Make sure your cats stay cool in the summer heat!
Wait a minute – are we talking about the same creatures who reach near-spontaneous-combustion temperatures when they bask in a sunny spot next to a window or in front of the fireplace in the winter? YES! Even though our floofy fluffballs love warmth, hot weather is something that can be very dangerous for cats. When cats enjoy a sunny spot or relax in front of a fireplace, generally only one side of them receives the heat, and they can move whenever they want. However, in weather-related heat-waves, the entire body of the cat is immersed in warmth and sometimes it’s not so easy to escape the heat. How can you help? Here are some ideas:
- Know the signs of heat stroke. If you see your cat panting, drooling, being excessively lethargic or if she has a fever or collapses, get her to the vet right away. Heat stroke is no joke – it can cause permanent organ damage or death.
- Provide cool spots, indoors and out. If you have outdoor cats, make sure they have access to a shady spot no matter where the sun is. Indoor cats will appreciate access to rooms with tile or concrete flooring that they can sprawl out on and cool off.
- Water, water, water! Make sure your cats have access to fresh, clean, cool water at all times. Refresh several times a day if your water bowls are outside or if you do not have air conditioning. For a little bit of fun you can put ice-cubes in the water that will keep it cool, and provide a little play-time enrichment!
- Catsicles for everyone! You can give your cats ice cubes with treats in them (like catnip, or freeze tuna water in cubes), or you can make a wet-food catsicle. Check out PetFinder’s recipe here.
- Keep the air flowing. Air conditioning is great, but if you don’t have AC, make sure to keep a fan blowing in your cat’s favorite area. In the evenings, open up the windows to get cool, fresh air inside (but check the screens first to make sure they won’t pop out of the window!).
- Play and exercise during cooler hours. Don’t play with your cat during the heat of the day – exercise can happen in the morning or evening when it’s cooler. Or, if it’s super hot and the temperatures aren’t going down at night, wait until another day. It’s ok to miss a day of rigorous exercise!
Stay cool, everyone – I hope you are having a fun summer and that your furry family members are enjoying the season as well.
Dr. Marci Koski is a certified Feline Training and Behavior Specialist whose mission is to keep cats in homes and out of shelters. If you are having problems with your cat's behavior, visit Marci's website at www.felinebehaviorsolutions.com. Marci also volunteers with Furry Friends, a no-kill cat rescue organization in Vancouver, WA. You can learn more about Furry Friends at their website, www.furryfriendswa.org.