A Cat Sweater is a Need or Just to Look Cute?
Sweaters for Cats – Do they need them? The question is one that many new cat owners ask and wonder about. Unfortunately, there isn’t a straight answer, and there are many factors to consider. But if you own a Sphynx cat or a hairless breed and live in a region where cold weather means snow for months on end, a sweater might be a necessity.
Otherwise, it depends. Remember, you are dealing with an animal that is so unpredictable, and mood swings are its characteristic. So, not all cats can appreciate a sweater wrapping its fur-covered body regardless of how extreme the weather can be.
Some cats are sensitive to temperature changes, especially the senior cats and those hairless breeds. They are more prone to getting hypothermia (low body temperature) when the weather turns unpredictably cold.
While the young ones generally can tolerate the low temperatures better, still, there are limits to go by. So it is better to be well prepared than to see your furry friend falls sick due to the cold.
A cat sweater doesn’t cost much, but treating the cat from hypothermia can be costly, time-consuming, and stressful. It can be fatal if there are delays in bringing it to a veterinarian for more severe cases.
Is it OK for Cats to Wear Sweaters All Day During Winter?
A cat sweater provides warmth and can protect the pet from extreme temperatures. But cats have furs to regulate their body temperature and keep them warm. They may not mind an extra layer of ‘skin’ if they feel comfortable in it; otherwise, don’t force it upon them.
Of course, everything will be fine when you are with your cat. You can help it keep warm with a sweater and remove it when it begins to get uncomfortable. But what if you need to go to work and have to leave your kitty home alone throughout the day?
Great if you can turn the heater on for your cat for the duration you are not home. Otherwise, consider providing a heated cat bed at a dry place for the cat to take cover from the cold. Or lay some blankets or towels at its favorite spot in the house so it knows where it can be safe and warm up.
And don’t rule out the possibility of a power failure. So, whether you have a house heater to provide warmth for the day or not, make contingency plans to deal with such an emergency.
Never leave your cat alone with any pet clothes on if it has some form of skin problem or allergies. Stress will kick in if the poor cat can’t scratch to relieve the itch or irritation. The cat may behave aggressively out of exasperation and begin to lacerate and bite anything in its path.
It is never a good idea for a furry cat to wear a sweater for hours indoors without supervision. Especially for the hyperactive cats, playing with a sweater on can quickly escalate the temperature within, and it might get uncomfortable and feel stressed. But if it is an elderly cat or a hairless breed, a cozy sweater can help to keep the body warm and comfortable for longer.
So, before deciding to put a sweater on your cat, carefully consider its health condition and length of time. Because your favorite feline cannot remove the clothes themselves when it begins to feel uncomfortable.
Generally, if you keep your cat indoors and the house is well insulated from the weather, any cat sweater outfit is unnecessary.
What to Do if Your Cat Refuses to Wear a Sweater Under Low Temperatures?
Have you tried everything before you concluded that your kitty hates to be clothed? Could the clothing be too tight for comfort or too loose that hinders its movement? What about the material? Is it scratchy that causes itching or discomfort?
Or it simply dislikes to be clothed and prefers its fur coat. Let it be, and it is not necessarily a bad thing. Especially for young adults, they can tolerate the cold better and longer. But as it gets older, its metabolism will gradually slow down and become more susceptible to the cold. Then it might accept that cat sweater better.
Just be cautious when the temperature goes below 45 degrees Fahrenheit (or 7.2 degrees Celsius). That is generally considered too cold for cats. In that case, be mindful not to expose your cat to the low temperature as much as you can. Even when transferring your furry buddy between shelters – like from house to car, ensure you have a warm blanket in the carrier.
In any case, be adequately prepared with a thick blanket, heat pads, and energy treats if you plan to be outdoor with your cat for an extended time. And stay near a building or place where you can take shelter when the cold becomes unbearable for your feline friend.
How to Train Your Cat to Wear a Sweater?
Don’t be too quick to try out that cute cat sweater and expect your kitty to accept it right away. It will likely reject if this is its first time because it may feel weird and wary of danger or threat.
However, some cats have no problems because the bond with their owners is strong. So trust can be a factor in whether your cat will let you put on that sweater and not reject it. If not, just be patient and work on building the relationship first.
Choosing the right material and size can help the cat accept the sweater more readily. As long as it feels comfortable and doesn’t hinder its movement, it can wear almost anything you put on it. And preferably, the sweater can be soft, lightweight, and of the right size.
The thing to note is, the clothing should not interfere with its movement and sense of the surrounding. That includes its tail, whiskers, and vision. It can feel threatened or stressed if it can’t move away or detach itself from anything restrictive.
So for a start, you may try placing the clothing items inside the cat house or bed for them to get used to the texture, color, and smell. After a few days, the clothing would have absorbed the cat’s body scent. Then, they will be more willing to wear the clothes they are familiar with.
The important thing is, don’t force it if it doesn’t want to be clothed at first. Try again when it is in a good mood, especially at playtime. And when you manage to get the sweater on, leave it for 10 to 15 minutes before removing it. Then wait for an hour or even the next day, depending on how it behaves, to try again. Increase the duration for each successful attempt. It will gradually accept the sweater.
Finally, don’t ignore this reminder – Any form of clothing is unnatural for a cat. Its fur is its best duds. So never leave the sweater on your cat for hours without your presence. Clothes can do more harm than good to any cat once discomfort sets in.