10 Ways to Beat the Feline Winter Blues

It’s that time of the year again when winter feels never ending but we have 10 Ways to Beat the Feline Winter Blues. Many cats like humans can experience the winter blues and blahs. Some feel cabin fever while others have SAD ( seasonal affective disorder). Indoor only cats can’t nip out to the movies or dinner for change of scene. A drive to the vet isn’t exactly a walk in the park or a hike in the woods. Boredom in cats can set in with repercussions from depression to unwanted behavior. A sunny window may be drafty and with weaker light in the winter.

I’ve been writing about this topic for a few years for personal reasons. I have SAD and crave the light and warmth. It appears that my cats mirror me and are prone to SAD as well. It’s why they insist on getting outdoors and Odin especially get grumpy and needy. Thankfully I have a SAD light box which work great for humans or cats.

While researching for this post I found something that made me a different kind of sad. Jackson Galaxy had shared my post on feline cabin fever tips on Facebook two years ago but he ended up getting all the credit. Talk about the blues! The comments in the Facebook share were all directed to him.  Google searches on the topic make appear like he wrote it, and then his company soon after  creates a flower essence formula called Winter Blues. He never shared another post of ours again. Sigh, oh well. Glad to have inspired him many times. The pet industry like the entertainment industry is dog eat dog and history is written by those who claw their way to the top. Often the wiser, more experienced person is left behind, invisible or worse, ripped off.  Our culture equates fame and social media likes with knowledge. It’s a bizarre twist of karma and it’s a lesson I’m glad I’ve learned. This year, we’re focused on getting the winter blues message out in images.

vintage cats-cabin fever

My cats are indoor/outdoor but they still get the squirrelly winter blues. Just before the first frost, I brought in a planter of their favorite tender grass and herbs.The don’t like alfalfa, the kind sold in pet supplies shops and I’m careful not to have any greenery with sharp edges.

cure feline winter blues

Winter is a great time to get creative. Knit, crochet or sew catnip toys. Design your own natural fishing pole from a thin switch or twig tried with jute cord and attach bottle corks, feathers or catnip mice. Non DIY types can always get creative with their credit card. Most homes have bird TV but there are less birds in northern climes until the spring migration. I really noticed how quiet it was until some crows cawed yesterday. To stimulate aural interest, play some animal, bird or other music. AND play, play, play with your cats. Throw balls, toss mice in the air, wave wands and make up new games. Interactive play means two are playing. You and the cat(s). Winter weight gain is a reality for humans and pets. Playing, moving, chasing, bending down, retrieving toys or rolling on the floor is all great exercise for both of you.

Cure for feline winter blues

Even your cat has favorite bed, add another one or three in different locations. You can but don’t have to buy one. An old sweater in a card board box is fine. Clear a spot in your linen closet, put pillows on top of a radiator cover or bookcase. Try open and covered places. Low on the ground, medium and higher heights. Experiment and your cats may discover a favorite and new happy place.

winter blues-cat beds

Try new treats and types of catnip, valerian or silvervine. Read to your cat out loud or have them start their own blog.

feline winter blues cure all

Variety may be the spice of life but with cats there must be consistency. Being inherently contradictory, cats want the best of both worlds. They want excitement, stimulation, fun and pleasure but on a regular and dependable timetable suitable to them.

There is nothing like adopting or fostering another cat to perk things up but that is a serious decision and everyone in the household must be considered.

Cabin fever cures for cats

Our home is a somewhat cluttered 1860 farmhouse filled with books, art and antiques. There have always been lots of places for the cats to hang out but this winter called for something new. The only cat who loves climbing and heights is Odin. He’s a superbly, skillful and athletic tree climber. Indoors he has some high perches but after Nou Nou, our foster kitty arrived, I sensed Odin needed something special. A lofty getaway just for him that didn’t require much effort and didn’t look like a cat lady lair. I’m a big believer in using what you have and repurposing. In fact, this catificaton didn’t cost a dime. I found some old shelves and brackets in the garage and hubby fired up the drill.

Odin can climb up a series of shelves and easily hop from one bookcase to another, across shelves, over a doorway to the adjacent wall. Antique children’s chairs on the wall create a stepping stone the large armoire (not seen and holds a TV) for a total of about 30 linear feet. He loves to snooze up there, watch TV and otherwise survey his domain from the ivory tower. It makes both of us very happy. That and the fact the days are getting longer. Spring is only a month away!

catification-vertical space cats

 How have your cats fared this winter? Have they had the winter blues or cabin fever. How about you?

39 thoughts on “10 Ways to Beat the Feline Winter Blues”

  1. Other ways to keep your pet safe: Wipe down your dog’s entire body if she was rolling around in the snow, don’t let your dog drink from puddles of melted snow, and keep your dog from snacking on snow near any place where ice melts may have been used.

  2. I think you’ve motivated me to remove at least some of the knick-knacks that have gathered atop my bedroom library. That’s actually 3 tall bookcases that line the windowless wall in that room. I removed the stuff from the family room bookcases and added a few pillows and a corrugated cardboard scratcher to create a new kitty hangout there last winter and it is still very popular. So, thanks for giving me that small nudge to try it in another room. Also, I’ve come across a catnip oil at Bulk Apothacary that looks like it would be good to apply to cat toys or to refresh nip filled items with. I think I’ll order that to add some interest to the tried and true favorite playthings. I’d also like to add that I know all to well how it hurts to have your work credited to someone else. I don’t know if hearing from an almost stranger will help, but I figure that it can’t hurt for me to tell you that I’m very impressed by the graceful and noble way you have handled having your work credited to someone else. You could have written an angry post full of bitterness and no one would have blamed you. After all, pain is universal, so everyone could identify in some way. But, you didn’t. I’m so impressed with how you emphasize the positive, instead of going the easier route and spreading pain and unhappiness. It can’t be easy to tamp down the desire to share your unhappiness and instead shine a light on doing nice things for those we have adopted and promised to provide forever homes for. I just wanted you to know that people see the positive you do and, just as important, how you encourage the rest of us to try to do the same. I hope, when you stand in front of a mirror, you can see that light reflected back at you.

