Polar Vortexes, Heat Waves, Big Red, and Cats…

by Deb at 4:50 AM • Cat Humor20 Comments

cat_with_violinWhile we don’t have the double-digit minus degree temperatures that some of you have been experiencing across the country the past couple of weeks, we have still felt the effects of the Polar Vortex in South Florida with temperatures occasionally dipping into the forties at night. Now granted that might seem like a heat wave to some of you and I’m not looking for a woe is me violin, but it is all relative – when you are used to warmer temperatures and they suddenly dip, cold is cold.

When this happens, we have what we call a “Big Red” night at our house and like a moth to light, the cats flock to our bedroom from their other favorite napping spots to hibernate on our bed which is now graced by “Big Red,” a big, red velour blanket that otherwise spends most of its time unused in the linen closet.


This picture of the cats on Big Red was taken a couple of years ago before we had Kizmet and Jazz was still with us. I love it because every cat was on the bed at the time. Clockwise – Zoey, Harley, Zee, Rolz, Mia, Peanut, and Jazz.

What is most interesting about Big Red this time is that I am going through my own Vortex this year and it is anything but Polar. I don’t want to shock anyone, but it’s true… I have hit that delightful metamorphosis of womanhood whereby my body has betrayed any sense of normalcy I used to have and is a raging inferno of fire. Yup, you guessed it. Hello middle age and hello menopause. Wish I could say I was glad to meet you, but then I would just be flat-out lying…


Anyhow, even on a good day, I am like an unbalanced lunatic. One minute I am bundled in a sweater with my teeth chattering from the cold and then the next I am ripping the sweater off me because the room has become so hot that I feel like I am going to combust. I went through these symptoms last year and then gratefully they went away – but now they are back and between Big Red on the bed as well as an assortment of cats who come and go during the night and insist on sleeping next to, or on top of me, like miniature space heaters, I have been one tired, hot, and miserable lady!


Logic would dictate that I kick the cats off the bed and remove the blanket, but that is an absolutely absurd notion in my world. First of all, Dan is not going through menopause and clearly he is cold. As are the cats. So, the blanket stays and what I do instead is let my kitties snuggle even closer to me because clearly they enjoy the heat radiating from my sweltering body. Being the good person I am, I just suffer in silence and stick my legs and arms outside of the blanket as best I can to cool my body temperature.


Thankfully the cold spell is over and to the disappointment of the kitties, Big Red can come off the bed. Notwithstanding me, the temperatures are back to normal and we have weathered another cold winter here in South Florida…

But that’s our house. What about you kitties? Do your humans have a special blanket like Big Red or do they do something special for you when the weather gets cold to help you stay safe and warm? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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  1. Ingrid King says:

    Ah yes, the joys of going through menopause with cats! I never thought of them actually enjoying our misery – I bet they think it’s payback time for all the times they’ve kept us warm at night! 🙂

  2. My ma went through what was called medical menopause a couple years before I came to live with them. The horror stories that sissy Spaniel tells makes me glad I wasn’t here. As for a special item in cold weather, we have a few. Ma and Sarah do a special dance when the temp drops. Its called the celebration of the Fuzzy Sock weather. We also have a blanket that looks like it is made of poodle hair and its deep purple. It is super duper warm.

  3. Ms. Phoebe says:

    We have had an especially cold OR winter so when not in my heated cat bed, I sleep in my human bed and allow my Mom to do so with me. She enjoys this privilege and I enjoy the extra heat from another body!

  4. Kitties Blue says:

    Pretty much sounds and looks like our house! Just add the two people to your photo and one extra cat, and you have our house. The humans have three afghans over the foot board of the bed and they start piling those on as the temps go down. We have a really warm and snuggly duvet, but Dad gets too hot so we rarely get to use it. His body is a furnace! This is the coldest winter any of us have ever known, even Lily, who is almost 15. Last winter was really warm and lovely! Stay warm or cool as the need arises. Purrs and hugs, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  5. A friend of the head peep’s calls that “having her personal summer.” That red blanket looks like an amazing place to cuddle on a chilly day!

    • Deb says:

      Oh my goodness, Sometimes Cats Herd You… that phrase is priceless!!! LOL… thank you for giving me a much needed smile and for sharing it!

