With summer fast approaching, can be really tough on our feline friends, now’s the time to be making sure your pets are as comfortable as possible in the heat. Cats don’t have sweat glands like humans do, so they rely heavily on their fur to stay cool during the summer heat. Cats, unlike other pets, are independent and can take care of themselves in most situations; however, they still need help keeping cool in the summer heat! Here are some tips and tricks to keep your cat cool and happy this summer.
Create an outdoor spot
To create a safe place for your cat to take refuge from scorching temperatures, you’ll need somewhere he can escape both heat and sun, so creating an outdoor spot is imperative. Start by identifying a shaded area with access to fresh water, like underneath a tree or on top of some patio furniture. Then you should bring out an air-conditioned room on wheels—yes, that would be his favorite cardboard box—and fill it with blankets or towels for him to hide under.
Giving them extra shade
It’s important to give your cats plenty of access to shade during hot weather. Not only does it prevent them from getting sunburned, but it also lowers their core body temperature. Try planting some trees or shrubs around your property; make sure they have tall enough canopies that you can easily sit under them comfortably. If you don’t want plants, or they’re not feasible for whatever reason, make sure you provide a shady area for cats.
Keep an eye on them
Just like you don’t want to spend a hot day outside with nothing more than a T-shirt and shorts, neither do your pets. Dress them accordingly. Check with their vet if they have special needs; some breeds (like long-haired cats) are especially sensitive to extreme temperatures. And monitor their activity levels—cats will naturally slow down during really hot spells. They’ll also want frequent sips of water, so make sure there’s plenty available for them throughout the day. For indoor kitties, consider putting a fan or air conditioner near their favorite lounging spot. If you can afford it, investing in an automatic misting system is a great way to keep both pet and home comfort.
Offering a shady place indoors
Cats need places to get out of direct sunlight, like a window ledge or tree perch where they can lie and sleep. If you don’t have these, try getting your kitty a small tent or shelter that will allow them to escape from strong rays while they nap. Placing one next to an air conditioner could also be a solution—the cooler air will entice them over. And if you’re looking for ways to help your pet stay hydrated on hot days, try filling their water bowl with ice cubes! This will help keep it nice and cold for longer.
Ensure they have plenty of water
Fluid intake is important for regulating body temperature, and cats have a higher risk of dehydration than dogs. To ensure your pet stays well hydrated, leave plenty of water out for them—and don’t forget to refill it when it runs low. If you know your cat isn’t a big fan of lapping water from a bowl, try getting them used to drinking from running water by filling their food bowl with fresh tap water and then topping it up throughout the day. You can also buy a special pet fountain that aerates the water and encourages cats to drink more. In extreme temperatures, make sure they have access to shade: Cats are naturally drawn towards sun-warmed surfaces so if you want to protect them from overheating, provide an area where they can rest away from direct sunlight during peak temperatures. Keep an eye on your cat: During hot weather, monitor your cat's behavior closely for signs of distress or exhaustion. If they appear lethargic or start panting heavily after playing outside or being exposed to warm conditions indoors, seek veterinary attention immediately as heatstroke could be developing.
Spray him with water
Water carries away excess body heat and helps lower body temperature. If you don’t have a hose, fill up a bucket or pitcher of water and let him drink it. Cat lovers say if you do not like seeing a wet kitty, place ice cubes on his paws.
Consider having air-conditioning installed
If you own a cat, but can’t afford or don’t want an air-conditioner for yourself, consider getting one for Fluffy. Having an air-conditioner will keep him comfortable and make it easier for you to relax, too. Just be sure that he can’t get into a vent because cats have been known to die from getting stuck and overheating after crawling inside of them.
Cool down his litter box area
A small fan pointed at his litter box is a great way to save electricity while still keeping kitty comfortable. Simply place it on top of a dresser or chest that’s near where he likes to dig and scoop. You can also purchase a stand-alone air conditioner. Look for one with an auto-off feature so you don’t have to worry about it running all day, every day (which could get pricey). If you live in an apartment building, check with management first before installing anything. They may have rules against cooling devices in common areas.
Give him ice water
Many people are inclined to leave water out for their pets in hot weather. While cats can drink from running water, they’re probably less likely to drink ice-cold water. Instead, try leaving a bowl of tap water and placing it in a freezer before you go to bed at night. When you wake up, you’ll have a block of ice with fresh, cold water just for your cat!