The end of daylight saving to me always signals that the last grip you had on summer has now officially slipped through your fingers, and as such we must march onwards toward the colder months. I for one, and no doubt many Sydney-siders, are a bit relieved given the days and nights of never ending humidity, followed by the days and nights of never ending rain we’ve had.
But already 2 or 3 weeks ago Mr Pet Parent and I were starting to notice that Pussa & Soph’s coats were beginning to bulk out. Why is that, and how do they know what’s ahead?
- It’s not your imagination. Most cats will get a thicker undercoat during winter, just like many other mammals including dogs and horses
- Thickening of their coat is nature’s way of preparing them for the colder months ahead, which of course they will shed like crazy come spring
- It occurs when the cat’s brain starts to detect that there is a lessening in the number of hours of sunlight each day
- Coat changes are more obvious in outdoor cats as they respond to greater variation in temperature and light outdoors
- Indoor cats tend to have comparatively less variation in these factors but still definitely (if Pussa & Soph are any indication) have differences between their winter and summer coats.
In saying that though, just like humans adjust to the climate they live in so will your cat. If you’re in the tropics where the temperature and daylight hours are pretty consistent year round then your cat is unlikely to have an obvious winter or summer coat. That was certainly our experience when we were in Singapore with Pussa & Soph. In retrospect that’s quite interesting now I think about it. They’d come from an environment where there was distinct variation in the seasons, then moved to one where the number of sunlight hours and temperature was basically the same year round. The result…..no difference in their coats because there wasn’t a difference in daylight hours to trigger it. That being said, we moved up there in August and they both felt particularly overdressed for a period of time!
So your Favourite Feline is preparing themselves for winter, what can you do to give them a bit of a hand?
- Make sure whatever you choose to feed them that it’s the best quality you can afford. Good quality food is a significant contributor to their overall health which includes the condition of their coat
- Ensure they have some nice warm spots to cat nap in. If your cat is anything like our two, they have an extraordinary ability to locate even the smallest sliver of sunlight and will contort themselves to fit perfectly
- Provide them with a variety of bedding that suits their mood. We have the Feline Futons for when they want something to stretch out on, the Cat Cot or Slumber Yard when they’re after something more enclosed, or for the times when you really want to spoil them the Cat Cosy which you can heat up in the microwave for them
- Continue on with your normal grooming regime even though they won’t be shedding as much. It helps get rid of old fur (which otherwise they will ingest when they groom themselves and we all know what eventually happens after that) and keeps their skin in good nick.
Cats come into their own in the winter months. There’s nothing nicer than coming home after work to a warm bundle of fur is there?