10 Ways to Help Your Cat Beat the Summer Heat
When the days get long and hot, you can strip down to shorts and a tank top, but your cat has to wear a fur coat all year long. So what can you do to keep your feline friend comfortable during the summer? Here are 10 of my favorite tips.
1. Ice Ice Baby
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. Ice Ice Baby, Part 2
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, and the air passing under her bed will help to keep her cool.
4. Number One 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. For extra cooling power, put one of those frozen water bottles in front of the fan.
5. Shave and a Haircut
If your cat has long fur, consider getting her a lion cut to help ease her suffering on those hot summer days. But be careful: White and light-colored cats also have very pale skin and can be subject to sunburn.
Talk to your vet about whether giving your feline friend a shave could help her beat the heat. Another option is to have only her tummy shaved: that way, she can get sun protection and cooling.
6. Do the Dew
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.
7. Call It 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.
8. You May Be Gellin', But Your Cat Shouldn't Be
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.
9. Postpone the Playing
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.
10. And, of Course, Never, But Never, Leave Your Cat in Your Car
... not even for a quick errand. A closed car can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees in a frighteningly short time.
If your cat starts panting, drooling, or having trouble breathing, or seems to be losing consciousness, get to your vet or the nearest emergency clinic right away. These are symptoms of heatstroke, and if left untreated, your cat could suffer from kidney damage, heart dysfunction, or other potentially fatal problems.