Hot Weather Tips to Help Your Cat Stay Cool
Hot weather brings days of swimming, sunbathing, picnics, playing outdoors, grilling and just enjoying many sunny days. For cats, however, especially ones who have access to the outdoors, hot weather can also mean discomfort and potential danger. Even indoor cats can suffer during hot weather months
Here are some tips to help you keep your cat cool and comfortable when temperatures soar.
Make sure your cat always has access to cool, fresh water. For indoor cats, place several bowls around the house to encourage more drinking and to make it convenient for less mobile cats to easily get to a water bowl. If your cat goes outdoors, place bowls in several shady locations and replace the water several times a day to keep it fresh.
For outdoor cats, make sure there are shady locations available. If you have an outdoor enclosure or “catio”, there should be shade available as well as the ability for the cat to easily return back into the house should they get too hot. Even indoor cats need shade. If your cat loves their cat tree or window perch and it sits in a sunny window, close the curtains or provide an alternate elevated location in a spot that doesn’t have sun streaming in.
3. Temperature Control
If you keep your cat indoors you are more easily able to control temperature in the environment. If you don’t have A/C , run the ceiling fans or place several standing/box fans around that are safely away from the cat. Just having air circulation can make a difference in temperature and in the comfort of the interior.
4. Avoid Sunburn
You may not realize this but cats can easily get sunburned, especially on their ear tips. On very sunny days, the best way to avoid sunburn is to keep your cat indoors.
Daily grooming is a good way to help keep your cat cool. Matted fur doesn’t allow for air to circulate to the skin. Brush your cat to remove loose hair to allow for the cat’s body to more efficiently cool.
6. Access to Cool Resting Spots
For an indoor cat, that may mean being able to move to a cool tile floor. If you close off certain rooms, make sure your cat has access to other rooms with cool floor surfaces in case her normal napping areas become too warm. Another thing to consider is to use a self-cooling pad. These pads get cool as the pet sits on them. Important note though: any time you use a pad for either coolness or heat, the cat must be mobile enough to be able to leave if the temperature becomes uncomfortable.
7. Schedule Your Play Sessions
Playtime is important in a cat’s life but you don’t want to get your cat overheated during hot days. Time your playtime sessions for early in the morning or in the evenings when the temperatures are lower.
8. Window Safety
If you don’t have A/C and will be leaving windows open, keep in mind that screens aren’t sturdy and a cat could easily push through one, especially if she spots something interesting outside such as a bird or an unfamiliar cat in the yard. Open windows only far enough for air circulation but not enough that a cat could slide underneath and push through the screen.
9. Keep Food Safe
In warmer temperatures, food can spoil more quickly. If you leave food bowls outdoors, keep in mind that they will soon become popular with ants and other hungry insects.
10. Paw Pad Safety
Outdoor cats are at risk of having paw pads get burned from exposure to hot sidewalks, driveways and asphalt. Cats walking on grass are also at risk of getting stung or bitten by insects. Check your cat’s paws regularly. If you treat your lawn with pesticides or fertilizer, that will also be a hazard as the cat walks on the grass. Keep your cat indoors on days your lawn is being treated.
11. Car Safety
If you will be traveling with your cat during the warm weather, keep in mind how quickly the temperature in the interior of the car can rise. Do not leave your cat (or any pet) in the car no matter how quick you think you be.
12. Watch for Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke can happen quickly and the result could be life threatening.
Signs of heatstroke include:
• Panting or rapid breathing
• Dark, red rums
• High body temperature
• Wobbly gait
• Glazed look in the eyes
If you suspect heatstroke, wipe your cat down with a cool, damp towel or place a cool compress on their neck and contact an emergency veterinarian immediately.
For cats that normally stay indoors the Summer offers them a chance to explore! While making sure they stay cool, also remember that nutrition is key to fueling your kitty’s adventure! Check out Wellness Pet Food for a variety of cat recipes.