly above ambient air temperature until she lies on the bed. Then it will warm to her natural body temperature.
Self-heating pet beds have insulation or special material to reflect Sophie’s body heat back to her. The self-warming material is metalized plastic, like in space blankets.

Some are designed to create a hut, pod or sack that holds the warmth around your cat. These are a great solution when you don’t have an outlet handy.

Natural felted wool fiber beds
can be very warm since they’re made of wool. You can buy felted wool cat caves or recycle a wool sweater into a great warm bed. Find instructions for DIY beds by searching “Huggy Bed” on the Happy Cats Haven website.

Please don’t use electric blankets or heating pads, as they are not safe for cats. These products can get too hot, and most have automatic safety shut-offs that will leave Sophie without warmth.

Cats love to have options, so provide a few different spots that will help Sophie stay warm and cozy. My cats frequently move between these sleeping spots until they find the one that’s just right! ■

This free helpline is offered by Happy Cats Haven and Colorado Cats Boarding. Submit questions at
www.HappyCatsHaven.org

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