  6. mariodacat says:

    M used to live in Melbourne, FL 1000 years ago – for 1 year – just long enough for her blood to thin down to Florida style (he he). She says she really suffered that next winter when they had to go north again. You are so right when you say it’s all relative. Your body adjusts to whatever your living environment is. We have a BIG BLUE blankey that we put on around September and take off in May!! i just snuggle in with my humans. M says we might have more of something called insulation in our walls too because it can get so cold.

  7. Brian says:

    We have all kind of special blankies everywhere and we do love them all!

  8. So THAT’S why Glogirly is always twirling around in the covers, sticking her arms and feet out, flipping over her pillow…
    ; )

  9. I went through a really early menopause and can commiserate. It’s like living with an broken thermostat! The worst is over thank COD. It’s been wicked cold in the NYC area and the cats have heated beds, cushions on top of radiators and Merlin’s fave, hunkered under a goose down duvet with a warm human.

  10. Beverly says:

    Sophie will start out snoozing next to me on the bed and before I know it she is touching me somehow, someway. I move her again because the body heat is just too much. Then, the next thing I know she is touching me again. When I get out of bed to use the bathroom, I come back into the bedroom and she has moved over to MY SPOT!!! I don’t know how she does it, but she moves closer to me without me seeing her and the next thing I know, I am a furnace. And we live in Virginia where it gets cold!! At least I’m saving on the heating bill.

  11. Kelly says:

    LOL, oh Deb, I feel for you….my body and I are going thru the same thing…oh, the joys of being 51. I’m naturally hot-natured anyway so it’s been fairy yucky. My hubby just understands that I am going to freeze him out with thermostat and fans at night and he just bundles up best he can. 😀

    Blessings to you and yours!

  12. Flynn says:

    When it is cold Flynn burrows under the quilt between us. He never seems to get too hot in there. I get very hot and use my thermostat to cool down….the boobies come out into the fresh air! Ivor has his thermostat in his feet. 🙂

  13. The mom for some reason only gets hot at night. But of course, that’s when we like to lay on her. I, in particular, love to lay on her legs so not only can she not move her legs, but she gets really warm with me laying on her. But does she move me? Nah. She knows that at some point I’ll move and she usually waits until then. I have her trained well, don’t I??


  14. Our mom has those hot and cold flashes too.

  15. We have those blankets in varying degrees of thickness, too! And it doesn’t help that the weather can’t decide – in the same week – if it’s going to be -15 or +55!

    Purring that the “personal summer” thermostat begins to regulate soon!!

  16. Connie Marie says:

    That red blanket really shows off the kitties. I feel for you, I’m at that age too. My kitties always sleep with me, especially if they know I don’t feel the best so I open my window a bit.

  17. Sue Brandes says:

    A couple of days in WI we had 40-50 below zero windchills. Pretty cold for us. And then it warmed up and we got freezing rain. Mother nature is playing tricks this year. Love seeing all the kitties on the blanket. I know mentalpause(this is what I call it). I mean menopause all to well. LOL. I am usually always hot while everyone else is cold. And I get real bad mood swings too. Mostly for me it’s tolerable. Maybe not anyone else at my house. Ha, ha!

  18. Andrea Dorn says:

    Yes, when our temps dipped to ~40 below (windchill) I turned the thermostat down to 60 in hopes I’d save at least a little on my energy bill (I usually keep it at 62). Even so, I walk around in a short sleeved t-shirt. I can’t wear sweaters or sweatshirts anymore 🙁 But hey, today we got up to 41 —- that’s above zero!

    This year I’ve had to add blankets to the bed because fewer cats are keeping it warm now. There’s one blanket underneath and three blankets plus a comforter on top. I sure miss my cuddlers.

  19. Caroline Horne says:

    I used to live in Calgary, Alberta were there was at least a week of -40 and many weeks of -20 Celsius for daytime highs. A heated cat bed was a must but there was also the pleasures of sleeping in bed with a heating pad on low for my feet, flannel sheets, thermal blanket and a down duvet with it’s winter cover. I’d end up with both cats under the covers with me fighting for the few inches that the heating pad kept toasty. I would have killed for hot flashes then.