How Cold is Too Cold for Cats? Keep Them Warm This Season

The last thing any good, caring cat parent wants is a frozen feline. As the icy grips of a brutal winter takes its toll on many regions across the globe, you need to make sure your purr-pal is warm enough. Exposure to too much cold can cause your cherished cat to develop frostbite, or even hypothermia, which can be serious, or even fatal. Read on to find out exactly how much cold your beloved kitty can withstand.
Stephanie Laming - Licensed Insurance Representative of 11 years & Dog Mum to 5 year old Tina
October 6, 2022
min read

What Temperature is Too Low for Cats? 

What temperature cats get cold at can depend on the kitty in question, but here’s the general rule: Cats shouldn’t be exposed to temperatures of below 45 degrees Fahrenheit. 

While it’s possible for some cats to survive in colder weather than this, don’t risk your precious pussycat’s life by testing this theory. If the weather is so cold that you wouldn’t want to spend long periods outdoors, your cat shouldn’t be expected to either. 

If your favorite feline has been left out in the cold for too long, they could get frostbite, which is when a cat’s ears, toes, or tail freezes. This can escalate to become hypothermia, which would cause your feline friend’s organs to shut down and can prove fatal, even if your kitty cat is young and fit. 

If your cat has been exposed to extreme cold, don’t leave things to chance. Take them to a trusted vet as soon as you can. 

How Do I Know if My Cat is Cold? 

If your cat has been left out in the cold, you could be worried that they may have fallen ill as a result. 

Or, if your cat has been indoors during extremely cold weather without the heat on, it’s also possible that their body temperature could drop to a dangerous level. Make sure there are plenty of blankets and warm things for your cat to snuggle up to when Winter is in full swing. 

Here are the symptoms to look out for if you’re worried about your cat’s safety after they were exposed to too much cold: 

  • Lethargy

Cats can catch a common cold just like humans, and one of the symptoms would be your purr-pal being noticeably weaker and more lethargic than usual. 

This is also one of the early symptoms of hypothermia, so it’s best to head to the vet if your cat is lethargic after spending time in the cold.  

  • Dilated pupils

If your cat has hypothermia, the lethargy may be accompanied by dilated pupils and a general lack of responsiveness.

It’s worth repeating: A cat with hypothermia could slip into a coma if you don’t treat it soon enough, or even . Take your poor purr-pal to the vet straight away if these symptoms present themselves. 

  • Slow heartbeat

As your cat’s body temperature drops, its heart rate will slow down too. If it slows down too much your cat’s life is in danger, so it’s best to seek treatment right away. 

  • Shivering

Just like you or I would do if we got too cold, a cat will start shivering. If your cat has a case of the shivers related to cold, try warming them up by a heater or fire. If the shivering doesn’t stop, it’s time to see a vet… 

It’s worth mentioning that shivering can also be a symptom of anxiety, illness, or pain in cats, so if your cat is shivering and they don’t seem to be particularly cold you may need to try and assess what the cause could be. 

  • Skin feels cold to the touch

Look out in particular for very cold (or frozen) foot pads, ears, and tail, as these could be signs of frostbite, which could in turn become hypothermia. 

If your kitty cat may be suffering from a cold-related illness such as hypothermia or frostbite, take them to a vet as soon as you can. 

Did you know pet insurance can help cover emergency health expenses? Click here to learn more and compare affordable plans.

Final Thoughts

While it’s possible for some cats to be okay after enduring temperatures of below 45°F, others may not be so lucky. If it’s this cold outside, it’s best to keep your cat indoors and make sure they’re snug and warm. 

If your cat has been exposed to too much cold already, it’s best to take the situation seriously. Hypothermia can set in quickly and it’s a very dangerous condition, even if you have a particularly healthy cat. 

If the feline in your life is showing signs of developing frostbite, hypothermia or another cold-related illness, take them to a trusted vet right away.

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GoodPaw Pet Services Inc., GoodPaw, offers free advice, product information and other editorial resources that are intended for informative purposes only, and should not be used in place of proper veterinary care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat your pet. If your pet is experiencing any health concerns, contact a licensed veterinarian. GoodPaw assumes no responsibility for action taken based on information given from

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