With the UK basking in the first heat wave of the Summer, we can be forgiven for letting our hair down to enjoy the sunshine. Just as we need more water and sunscreen to stay safe and hydrated, our pets also require similar care to cope with the heat. This blog post looks into some useful tips to help keep your cat cool this summer.
The first and most obvious tip is that your cat needs access to clear, cool water. It will come as no surprise that in hot weather all animals perspire more, meaning that we need to drink more to replenish our water stores. This water needs to be clean and your cat will thank you more if the water is stored in a cool place, out of the sun. The same can be said for cat food, as the hot weather will ensure that cat food will spoil more quickly. When feeding your cat, make sure their food bowl is away from any direct sunlight as this will attract unwanted flies, bugs and other nastiness that your cat can do without.
In order to prevent your cat from overheating, we advise that your cat should be kept indoors during the hottest part of the day – from 11AM – 3PM. This will ensure that they are out of the sun when the sun is most potent, and they can relax in the cool comfort of home.
Do Not Let Your Cat Get Trapped
Curious by nature, cats will often go looking for areas where they can relax in the early or latter parts of the day. It’s important to ensure that your cat doesn’t get locked into these areas, especially if there is no access to a water source. Dehydration is a real concern if a cat gets trapped in a space, and this dehydration will only quicken during hot summer days. It is also important to remember that during the cooler parts of the day, cats may well enjoy warming themselves in greenhouses and similar spaces, which can soon grow hot under the summer sun. Keep checking rooms and small spaces if you haven’t seen your cat for a number of hours.
Equally, cats can often get trapped in shaded areas such as garden sheds when trying to escape the height of the summer day.
Keep Windows Open (If You Can)
Light breezes can help to cool cats and the environment that they’re in. For indoor cats, mesh can be used or tip/tilt windows to ensure that your cat can’t escape from the window once opened. For those cats that roam freely and get into the home through a window, we recommend shutting this window during the hottest part of the day and using another wind source (fan) instead.
The Colour of Your Cat Matters
It is worth taking note of the fact that every colour of cat is affected differently by the sun. Paler coloured cats are more susceptible to sunburn, particularly in areas where their skin is showing such as the nose, ears or in any area where hair growth is limited. Darker coloured cats absorb more sunlight and will have higher body temperatures as a result, which can lead to sunstroke or severe dehydration if exposed to too much sunlight.
Grooming Is Important
For long-haired cats, grooming is especially important during the summer as tangle-free hair will help to keep your cat cool. It will allow your cat’s skin to ‘breath’ and will not trap heat near to the surface of the skin.
Signs of Overheating/Heatstroke
If you cat’s breathing starts to become heavy, or she has a sudden loss of energy, then you need to encourage your cat to drink and cool down. These are the first signs of overheating and your cat needs to be removed from any heat source. Further signs of heatstroke include collapsing, dribbling and excessive panting. If your cat starts to exhibit these signs, then you need to wet their coat to cool them and contact a veterinary practice immediately. Avoid overcooling your cat by using cool, and not cold/freezing, water.
By following all of these tips, your cat will be able to enjoy the summer sun as much as you in a safe environment.