For most, news of an incoming heatwave means nothing but fun. However, it isn’t a welcome turn for everyone, sometimes the extra heat is a bit of a burden. Pets have trouble keeping hydrated and comfortable in the heat, even cats need some extra care to stay happy and safe in the summer sun. There are some extra things you need to do to keep an eye on your cat in the summer. Your cat might enjoy spending his or her days laid out in the sun, but it can quickly become too much. Cats in the summer need some extra attention to stay cool.
Cats can get sunstroke which can be very dangerous, they can even get sunburnt skin underneath their fur. Most animals aren’t as excited by the novelty of hot weather as their owners. Cats have a reputation as being friendly to heat, but most won’t take to it all that well. Imagine wearing a big fur coat every day in the heat of summer, it might explain a little why their grooming becomes more a hassle when it is hot.
With a few precautions set up, you can easily ensure that both you and your pet have a great summer. Caring for cats in the summer doesn’t take much and it can make a lot of difference for their health and comfort.
Keeping Hydrated – Cats in the Summer
Cats in the summer feel the heat just as much as we do, but they don’t have the same option to have an ice cream or cold drink. Even in the hotter months, cats are really limited to their protein heavy food, not exactly a treat to cool you down. This heat gives your cat a very real risk of developing sunstroke. Your cat isn’t going to be able to tell you they’re too hot, so you need to watch out for the warning signs. Restless behaviour, panting, sweating, drooling, and a heightened rectal temperature are all tell-tale signs that your cat is struggling. If you see many of these signs, you need to see a vet.
Otherwise, the most important thing to do for cats in the summer is to keep them hydrated. You can usually get away with just one or possibly two water bowls for your cat, you need more in the hot months. Your cat should be able to reach water quickly. It also needs to be fresh and cool. If you’re at home this will mean changing it frequently. Having some extra bowls around will make it a lot easier for your cat to stay hydrated, even when eating dry food.
Ice cubes can also help you keep cats in the summer hydrated. Ice cubes aren’t just good for cooling down water, in the summer they can become a toy. You should encourage your cat to play with ice cubes. This will keep them entertained and give them something cool to play with. Some cats will lick ice cubes for the cold taste, but many just like playing with them and batting them around. This helps them keep cool, so it should be considered if you don’t mind having to mop up melted water!
Keeping Cool Indoors
In the winter, cat owners spend plenty of time making sure their pet has plenty of cosy spots to snuggle up in, but cool spots are just as important. Cats in the summer need access to cool areas where they can retreat to once they’ve had their fill of sunbathing.
This includes the basic stuff, like fresh air. In the summer you should ensure that your cat also has access to some fresh moving air. Open windows go a long way towards helping them. You can also keep a room in shade to keep it cool. Blocking out the sun for the day will keep a room relatively cool, but you need to keep air flowing still to stop it becoming too stuffy. These rooms can be a good place for your cat to retreat to.
In the winter, owners spend time giving their pet a warm and cosy bed to sleep in. However, if you’re the type to kick off the blankets in the summer months you know our sleeping arrangements aren’t always made for the heat of summer. You can make this a little easier for the pet by cooling down where they sleep. This can be done with a cooling pad, however, there’s also a few DIY options open to you. You can put a bag of frozen food just under your cat’s bed to keep it cool for a while. If you don’t fancy exposing packs of food to your cat for the duration, an ice cube bag works just as well.
Being an Indoor or Outdoor Cat in the Summer
The hot weather and sun may be enticing for a cat that enjoys lounging outside, but it isn’t always the best thing for them. Indoors cats have something of an advantage in summer months since they’re used to only having controlled trips outdoors in the first place. Cats in the summer are at a lot more risk if they have free reign of the outdoors.
Outdoor cats need to be kept cool, but if they’re gone for longer periods you don’t have much of an opportunity. It may be easier to keep your cat healthy if they stay close in the summer months. This way they can always have fresh assess to water. You should also consider having them indoors when you’re not around. This way you have the peace of mind that they have access to water and they’re staying safe.
Cats are at a big danger of getting trapped in enclosed spaces when roaming in the summer. It can be lethal if they become trapped in a shed or greenhouse. If your cat is outdoors, try and keep an eye on them so you know they’re not being put in danger. In general, it is best to only have your cat outdoors when you can supervise in hotter months.
Cats in the summer will often seek shade while it is too hot for them. In a house, this can lead to cats clambering under beds for places of concealment! You can help them with this process and try to dissuade them from trapping themselves in nooks and crannies by providing a shady spot. A cardboard box turned on its side and placed in the shade can be a great place to ride out the heat.
Grooming Cats in The Summer
Cats might be covered in fur, but that won’t protect them from sunburn. Many cats, particularly pale ones, still have surprisingly delicate skin. If your cat has taken to spending longer periods in direct sunlight, then they need some protection. If they have pale fur they are especially vulnerable, but even dark haired cats need protection on their ears and other exposed areas. Pet specific sunburn goes a long way to ensuring that your pet stays safe in the sun. They may not enjoy the administration of it, but it is important if they’re going to be in the sun.
Cats in the summer will spend more time than usual grooming themselves. This isn’t always a sign for concern. It is a natural change. You spend more time in the shower in hot weather than in cold, cats also have to spend more time grooming.
The only other grooming concern for the summer is dealing with all that excess fur! Cats shed their hair at a high speed while its nice out. They need to lose that extra layer of fuzz if they’re going to stay cool. Some pet owners even cut out the middle man and give their longer haired cat a haircut in the summer! However, this is going to seriously impact their shielding from the heat and their grooming routine. You shouldn’t give your cat a buzz cut just to avoid the shedding fur, unless you’re prepared to cover them in sunscreen for the duration of the summer. Using a grooming glove or other apparatus to remove fur will do just as good of a job.
Keeping a Cat Cool in the Summer
Summer can be a fun time for you and your cat. You need to keep their needs in mind, since they can’t really communicate them to you themselves. This means making sure they’re not outside alone for too long and keeping good amounts of water on hand. Precautions taken with their skin should make spending long days lounging in the sun much more enjoyable for them.
As long as you keep them cool and provide plenty of spaces outside of the heat, a cat can get a lot of fun from the sun. Afternoons spent in the sunshine, playing outdoors, or even just a warm nap, can be a nice change of pace for our pets.