During the summer heat, you can strip down to shorts and a tank top, but your cat has to wear a fur coat all year long. This can easily become a health issue. So how do you keep cats cool in summer heat? Here are 10 of my favorite tips:
1. Cool Your Cat Down with Ice
If you’re going to be away all day and you know it’s going to get warm in the afternoon, drop three or four cubes into kitty’s water bowl before you head out.
2. Keep Your Cat Cool with Some Homemade Air-Conditioning
Fill a small soda bottle with cold water and leave it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap the bottle in a towel and put it in your cat’s favorite lounging spot. If she gets overheated, she’ll appreciate the kitty cooling room. Don’t fill the bottle to the top: Water expands when it freezes, and you could have a mess on your hands if you don’t leave some air space.
3. Elevate the Bed
Cloth-covered plastic frames with short legs will allow your cat to sleep in comfort during hot weather, and the air passing under her bed will help to keep her cool.
4. Give Your Cat a Fan
Get a small box fan and set it on the floor near your air conditioner or an open window. If your kitty gets too hot, she’ll appreciate the breeze blowing through her fur to keep her cool. For extra cooling power during summer heat, put one of those frozen water bottles in front of the fan.
5. Pet Your Cat with a Wet Cloth
Take a damp washcloth or paper towel and stroke your cat with it. Most cats don’t mind a little bit of moisture on their fur, especially when they notice how it can cool them off. In fact, one of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming, which is nothing more than wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.
6. Close the Curtains
Close the curtains or blinds in your south- or west-facing windows. Not only will it keep your kitty cooler, it’ll save you money on your a/c bills as well.
7. Avoid Cooling Gel Packs
Although gel cold packs are made with ingredients that are considered nontoxic for humans, the gel could be harmful to your cat if she happens to poke a hole in the plastic with her claw and ingest it.
8. Postpone Playtime with Your Cat
Even if your cat loves a rousing game of Chase the Mousie, it’s best to wait until the end of the day, when it’s cooler. Cats can get overheated pretty quickly by strenuous exercise on hot days.
9. Never, Never, Never Leave Your Cat in Your Car
Not even for a quick errand. A closed car can reach temperatures well over 30 degrees in a frighteningly short time.
If your cat starts panting, drooling, or having trouble breathing, or she seems to be losing consciousness, contact us at Parkgate Animal Hospital (604-929-1863) immediately. These are symptoms of heatstroke, and if left untreated, your cat could suffer from kidney damage, heart dysfunction, or other potentially fatal problems.