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Cat found frozen to death outside Cambridge home

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A Cambridge woman wants to warn pet owners after her friend found a dead cat outside her Stewart Avenue home on Tuesday.

“She came back crying, holding something,” Stacy Cormier-Bugden told CTV News. “I’d seen it was a cat that literally froze to death.”

She believes the cat belonged to her neighbour.

Cormier-Bugden wants all owners to be aware of the dangers of leaving pets outside when the temperature drops.

“I just want people to learn to keep their cats and dogs in the house when it’s really cold,” she said.

According to the Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth, a good rule of thumb is if it’s too cold outside for you, then it’s too cold outside for your pets.

“Try to be mindful of what type of coat they have,” said Stacy Murphy, a registered veterinary technician with the humane society. “Do they need an extra jacket or something on when they’re going outside? And certainly not leaving them unattended outside for extended periods of time.”

The organization says some dogs are better suited for colder weather, while cats, kittens, short-coated dogs and puppies are more vulnerable to severe temperatures. They warn that these pets shouldn’t be left outside for long or even overnight.

“You just never know how cold it’s going to dip,” Murphy explains. “Do they have access to shelter? If their paws are wet, there certainly is a potential for frostbite, just like there is in humans.”

She says owners should be aware of their pet’s comfort. Shivering, a hunched posture with a tucked tail, whining and barking could indicate distress. The animal may also try to turn around, or seek shelter, while out on a walk.

“Those are all signs that they’re uncomfortable and it might be time to come inside,” Murphy advised.

Sick animals, or those found dead, can be reported to local animal control agencies that can guide you on the next steps.

“If your animal is found and is sick, it can definitely come back to you. They could press charges through provincial animal welfare services,” Murphy said.

ADVICE FROM THE HUMANE SOCIETY

The Humane Society of Kitchener Waterloo and Stratford Perth shared this advice:

  • If it’s too cold for you, then it’s too cold for your pet! 
  • When the temperature drops below freezing, your furry friends should not be left outside for extended periods. 
  • Cats, short-coated dogs and puppies are more vulnerable in cold temperatures. 
  • Keep cats indoors and protect your dogs from frostbite or hypothermia by taking them outside for only short periods. 
  • If needed, consider sweaters or coats as an extra layer of warmth for especially cold days. 
  • Please do not leave your pet outside overnight. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented, lost, injured or killed.
  • Don’t leave pets alone in a car during cold weather, as cars can act as refrigerators that hold in the cold and can be fatal.

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