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As a cat parent you might notice your cat tends to have different moods, activity levels, appetites and habits throughout the year. It’s not your imagination – cats really can display different behaviors depending on the season! Compared to humans, cats have heightened senses and can more easily detect changes in light, smell, humidity and other sensory input. Cats also have instinctive behaviors which can be affected by seasonal changes. Keep reading to learn the different ways that fall, winter, spring and summer can affect your cat.

Sleeping Habits

Cats tend to sleep more when it’s hot, so you might notice your cat catching some extra Zs in summer. Just like their wild ancestors, cats instinctively conserve energy during the hottest parts of the day.

But it’s also true that cats sleep more when it’s cold! It’s thought that cats sleep more in winter in response to lower levels of light. And if you find yourself heading to bed earlier during the winter months, your cat may simply be taking their cues from the change in your own routine.

If you notice your cat sleeping more in autumn, it could be due to falling temperatures and decreased daylight, and as well as changes in your household. If your home tends to have more noise and activity during summer break, your cat might simply have more time to snooze once the kids are back in school.

Learn more about how cats’ sleeping habits are related to changes in temperature and circadian rhythms.

black and white cat jumping

Eating & Drinking Patterns

Like most mammals, cats eat more in winter compared to summer, fall or spring. Cats need more food to stay warm in cold temperatures, so the increased eating is especially noticeable in hairless breeds since they don’t have coats to help them conserve heat. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should feed your cat more during cold months: cats that live indoors year round probably won’t need any extra calories in winter compared to other seasons. 

Is it OK to feed my cat more in winter?

If you notice your cat has a bigger appetite in winter you can feed them a little more, but be sure to monitor their weight and try to keep them within 10% of their ideal weight (which is determined by their veterinarian). And if your kitty shows less interest in food during warmer months it’s fine to adjust their food portions accordingly, to avoid waste. Of course, any dramatic changes in your cat’s appetite or eating habits should be brought to your vet’s attention.

Does my cat need more water in the summer?

Cats often drink more water in summer, spring, or fall when the weather is warmer. This is especially true of cats that spend time outdoors. If your cat stays indoors with little variation in temperature, you might not notice any difference in their water intake. In any season, dry indoor air from forced-air heating and air conditioning can prompt your cat to rehydrate more often. Learn everything you need to know about keeping your cat hydrated and healthy year round!

Do cats lose weight in summer?

Because cats typically eat a little less in warmer months, it’s common for them to lose a little weight in summer. Cats may also appear to lose weight in spring or summer as a sleeker summer coat replaces their bulky winter undercoat (and fluffed-up fur).

Raw cat food is a great way to support your cat’s overall health in any season because it’s formulated to mirror your cat’s ancestral diet and has a high moisture content. Learn more about introducing your cat to raw food.

pointed cat with beef morsels

Skin, Coat & Shedding

Cats that spend time outdoors tend to shed more in spring and fall. In spring they start shedding their winter coat to get ready for warmer weather, and in fall they start shedding their summer coat so the winter undercoat can grow in.

Indoor cats shed hair all year because climate control keeps the temperature relatively stable. But indoor cats will still shed more in summer because cats are sensitive to what’s called a “photoperiod” – how much sunlight they’re exposed to. So your cat’s shedding is affected not only by temperature, but by how much sunshine they get (more sun equals more shedding).

Do cats throw up more in spring and summer?

Cat parents know there’s a link between shedding and hairballs! When seasonal shedding increases, you might also notice your cat vomiting more frequently. If your cat tends to regurgitate hairballs more often in warmer months, you can help by brushing them more frequently (which will also help reduce how much hair they shed around the house).

Cat dandruff & shedding

Because dry skin is more prone to itching and flaking, cats can more easily develop dandruff in winter. Dry skin can also increase shedding, so keeping your cat hydrated can help manage shedding as well as dandruff. Regular brushing distributes natural oils throughout your cat’s coat, which can help prevent dry skin, dandruff and excess shedding.

Stella & Chewy’s cat food for skin and coat health features all-natural ingredients like biotin, vitamin E, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids to support healthy skin and coat in every season.


Just like people, cats can suffer from allergies in the spring, summer and fall. Each season brings its own blend of allergens: springtime has more tree pollen, summer has more pollen from grasses and weeds, and autumn is known for ragweed pollen, as well as mold and mildew that grow in leaf litter. Because each season’s allergy triggers are different, your cat might only have allergies during specific times of the year.

Cats that spend time outdoors are more likely to develop seasonal allergies. More frequent vacuuming, as well as frequent washing of clothing, cat beds and fabric toys can help reduce your cat’s allergen exposure. Learn more about cat seasonal allergy symptoms and treatments.

Activity Levels

Like most warm-blooded creatures, cats are generally more active when the temperature is moderate: not too hot or too cold. 

Many cat parents have noticed their cat becomes much more active in springtime. This is because there’s more daylight and more exposure to fresh air (and all those fascinating smells!). Cats also have instinctive hunting behaviors that get triggered when more birds and small prey are active.

Cats with arthritis are often less active in winter, because cold weather increases sensitivity to pain and slows blood circulation. Higher barometric pressure in winter increases pressure on nerves which can make joint pain worse.

Your cat’s activity level throughout the year is also affected by other members of the household. If you tend to be less active in winter and more active in warmer months, it’s likely your cat’s energy levels will mirror your own.

Mood & Attitude

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of seasonal depression that some people experience in winter when daylight is scarce. It’s not clear whether cats can get seasonal affective disorder, but it is clear that cats can pick up on our moods. 

If you suffer from seasonal depression, it’s likely your cat senses the change and adjusts their behavior in response – but the way a cat adapts depends on their unique personality. Your cat may offer comfort by purring, licking and cuddling you more, or they may display anxiety symptoms if your seasonal depression causes uncertainty (like changes in their routine).

Seasonal hormonal changes

Cats and humans alike experience seasonal fluctuations in hormone levels, primarily because changes in daylight levels affect hormones like cortisol, serotonin and melatonin. Seasonal changes in hormone levels can affect your cat’s mood, sleep patterns, appetite and other behaviors.

Study Your Cat’s Seasonal Changes

Just because certain seasonal changes are common for most cats doesn’t mean they apply to all cats. It’s important to know what’s normal for your cat in each season so you can recognize what’s not normal. In general, if your cat displays any sudden or extreme changes in behavior, your best bet is discussing the situation with your veterinarian to rule out underlying causes.

One way to understand your cat better and help them live their best life is by learning how to read cat body language!

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