When the daylight shortens, cats don’t need to go to the store and buy big puffy jackets! Lucky for them, they simply grow a thicker undercoat to keep them warm in the winter time. But if a cat stays inside a temperature regulated home, will he or she still grow a winter coat?
What is a “winter coat?”
To understand what a winter coat is, first one must understand how a cat’s fur coat functions. Guard hairs are the long, visible hairs that give a cat his or her pattern and color. Underneath the guard hair layer is a thick, fluffy layer of fur called an “undercoat.” The undercoat is what keeps the cat warm, and it’s usually a grayish color. When the undercoat thickens up for cold weather, it’s referred to as a winter coat.
When does it grow in?
Winter coats begin fluffing up in the fall, when the daylight begins to shorten. Even though indoor-only cats don’t really need the extra insulation, they will still grow a winter coat if they are exposed to enough sunlight. That is because the thickening of the fur doesn’t have to do with temperature at all. On the contrary, it’s a response to the amount of daylight that’s available.
Is there anything that you need to do to prepare for it?
Most cats are pretty self-sufficient when it comes to grooming, but sometimes senior cats need a little help. Senior who aren’t as flexible as they used to be will sometimes get matted fur when their thicker coat begins to grow. The winter coat can sometimes become tangled with the shorter fur that needs to fall out to make room for the longer fur.
Are you looking for someone to keep up with your senior cats grooming routine? Drop us a line! We have the perfect pet sitter waiting to meet you!
Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.