Alison Laurie-Chalmers, Senior Consultant, Crown Vets Inverness
Most cats love warm and sunny weather. With the summer slowly improving, here are some steps you can take to keep your cat safe and comfortable in the warm summer months.
Make sure your cat always has plenty of fresh water outdoors and in. Replacing their water with a fresh, cool supply several times a day can encourage your cat to drink. Placing multiple bowls around the house and garden will ensure that fresh water is always within easy reach. A cat water-fountain is also very useful.
Ensure that your cat has a few cool shady spots to find easily around the house and garden. Don't be surprised if you find your cat lying on the cooler tiles on the kitchen floor or in the bathroom in the warm summer months … or even in the bath!
Simply opening the windows to let in a breeze can help provide a cooler, healthier area for your cat to relax and rest in. You can also get a small box fan and set it on the floor or near an open window. In the summer heat your pet will appreciate the breeze blowing through their fur to keep them cool.
Elevate your cat’s bed. This will allow your cat to sleep in comfort during hot weather, and the air passing under the bed will also help to keep your cat cool.
Groom your cat often. A well-groomed, tangle-free coat will also help keep your cat cool. If your cat has a matted coat, consider professional clipping here to help keep them as comfortable as possible during the summer months.
White and light-coloured cats also have very pale skin and can be subject to sunburn, particularly on the skin on their ear tips or nose area. Cat-safe sun-blocks can be used topically to avoid UV damage which can lead to skin cancer lesions developing.
On a hot day take a dampened cloth and stroke and wipe down your cat's coat 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 themselves.
Fill a small drink 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 favourite lounging spot to keep them cool.
Always check any garden sheds and greenhouses before shutting and locking any doors. Cats can find their way inside if they are looking for a shady spot to cool down in, so always check first to avoid trapping them inside, as they could then quickly become dehydrated. The same goes for checking cars. If you leave your windows open to let the car cool down, always check that a cat hasn't crept inside before you lock the car or drive away.
Ensure that your cat is Microchipped, so that if it ends up locked in someone else's shed or wanders off, then you can both hopefully be reunited as quickly as possible.
Monitor for any signs of your cat overheating. Symptoms of heatstroke include: excessive panting; lethargy; drooling; fever; vomiting; collapse or unconsciousness.
If you are worried about your cat or suspect they are suffering from heatstroke, then please call your us immediately for assistance as severe heatstroke can be fatal.