Temperatures across North America are soaring this summer. Cats usually love to be warm but extended or extreme heat can be deadly. Summer can be as much fun for cats as it is for human if we take care and plan. We’re sharing our favorite 9 ways to keep your cats cool this summer
AND we have a giveaway for our favorite water fountain from PetSafe. GIVEAWAY has ended.
I consulted with our friends at Cole and Marmalade and they whipped up this sweet video on how to make frozen kitty treats.
9 Ways to Keeps Cats Cool and Safe This Summer
1) Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate.
Cats are 80% water and can quickly become dehydrated in hot weather resulting in serious health issues. Dehydration can happen quickly from reduced water intake or increased fluid loss. Extreme dehydration can lead to heatstroke. Symptoms include panting, open mouth breathing, drooling, fever, vomiting, lethargy and collapse. On very hot days especially, cats need plenty of fresh, clean and ideally purified water. Keep several bowls of bowl in different locations and at least one water fountain. Add ice cubes for a fun treat. Don’t be surprised if you see an impromptu game of ice hockey so make sure the water bowl or fountain is placed on an easy to clean, non-porous surface.
There’s a reason cats like drinking from a faucet. Running water is cool and fresh. Fountains are more convenient that faucets and we have numerous bowls and fountains all over the house on each floor. If you don’t have much A/C or a fountain, replace the water bowls twice daily. Keep all bowls well rinsed and squeaky clean to prevent the growth of bacteria. If you have fountains, change the filters as needed.
2) Ice Is Nice But Cooling Gel Packs Can Kill.
- We’re months away from snow and chilly weather. Odin can only dream of playing in the snow again but cats can enjoy some icy fun now.
- Take one water bowl, add water and and a plastic ball or toy, then freeze. Allow to gradually thaw and they can play and paw to dig the toy out.
- Freeze a small water bottle, tightly capped and place next to their bed. Some like rolling it on the floor. A bag of frozen peas or veggies warpped in dishcloth is a quick and safe substitute cooling gel packs which contain a toxic liquid.
- Dogs love icy fruit pops and frozen bananas but cats can enjoy icy treats too. Try freezing canned tuna water into ice cubes trays and pop one into a bowl for a cool treat.
- Cats are curious in any season. Keep all your cosmetics, sunscreen, bug spray etc. tightly capped and stored out of reach.
3) Hot Spots, Cool Spots
- Heat rises so without central A/C a basement or ground floor is cooler. Give cats access to cooler tile floors. Place their beds where there is cross-ventilation. Some cats like to nap in tubs or sinks.
- Keep your house as cool much as possible before you leave for work. Leave on fans and A/C on but to save $ place on low. If you have individual A/C units, keep one on in one room and leave the door open a crack so cats can come and go when not at work or not home.
4) Made in the Shade.
If your cats are indoor/outdoor, leave water bowls on the porch or in a shady spot in the garden. Cats are instinctive about staying cool outdoors. Our Domino likes a wicker chair on the porch or a shady spot under bushes. Even our super-active Odin knows when to lay low in the cool grass.
5) Patio Weather Means Catios
- Catios or a screened in porch/sunroom are great ways for indoor-only cats to enjoy the outdoor breezes. Make sure there are blinds/screens to block the sun during peak hours and bowls of fresh water. Do not leave cats unsupervised in a catio when there is no one home.
- There are some new DIY options from Catio Spaces
6) Black, White, Pink and Delicate Care
Cats with black fur will feel hotter in the sun. Remember, cats not able to sweat all over their body but only via their paw pads. A few wipes from head to tail with cool, wet (wrung out) washcloth will refresh. Cats with white fur or pink noses and paw pads are more prone to skin cancer. Keep delicate cats away from full sun during peak hours of 10 am to 2 pm. Keep blinds covered during those hours as well. Odin is one of these delicate pink-nosed ones who doesn’t want listen. But as always, it’s up to the cat guardian to be responsible.
7) To Lion-cut, Naked or Not
Long-haired cats like Persians, Ragdolls and Himalayans or cats with heavy or double coats suffer more in the heat. Some cats enjoy the breezy freedom of a lion cut, a grooming look popular in recent years. A cat’s coat offers protection against heat and cold and I never recommend extreme grooming for cats with short-haired breed or a regular domestic short hair. It can be stressful to be shaved and it’s not a DIY project. If you’re thinking of a lion-cut, consult an experienced groomer. All cats can feel cooler with more frequent grooming. Tools like the Furminator work well for cat who shed more during the summer.
8) Moderation Not Marathon
As the saying goes: Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the noonday sun. Make sure your cat play and exercise time is not during peak sun and heat 10 am to 2 pm. If you don’t have A/C, be careful not to over stimulate cats with vigorous play. Watch for signs of panting. A cat ready to stop playing will roll over to their side.
9) Stay Cool on the Road
- If you must travel with your cat i.e. to the vet, keep the A/C and make sure the cool air vents to the backseat where the carrier is safely secured.
- If there is no A/C on open all four window at least part way and place a cold wet(wrung out towel) over half the carrier or place an small ice pack cover with a wash cloth in the carrier
- Place a small bowl of crushed ice in the carrier.
- For longer trips without A/C buy a small battery operated fan.
- NEVER leave a cat alone in a car even with the windows open.