Check your car’s engine for cats during this cold snap


A light knock on your hood before getting in the car works or honk your horn before turning the key and starting the engine

Extreme cold can be a real danger to animals in an unexpected way.

With temperature plunging below minus 30 tonight, the Ontario SPCA today warned that you should check your car for cats before leaving on a cold morning.

“Watch out for cats seeking heat under vehicle hoods – knock on your car’s hood or honk your horn before starting the engine. Cats hidden under hoods can be injured or killed by the fan belt,” warns an OSPCA press release.

Stray cats especially like to go inside the engine compartment and wheel arch, as this keeps them warm in freezing weather. They can also be lying on the ground under the engine or your recently parked car to escape the cold and snow. These places are dark and they can take a nap in peace.

Before leaving, always check under your car for animals.

A light knock on your hood before getting into the working car or honking your horn before turning the key and starting the engine.

The OSPCA also offers these other tips for keeping your pets safe when the mercury drops.

  1. Supervise Time Spent Outdoors – Some dogs want to be outside regardless of the weather. Even if your dog has a thick coat, keep an eye on him when playing outside for the first signs that he is cold, such as raised paws or chills.
  2. Modify Outdoor Activities – Limit time spent outdoors and choose hiking routes that pass past your house, in case you or your pooch needs to come in to warm up.
  3. Leave Pets at Home – Leave your pet at home where they are warm and safe while shopping. Cars cool quickly and do not retain body heat, which can lead to animals suffering from cold stress, hypothermia, or frostbite.
  4. Keep Paws Clean – Use a damp towel to wipe your pet’s paws and underside if it has been walking on salty sidewalks or roads. Salt and other chemicals used to melt snow and ice on roads and sidewalks can irritate and burn your pet’s sensitive paws and cause illness if swallowed.
  5. Clean Up Car Spills – Keep an eye out for antifreeze or other automotive leaks in your driveway. Antifreeze has a sweet taste which can be appealing to animals and can be fatal if ingested.
  6. Know Your Pet’s Unique Needs – Cats, puppies and short-haired dogs are especially vulnerable in cold weather. Some dogs, especially short-haired breeds, puppies, and senior dogs, may benefit from a dog sweater or coat as an extra layer of warmth.

“Our furry friends depend on us to meet their needs,” says Dr. Julia Hughes, Shelter Health & Wellness veterinarian with the SPCA and the Humane Society of Ontario. “In cold winter conditions, it’s important to consider every part of your pet’s daily routine to make sure they’re comfortable and safe at all times.

For more winter pet safety tips, visit

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