Summer is a wonderful time to relax and enjoy the warm weather. But don't forget about your feline friend during these lazy, hazy days.
When temperatures rise, cats can suffer from sunburn, dehydration, and even heat stroke. But with a little planning, you can make sure they stay safe. Keep on reading for our top tips on how to keep your cat cool and comfortable this summer.
1. Keep Your Cat Hydrated
Just like you, your cat needs to stay hydrated in the heat to stay cool and healthy. So, make sure they have access to cool, fresh water at all times. If your cat spends time outdoors, place multiple bowls around your home and yard in cool, shaded areas so they can rehydrate throughout the day.
Make sure your cat drinks around 3.5-4.5 ounces of water for every 5 pounds of their body weight. For example, a 10-pound cat needs about 7-9 ounces of water every day.
If your cat needs more encouragement to drink water, consider investing in a fountain-style water bowl. Many cats instinctively prefer to drink from running water sources, so using a fountain can help your kitty feel more comfortable. Adding a few ice cubes to the bowl can also aid in keeping your cat cool.
2. Visit the Groomer
If you have a cat with long or thick fur, consider getting them professionally groomed to help them stay cool during the summer months.
Grooming will help to thin out your cat's coat and remove any excess fur, making it easier for them to stay cool. It will also prevent mats and tangles, which can trap heat and make your cat even hotter.
3. Keep It Cool Inside
It can be tempting to turn off your fans or turn down your air conditioning when you leave for work to save on the electric bill. But keeping it too warm inside can cause your cat to overheat, especially if your home lacks good ventilation.
If the temperature inside your home makes you uncomfortable, it's safe to say that your cats feel the same way.
If your home doesn't have air conditioning, consider adding fans throughout the house, and keep your windows cracked to help with air circulation. Closing the curtains during the day can also help keep the temperature down.
4. Provide Shady Areas for Outdoor Cats
It's important to provide shady areas for your cats if they spend any time outdoors. If you don't have trees or other structures that provide natural shade, consider setting up an outdoor cat shelter or umbrella to give your feline friend a place to escape the heat.
Even though cats can tolerate heat well, extreme outdoor temperatures can put them at risk of heatstroke. If temperatures reach above 100℉ (the average body temperature of a cat) it's best to bring your cat inside. This is also good advice when humidity levels are high, as cats can struggle to cool themselves down when it's very humid outside.
5. Keep Your Cat at a Healthy Weight
Excess weight and fat put more strain on your cat's body and provide more insulation, making it harder for them to cool off. It also puts your cat at a higher risk of health conditions like diabetes and joint pain.
Talk with your veterinarian to determine what your cat's ideal weight is, as well as the appropriate amount of food and treats to feed them every day. Your vet can help you create a diet and exercise plan to help your cat lose weight and improve their overall quality of life.
6. Use Frozen Toys and Treats
Ice cubes are a great way to keep your cat cool on a hot day! Place a few cubes in their water bowls to keep the water cooler, and try freezing water with some tuna brine or chicken broth for a wonderful, cold treat.
Ice cubes are also fun to play with. Try placing a few on a hard floor and let your cat swat at them. This will help them stay cool while burning off excess energy.
7. Use a Cooling Mat or Wet Towel
If your cat needs to cool down, a cooling mat, ice pack, or wet towel can provide them with some much-needed relief. Always wrap the ice pack in a towel or blanket before letting your cat lie on it, as touching it directly to their skin can be painful.
While your cat may not like to get wet, wiping their fur with a damp towel or washcloth can help them cool off quickly as well.
8. Elevate Your Cat's Bed
While you want your cat to be comfortable, fluffy beds on the floor can be too hot for your cat to lie on. In many cases, you're more likely to see your cat sprawled out on the cool kitchen tile than wrapped up inside their usual bed.
To help make your cat's bed cooler and more comfortable in the summer heat, consider an elevated bed with legs. The space under the bed allows air to pass underneath, keeping the bed (and your cat) cooler.
9. Watch for Signs of Overheating
Unlike people, cats can't sweat to lower their body temperature. Unfortunately, they only sweat through the pads of their feet.
Heat strokes can occur in cats during the summer if they don't get enough water and fail to keep their body temperature stable. If not treated promptly, this can result in irreversible organ damage.
Be sure to pay close attention to your cat's behavior on hot days. Your cat could be at risk of heat stroke if they are:
- Panting or drooling excessively
- Moving around frequently and acting restless
- Acting fatigued or lethargic
- Breathing rapidly
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to take action quickly. Bring your cat inside to a cool area, offer them water, and wet their fur with cool (not cold) water. It's also vital to take your cat to the veterinarian immediately as they will likely need treatment to help prevent further complications.
Are You Ready for a Fun, Safe Summer with Your Cat?
While your cat is likely to love all of the sunshine that summer brings, the high temperatures and humidity can be dangerous for them without the proper precautions.
If you monitor your cat's behavior closely, provide them with plenty of shade and resources, and shelter your outdoor cats inside when the heat is too much, your cat can have a long, fun summer right along with you.
Pet insurance can help pay for unexpected vet bills. Get a pet insurance quote from AKC Pet Insurance today (underwritten by Independence American Insurance Company) and prepare for accidents, illnesses, and much more.