By Amanda Harper


My cat hates winter.
I don’t know exactly how she even knows it’s so frosty outside. Her excursions outdoors are extremely limited, usually cut short by the sounds of distant dog barks or those pesky birds she’s so tough against when she’s safely on the other side of the glass.
Maybe she just senses my own seasonal ennui, my hefty sighs before trudging out to scrape my windshield. Perhaps she empathizes with me when I bolt inside with icicles hanging from my nose, wishing me warmer days and happier travels.
Or maybe she just gets sick of all the static zaps–winter’s dry air is not exactly kind to a bushy beast like her.
Whatever the reason, she gets restless in the coldest months of the year, and I’m sure that’s not too uncommon. Every pet parent I’ve asked has reported they and their pets share in experiencing the strain of winter, whether that’s agitated pups pawing at the door for a walk when it’s ten below or kitties that sleep even more hours of the day away.
Just like people, pets need a little sunlight in their lives. Natural light is important in keeping your pets happy. If that’s not possible in the gloomy months, consider a Seasonal Affective Disorder therapy light for you and your pet to bask in during the early evening. On sunny days–if you happen to come across any–spend some time outside or set your pet a perch right up in a bright window spot. If your pet seems unusually lethargic, ask your vet if something else may be at fault.
Winter blahs are often exacerbated by low levels of activity. For dogs, taking more walks for very short periods of time can be a great solution. For all pets, having indoor activities planned is crucial. Toss your cat some new toys–or some yarn–to play with. Invest in a couple new kong toys for your dog. Invent new games to play and keep yourselves moving.
Trying to save bucks on your heating bill? While you’re bundled up in a sweater, your pet may be struggling to acclimate to the new temperatures. Yeah, yeah, she’s wearing a fur coat, but that doesn’t mean she’s comfortable! If you must keep the thermostat set on the low side, make sure you provide your pet extra bedding.
Need a snuggle? Go ahead and grab a blanket, a movie and some snacks, then hole up on the couch with Fido for a couple hours. Bored? Brush out your pet’s coat. Lonely? I won’t judge if you read a book aloud to your furry companion. Winter is the perfect time for bonding with your four-legged friend. If you’re feeling especially blah, call up a friend and make a pet playdate to bake treats. Spin a new yarn that will have you remembering the chilly start of 2016 rather fondly.