For the most part, taking care of a cat is fairly easy. Cats tend to spend a lot of time relaxing, and you don't have to pay constant attention to them. However, cat care does change a bit with the seasons. If you want to make sure you're taking the best care of your cat this summer, here are some tips to keeping your cat cool in hot weather.
One of the most important tips for cats in summer is to make sure they have plenty of water. Just like other animals, cats are more likely to get dehydrated during the summer. Because so many cats like to go out and explore the neighborhood, you need to have fresh water for them to drink when they do decide to come home.
During the summer, you might want to consider keeping a second or even third water bowl for your cat. Leaving a bowl of water outside in addition to the water bowl inside will help your cat stay hydrated whether they're inside or not. Remember to change this water every once in a while, as cats don't like drinking out of a dirty water bowl.
If you’re feeding kibble, and notice your cat doesn’t drink much water you might want to switch over to a wet food recipe, which can help add moisture into your cat’s diet.
Food is another thing you have to be mindful of during the summer when it comes to caring for your cat. It's not that your cat needs more food during the summer, but the fact that food spoils so much more quickly in the summer. This is especially true with wet food because the moisture can encourage bacteria growth.
The best thing you can do in terms of food safety is avoid putting cat food in direct sunlight. Warm temperatures also promote the growth of bacteria, so try to keep cat food in a cool place.
You can also give your cats frozen treats to help prevent hunger and keep them cool during the summer. There are lots of great recipes for homemade popsicles for cats online.
Preparing Your Home
As far as your home goes, there are a handful of things you can do to keep your cat comfortable. While cats love to lounge around in warm spots, the summer heat can be too much for them.
Keep your kitty cool with these tips
- Make sure you're keeping your house cool by closing curtains and blinds in the morning, as well as keeping a fan or two running throughout the day.
- If you have air conditioning, set a timer for your AC to make sure your home stays cool. If not, you can place ice in front of a fan for a cooling effect, or simply place a frozen water bottle near your cat's favorite spot.
- It's also important to groom your cat during the summer because matted fur can lead to overheating. Your cat may even like having a cool, damp towel placed over them.
Look Out for Heatstroke
Cats generally do a great job of dealing with heat, but summer temperatures can make it difficult for cats to cool down. As is the case with yourself, you need to watch out for signs of heatstroke in your cat during the summer. The first sign that your cat is too hot is panting; if your cat is breathing loudly with its mouth open, that could be a sign of heatstroke.
You may also notice your cat's paws sweating, or that your cat is over-grooming to try to stay cool. If you suspect your cat may be suffering from heatstroke, it's important to call your vet right away to get them cooled down and properly hydrated.
Outdoor Cats & Strays
One of the toughest parts about cat care during the summer is dealing with outside cats and strays. It's a lot easier to keep a cat cool and hydrated indoors, especially since you can keep an eye on them. For outdoor cats, it's important that you create a shady area where they can cool down and relax. Your cat may feel as much as 10 to 15 degrees cooler in the shade than the sunlight.
Water is also important for outdoor cats and strays. Make sure you keep a bowl or two of cool, clean water in any shady spots you create for your cats. Try to care for any stray cats that may be in your area by leaving them food and water as well, in addition to calling local shelters to try to find a home for the cat.
Just because cats love warmth doesn't mean they can handle the extreme temperatures that come with summer. Keeping your cat cool and hydrated during the summer is important, as well as making sure they have clean food and water. As long as you follow these tips for cats in summer, you can keep your feline friends happy and healthy all summer long.