How to keep your cat cool this summer.

posted in: Animal Welfare, Cats | 2

We’re having a heat wave and it isn’t just people that are sweltering – so are our pets. If you have a cat you might want to read further.

With boiling temperatures and high humidity it is vital that you make sure your kitty stays cool. Cats, originally desert animals, are natural sun worshippers. Our Bobby loves the sun and always looks for sunny spots in the house or outside. Thankfully she also seeks out a lot of shade and doesn’t stay too long in the sun.

Our Bobby keeping cool in between plant pots in our garden. - Copyright Helen White
Our Bobby keeping cool in between plant pots in our garden. – Copyright Helen White

However our garden is super cat friendly and resembles a jungle with plenty of shade. We sometimes have to look carefully until we can actually find her! We often also keep the side door into the garage open for her, so she has an extra cool space to retreat to. We also have now positioned an extra water bowl next to her food in the living room and outside in the garden. It’s so important to keep your cats hydrated.

Our cat friendly garden - looks more like a jungle. The cat climber was built by my husband and my father-in-law. Bobby loves the climber. - copyright Helen White
Our cat friendly garden – looks more like a jungle. The cat climber was built by my husband and my father-in-law. Bobby loves the climber. – copyright Helen White

I have found that Bobby eats less in hotter weather, but that’s nothing to worry about.

As some readers might know, our cat has unusual ears – half tabby and half white and we do worry about them. I bought sun cream with an SPF of 50 for babies which we will yet have to try on her. The last time we attempted using sun spray (a brand that was especially formulated for cats) we ended at the emergency vet’s because she completely freaked out.

gardenfromabove

Anyway enough about our cat – here are my tips to keep your cat happy and healthy in summer:

  1. Provide lots of shade for your kitty. Bobby takes advantage of our garden furniture and umbrella to get out of the sun. Even better are broad leaved plants like Fatsia japonica, New Zealand Flax and Hostas which create a mini jungle for your garden tiger. However, do check that the plants that you are considering are not toxic to pets or other family members!
  2. Provide extra water and monitor your cat’s water intake to make sure she doesn’t get dehydrated. You might also want to put some ice cubes into your cat’s water bowl. Your cat might prefer drinking it straight from the tap or a pond or whatever is available in your home, that’s fine too. Though I would advise keeping the toilet seat down! Thankfully ours has never attempted to drink from the toilet!
  3. Wet food can go off quickly in the heat, so make sure you change it more frequently – or just stick to the dry food. Our Bobby is terrible with her wet food and mostly eats crunchies. We cover her wet food with a food protecting umbrella to fend off the flies.
  4. Cats are generally very good at keeping themselves cool by cleaning themselves – however if you suspect that your cat is suffering a heat stroke you need to help her cool down. You can do this by using wet towels. We currently have our fan in the bed room, the hottest area in the house and after initial suspicion Bobby really appreciates sitting in front of it to cool down for a bit.
  5. Your cat might be less active than usual to save energy. This is normal and nothing to worry about. However you are advised to go to the vet if your cat shows signs of apathy – i.e. won’t drink or eat or move at all. She might be suffering from sun stroke. Clear signs of a sun stroke are: quick breathing with an open mouth and panting, hot muzzle and paws and increased body temperature, apathy, pale mucous membranes and unconsciousness. What you can do immediately in this case is – make sure you bring your cat into the shade or cool place, offer her water and cool down her legs. Keep calm. If after 10 minutes she is still in distress make sure to go to the vet pronto.
  6. Not all cats have access to the outdoors. If your cat is an indoor cat make sure to open all windows (but make sure that she can’t climb out), use a fan, and keep doors to the bathroom and kitchen open. You might want to invest in one of these water fountains and cover up your south facing windows.
  7. Cats can suffer from skin cancer just like humans. White cats are especially prone to this. It is heart breaking to see cats with their ears amputated as it changes their facial expression and ears are very important for them not only to hear but also to communicate with. So make sure you use sun cream with a high SPF on their ears – there are special products for cats (but in spray form) – you can use cream for humans too. What’s good for babies surely can’t harm your cat.
Spot our Bobby - there's a cat somewhere. - copyright Helen White
Spot our Bobby – there’s a cat somewhere. – copyright Helen White

I hope you found these tips useful. Please let me know in the comments below – and be sure to share this post.

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2 Responses

  1. Rachel
    | Reply

    Very useful, thank you!

    • Helen
      | Reply

      Thanks for your comment. I am glad you found this post useful 🙂

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