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How to Survive Winter – A Cat’s Guide

Things have been quiet around here for the Little Furry Muse. After the indignity…

Things have been quiet around here for the Little Furry Muse. After the indignity of three days travel from France up to the UK at the start of the summer – three days in a carrier case, in a car, like some common poodle, just as if she hasn’t been halfway around the world and back again – she became a Yorkshire cat once again. Not Harrogate, though. I’m not sure if she quite forgives me for moving her to the middle of farming country after starting her life in Harrogate, darling.

However, she has, as always, adapted. I have no idea how she is such an adaptable cat. She has lived in twelve different houses in three different countries, managed flights to and from Australia, and lived in a campervan for several months while we travelled through France, heading out to find local dogs to get in fights with every time we stopped. Which was still less scary than the time in Australia when the SO called me at work to tell me Layla had just chased a carpet python under the house.

She’s nothing if not fearless.

cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

She knows she’s a star…

Well, except when it comes to balls. Balls are scary. As is one particular winter jacket that the SO eventually had to get rid of, because she panicked every time she saw it.

Snakes are fine, though.

Anyhow, as she is both adaptable and fearless, I have turned to her for advice regarding how to tackle my first UK winter in seven (eight? Can’t remember) years. And I shall now share her wisdom for everyone else watching that first frost come in with horror.

The Little Furry Muse Speaks: How to Survive Winter

Alright, humans. I know you haven’t got this life thing as sorted as cats do, despite our best efforts to demonstrate to you how to live with grace, beauty, and excellent hairball technique. But, as we are ever-patient, I will endeavour once again to demonstrate to you how things should be done.

You may reward me with Dreamies after.

  1. Make the most of any scrap of sunlight. The Significant Human insists on doing this by going outdoors and running about the place like she’s got the zoomies. Very slow zoomies, it has to be said, but she has only got two legs. It’s poor planning, that. Anyhow, as I repeatedly show her, the best way to enjoy the sunlight at this time of year is through the double-glazing, while reclining on some decent cushions. That way you can warm your fur most admirably, while also avoiding wet, muddy feet or the possibility of social contact. I do not approve of social contact. It’s overrated. Besides, the company of a cat is all that’s ever really required.
cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

Human, I am enjoying the sunlight. Stop with the camera.

  1. Avail yourself of a heat source. Since the Other Human has been home he has been building indoor bonfires. I approve of these immensely, and recommend that you procure one at once. The only problem I have found is that the humans only put it on now and then, which is, of course, ridiculous. It should be kept fully stoked at all times, and I remind them of this daily by sitting in front of the cold grate and staring at it forlornly, or sticking my paws in the ash before walking on the carpet. Obviously, if the fire was lit I wouldn’t be able to do this, but they don’t seem to have made the connection yet.
cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

More of this, please.

  1. Embrace blankets. While I have yet to rebuild my pillow fort, I have discovered the joys of fluffy blankets. My favourite is the one the human uses on her knees when she’s all tappy-tap on the internet machine, so I sometimes have to share. But if I look deeply comfortable and gaze at her with big eyes she will often perch, blanket-less, on the edge of the chair. This is satisfactory.
cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

No, I don’t believe this *is* your blanket.

  1. Eat more. This is good advice at all times of the year, as a cat must keep her coat glossy and whiskers luxuriant, but as the days become colder it is doubly important. Unfortunately the Dread Vet has convinced the humans that my rations must be reduced still further, and all my woeful gazes from beside the empty food bowl have come to naught. I have instituted 5 a.m. wake-up calls to make sure the human feels my displeasure. She hasn’t broken yet, but it can’t be long.
cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

Well, if you gave me more of *my* food, I wouldn’t have to eat *your* food

  1. Body heat. Every self-respecting cat must, of course, keep an aloof distance from her humans. However, as winter draws in it is worth remembering that they are an excellent heat source, and as they tend to wrap themselves in blankets when seated for any length of time, one can kill two birds with one paw. Just ensure you establish authority by sitting in such a way that they are moderately uncomfortable, and if they do move, stalk away in disgust, pausing to glare back at them pointedly.
cat's guide surviving winter staying warm little furry muse

Lap + blanket = happy kitty

Most of all, humans, grow some fur. All that naked skin is just unsightly, as well as impractical. I don’t know how you manage.

The Little Furry Muse has spoken. And no, it was not just an excuse to share cute cat photos. This is important information. A public service, if you will…

Now let me know, lovely people – do you enjoy the winter? Do you feel the cold? What are your tips for staying warm through the cold weather? Let me know below!

cat's life, cats, life, life advice from cats, little furry muse, winter

  1. Cynthia says:

    I commend Layla on her superior intelligence, and sympathize with her problems with the Dread Vet. I agree with her about the indoor bonfires, but not all homes come equipped with indoor fires and landlords get miffy when you install your own.

    Here in Minnesota, we wear multiple layers and silly looking hats. We also invite cats into our homes to help warm our blankets and our toes.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      Layla doesn’t see how anyone can possibly object to indoor bonfires, and recommends feeding problematic landlords to them. Which is why we’re all grateful she hasn’t developed her opposable thumbs yet, and also why she’s only allowed online via her human. No one wants to see the results of unsupervised cat internet.

      Well, almost no one. No one human, that is.

      And Minnesota – now THAT gets seriously cold, I believe! You’re probably laughing at my whinging over the fact that we dipped below 0C overnight!

  2. Lynda Dietz says:

    “Obviously, if the fire was lit, I wouldn’t be able to do this” . . . truer words have never been spoken. That’s the one thing I really miss in the house we live in. Our old house had a working fireplace. Now we have one that looks almost like a working fireplace, but it’s only fit for . . . well, I’m not sure what it’s fit for. It has a gas valve somewhere that could probably be hooked up to something, but our pro heating/cooling friend said there’s really no vent, and he wouldn’t trust it. So we hang stockings from the front and put on another blanket.

    I love Layla’s posts! She’s full of wisdom. And how dare anyone think this is just an excuse to post adorable cat photos. Like there’s anything wrong with that anyway.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      I’ve never lived in a house with an open fire before – we had one with a pot-bellied stove when I was a kid, but the rest of that particular house was so damp (it had been pushed onto a barge in one bay, carted around to the bay it was in, and pushed ashore as far as it could go – high tides used to wash onto the porch) that I don’t remember it being very warm anyway. We keep saying we should get a wood-burner, which would be much more efficient, but there’s something lovely about having that fireplace…

      And Layla accepts your praise graciously, obviously. And her personal views is that there can never be enough cat photos on the interwebs, so she’s just doing her bit…

  3. Joanne Altman says:

    I completely agree with Layla❤️

    1. Kim Watt says:

      She is terribly wise for such a small thing. Except when it comes to pompoms. Then she’s just silly 😉

  4. Mike Harvey says:

    “the company of a cat is all that’s ever really required.” You’re so right Layla, as always.

    1. Kim Watt says:

      I really should just hand all blog-writing duties over to her. I harbour suspicions that she’s far smarter than I am.

      Particularly when she’s reclining on a sunny windowsill while I clean out her litter box…

      1. Mike Harvey says:

        Of course Layla’s smarter than you. She’s a cat whereas you are merely human, a race barely fit to be the slaves of cats.

        1. Kim Watt says:

          You are, of course, right. I shall offer her my apologies for even considering that she might not be smarter than me. Apologies, and dinner…

          1. Mike Harvey says:

            That should save you, for now.

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