Extreme heat and humidity can make your cat uncomfortable and may even be life-threatening. Here are 9 ways to keep him cool on sizzling summer days.
Summers are getting warmer, even in parts of the world unaccustomed to extreme temperatures. Excessive heat can be as dangerous to cats as it is to dogs and people. Even indoor cats may need protection from the heat, especially during stretches of extreme temperatures and high humidity. Read on for tips on how to keep your cat cool when it’s sweltering outside.
9 ways to keep your cat comfortable
1. Use Air Conditioning and Fans
If you have air conditioning, don’t turn it off when you’re not home. On really hot days, your cat may become uncomfortable, so adjust the AC settings accordingly to keep him cool when you’re out. This is especially important if he has a health condition that may make it harder for him to regulate his body temperature. A programmable thermostat can make controlling your indoor temperature easy. With some models, you can even control your thermostat via your smartphone.
If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans to cool things off. Keep ceiling fans running. Get additional tower, box or table-top fans. Make sure the fans can’t tip over, and don’t leave floor or table-top fans running when you’re not home.
2. Turn Off Lights and Close Blinds
Since lights generate additional heat, turn them off in rooms you’re not using. Close blinds or drapes to keep the sun out, but make sure your indoor cat still has a way to watch the outside world. Consider treating your windows with a solar film that will keep the heat out and increase the energy efficiency of your home, but won’t block the light and, more importantly, won’t stop your cats from birdwatching!
3. Give Her Access to Cool Spots
Basements are usually cooler than upstairs bedrooms. Hardwood or tile floors are cooler than carpet. Some cats may even hang out in the bathtub or sink during hot weather.
Cooling blankets or mats in your cat’s favorite area can help provide her with comfortable resting spots. You can even place a well-wrapped ice pack near or under your cat’s bed – never place an ice pack directly on your cat.
4. Open the Windows at Night
If it cools off enough at night, open the windows to get a cross breeze going. Always make sure that screens are well secured.
5. Brush Your Cat Frequently
It may seem counterintuitive, but a cat’s fur is designed to regulate body temperature and helps protect him from overheating. Don’t shave your cat, thinking it will keep him cool — it’s actually going to have the opposite effect. Cats may also groom themselves more on hot days. They can’t perspire like we do, but their saliva acts like sweat by helping to cool the body as it evaporates. Brush your cat frequently to remove the undercoat and loose hairs.
6. Provide Access to Fresh, Cool Water
Make sure your cat has access to clean, fresh, cool water at all times. A fountain is a great way to offer water, since many cats are attracted to running water and may drink more. Periodically add some ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl.
7. Make a Kitty Popsicle
While ice cream and other frozen sweet treats aren’t good for cats, you can easily make feline-friendly popsicles. Simply put your cat’s favorite canned food into a popsicle mold with some water (you can blend the mixture for a smoother texture, depending on your kitty’s preferences), and freeze until solid. Leave the popsicles out of the freezer for ten to 15 minutes before giving them to your cat.
8. Use Sunscreen for Cats
Cats with pink skin and light or white coats are predisposed to sunburn and skin cancers. While windows block some UV rays, they won’t block all damaging rays unless they have been specially treated. Consider a natural sunscreen made for cats. Never use a human sunscreen product on cats.
9. Never Leave Your Cat in a Parked Car
If you have to travel with your cat, make sure you never leave her in a parked car, not even for a minute. Temperatures inside a car rise to dangerous levels very quickly, even with the windows cracked.
By using common sense and keeping these tips in mind, you and your cats can enjoy a safe and happy summer together!
Ingrid King is a former veterinary hospital manager and author of five cat books, including Buckley’s Story: Lessons from a Feline Master Teacher, and Tortitude: The BIG Book of Cats With a BIG Attitude. Ingrid writes for magazines and websites around the world. She is the founder of Purrs of Wisdom with Ingrid King, where she writes about all things feline .For more information about Ingrid, please visit www.IngridKing.com.