Getting out of bed in the morning is never easy, but it is especially hard during those cold winter months when the temperatures are below freezing.
The relative lack of daylight and persistent cold during the winter have a way of dampening our activity level as well as our mood.
Not only are we affected by the drop in temps, but our pets are influenced by the climate of deep winter too!
And, like us, our furry friends may start to feel restless and bored while they are stuck inside.
One consequence of cabin fever may be a new behavior problem or two that your pet decides to pick up during the cold weather.
Below are some suggestions for fighting the deep winter blues and keeping your pet from getting “cabin fever”:
The safest environment for cats, year-round, is indoors. But even those who spend part of their day outside may find the outside door locked to keep winter's cold at bay. If your cat is accustomed to outdoor time, it should be fine to let her out for at least short periods, even in January. Rather than let her out and wait for her to return on her own, it might be best to call her after a few minutes to make sure she has not gotten too far from the house, especially when expecting the weather to take a quick turn for the worse.
**The greatest risks of cold weather are wind and precipitation; as long as you avoid days of dipping wind chill and provide an accessible shelter your cat will love their outside time.
Create A Cozy Spot
In these darker, colder months your cat will appreciate any extra access you can provide to a cozy spot to sleep in the sun. A window seat is a great idea and can be purchased at any pet store, or you can just pull up a chair next to a window for your cat to perch on. This provides a warm, sunny place for your feline, plus a great view of the outdoors to watch birds and activity which helps to entertain them. To make the window seat even more appealing, place several bird feeders just outside your window where the cat perch is located so your cat can observe the action.
Gift Them A New Toy
Who can resist a new toy? During the winter you should keep a well-stocked box of cat toys (out of view) to provide diversion when it is needed. Among the favorites for felines: bell balls, fleece remnants, crumpled aluminum foil, a rag pulled by a long string and Ping Pong balls. Don't just leave the toys laying around for kitty to pounce on as they'll lose interest; instead put them away and take them out frequently to have fun playing with your cat. This will give both of you something fun and fresh to look forward too, and is a great time to bond further with your favorite feline. You could also buy some loose catnip and offer an occasional sprinkling on the floor. This will get your cat's attention and stimulate his playfulness.
Teach Them A New Trick
You might be surprised at what cats can learn when they are rewarded with good treats. Tasks such as jumping over a stick or through a hoop, or simply sitting when asked, can be easily taught when food treats are used as a physical lure. Offer the treat immediately when the cat does what you want him to do, and he will soon learn. When taught with positive reinforcement and short sessions (always ending on an upbeat note), even older cats love learning new tricks. And even if your cat doesn't learn the trick, he'll enjoy the time spent interacting with you!
Build A Cat Tree/Tower
If your cat tends to get restless during the winter and their scratching habits come to a head, a cat tree is the perfect solution! Start with a floor-to-ceiling beam and add two to three horizontal shelves and at least one box. Cover all with carpet remnants or thick-coiled rope. Placed by a window, cat trees provide a lasting source of exercise and fun, and they make a terrific napping perch. If you don't have the resource available or the time to build a cat tree, provide a variety of scratching posts that your cat will actually use. Although each cat is an individual with her own scratching interests, many cats enjoy horizontal corrugated cardboard scratchers and anything wrapped with rope. Go for a mixture of horizontal and vertical posts, and see which ones your cat likes best. Place these posts in central locations or near any place you've witnessed your cat scratching in the past.
Spend extra time grooming the loose hairs from your cat. Not only will this help keep your cat’s coat in tip-top shape, but it will also help strengthen the bond between you and your feline! HandsOn Grooming Gloves will gently groom, shed and massage your cat! HandsOn's five-finger design, complete with bristle tips on the fingers and round tips on the palm, allow for a versatile expert tool capable of grooming, de-shedding, bathing, or massaging your animal. This pair of gloves gently removes excess hair, debris, and tangles while keeping your hands and finger nails clean from dirt and oil.