  3. Our cats are indoors and only go outside on a harness and leash…but it’s interesting the effect the weather has on their behaviour. We’ve had torrential rain and high winds as a result or Cyclone Marcia (expect it’ll continue until tonight at least until it passes) and our cats definitely have the crazies… they are extremely restless – running up and down the hall and jumping up the screen doors.

  4. hmmm…well, we don’t ever go outside…not safe. And we have tons of stuff to play with and 4 towers to play on and take naps. But…The Kid Sage is starting to show sign of being denied window whiffies. She is knocking over Mom L’s rubbish bin in her office on a regular basis. Silly Sage.

  5. Thanks for these great tips, Layla. And those chairs on the wall are genius!

    We’re very sorry that the Facebook share by Jackson Galaxy went that way. We would have loved for you to get the credit for your ideas and knowledge.

    Stay warm.

  6. I love seeing the bit of your house. It looks so creative and interesting and cosy. Like everyone else, I think the hanging chairs are brilliant!
    That is very annoying that your work was used without permission or credit.
    Some people tend to think that anything on the internet is free to use, but certainly JG’s people know better.

  7. Love the new “mountain climbing” space for Odin…..particularly wonderful was the use of old childrens chairs for perches along the route! I have a feeling that years ago Sammy would have enjoyed that kind of “private space”…….these days he’s grounded by arthritis but can STILL hop up on my lap which is his favorite all-time “perch” !

    Great ideas……………cabin fever hits all of us sooner or later!
    Stay warm……hugs, Pam and Sam

  8. Bird TV and Bird music.

    Long ago I had recordings of classical music that had bird song interspersed – we got these in N.H. We had parakeets at the time (no cats) and a bunny and a guinea pig (same cage, BFF) and the birds loved chirping to the modem connector sound and also to the Beethoven Songbird symphony. Oh we have these on cassette somewhere, but… alas… Maybe I can find something online.

    Our boyz love hearing the sparrows chirp. The sparrows haven’t been around this winter yet, but I imagine they will be. They are always very noisy around my office I noticed last winter.

  9. Flynn gets very antsy if he is indoors too long. Even when he was at his lowest he still went out to do his garden patrol. Every day he tells me when he wants to go for his walks in the fields. We only go in the cloest one now but I know he would like to visit all of them again. His heart is willing but he would never cope with a long walk any more.
    It is sad that Jackson Galaxy took your credit. It is very wrong of him not to have set things right.

  10. That IS sad that you lost accreditation for your work!! I am surprised JG didn’t put that right! I’m sure Austin has SAD to a certain extent, as he has been much more subdued this winter. It could, of course, be because he’s now nearly eight! I will be watching him closely as spring comes! Cat’s definitely need lots of different places to chill. It always surprises me the new places he finds!

    BTW I posted a comment here yesterday but got Error 404 and of course hadn’t copied before I posted!

  11. The first peep suffers from a different form of SAD. She read about it in the Primrose Group and, sure enough, she has all the symptoms of Seed Acquisition Disorder. This does not bode well for me as last year, she completely ruined my outdoor loo by fillin’ it with baby primroses. MO– — — USES! What is a kitty to do?

    Purrs,
    Nissy

  12. Weez furgot to say sorry ’bout da cat daddy takin’ all da cwedit fur yous stuffs. There’s purrawlly sumfin’ yous kuld do ’bout it, but da bigger question is do yoou wanna. Moommys sayin’ she purrawlly wuld cuz she needs da gween papers hims makin’ off yous idea fur Lexi’s medicine. Anyways, there’s gotta be a better way to purrtect ones writings and ideas,

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  13. Well wish we had as much woom as you do. Weez not see da clutter. Yous not seen ow house. Da 1 bdwoom pawtment mommy moved to fwum a2 bedwoom house. And OMC and chairs on da wall? Wow A cushion or cozy blanket and all wuld be purrfect. 🙂 Weez got da blankies weez’ll be there in a foo. MOL

    Luv ya’

    Dezi and Lexi

  14. Oh twill be a great day when Spring at last arrives!
    We get a bit testy towards the end of Winter. My Feral Gang is in the basement until theis sub zero blast passes. You asked how I get them inside, they have been with me for two 1/2 years and I have worked very hard to gain their trust. I open the door, call them, put down the food and presto, cats in the basement. I can handle all of them now to include flea med applications, vet trips, petting, brushing etc. Eventually they may move to the upstairs area to spend cold nights.

    Luvs
    Skeeter and Izzy and the Feral Gang + Twig & Peanut & Romeo >^..^<

  15. doodz & “N” …that ewe haza 1860 farm houz iz way awesum…total lee rockin….we bet it haza sekrit stare case huh…

    mommaz boy…dood…odin…ya look grate up ther on yur high perch N while we canna a gree with burd tee vee ….for what itz werth, we spied two fly byez frum robins on twoozday

    we haza bit oh cabin feever round heer N sass ta go in two de garage, but onze de access door iz open N we venture out….itza mad rush ta get bak in….brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…its brisk out side ♥♥♥

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