By Melissa Locker
February 8, 2019

Fluffy the cat was an outdoor cat, but after getting stuck outside in the snow and very nearly being frozen alive, the cat lives inside now.

While the cat has safe spaces to warm up in winter, some how the cat got stuck in the snow. Fluffy’s owners found their beloved pet buried in a snowbank outside their home recently in Kalispell, Montana. She looked like a snowball and they rushed her to the Animal Clinic of Kalispell, CNN reports. The vets jumped into action in the hopes of resuscitating the frozen cat whose body was so cold they couldn’t even measure it on a thermometer or get an IV into her frozen veins.

The vets used all the tools they could think of to warm the poor cat, including warm water, hair dryers, heated towels, and even a heated kennel. Slowly the clinic workers were able to warm the cat, helping her temperature crawl from below 90°F, back to within a normal range of 100°-102°F.

“What happens is that the central nervous system starts to shut down, putting the animal in what’s like an induced coma,” explains Marc Elie, veterinary internist at BluePearl Pet Hospital in Southfield, Michigan. “As long as they don’t get extremity injuries, specifically frostbite, they can survive.” According to Elie, treatment includes, “slowly re-warming the animals —slowly is important—with warm water, heating pads, and monitoring their temperature and starting fluids if they can.”

According to Pet MD, hypothermia in cats is defined as when their body temperature falls below 100°F. Luckily, if hypothermia is treated quickly and the body temperature raised as soon as possible, cats can make a full recovery, which was what happened in Fluffy’s case. After spending one night at the clinic, Fluffy the cat was back to her old self and went home with her owners to get used to a new life of living inside.

While hypothermia is quite scary, according to Elie, “it’s not common”, even in Michigan, as feral and outdoor cats usually have a way to stay warm and fed, however, “with the recent cold there has been an increase occurrence.” Keep an eye on outdoor cats to make sure they are staying safe in winter.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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