With summer fast approaching, it’s important to keep in mind how heat affects your cat. Heat stroke can leave you with a huge vet bill, or worse, it can be deadly. Cat’s have very few sweat glands, mainly in their paws, so must find other ways to cool themselves down. Here are our top tips for keeping your cat cool this summer, even if you don’t have AC.
1. Keep fresh water available at all times.
This may seem like an obvious one, but you would be surprised at how many people don’t change their pet’s water daily. Just like you, cats don’t like drinking stale water, so even if they’re getting overheated, they may leave their water dish alone. If your cat is super picky, or your concerned that the water will warm up if you’re gone during the day, dry getting a cat drinking fountain. There are lots of different options available, but we really like AquaPurr’s Sensor Fountain. It attaches to your sink and water flow is triggered by a sensor so the water isn’t running all day, but your cat has access to fresh, clean water at all times.
2. Create a cool, dark hideaway for your cat.
Something as simple as a cardboard box turned on it’s side can be hugely beneficial as it offers your cat a cooler place to relax. Place it behind a chair or under a table where it will be out of direct sunlight coming in through the windows. Placing it on tile or hardwood floors is best if possible. You can place a towel over top with a lighter, more breathable fabric inside.
3. Limit their exercise to “cool activities” only.
Exercise is important for cats, but it can also increase their body temperature. During the warmer months, try introducing your cat to activities that will give them stimulation, but also help keep them cool. Ice cubes are real lifesavers in the heat. You can add treats to them or make them with broth so your cat has a slippery toy as well as a tasty treat! You can also freeze some canned food and give that to them. Check out our recipe for frozen tuna treats!
4. Close your blinds or curtains and keep your cat inside during the warmest parts of the day.
Closing the blinds or curtains keeps sunlight from coming in the windows and warming up your house. Cats are known for laying in beams of sunlight, but when it’s hot out, this can be dangerous. You don’t need to close all of them, but definitely ones on the side of the house where the sun is shining. If your cat has access to the outdoors, try keeping them inside during the hottest part of the day, usually between noon and 4pm. This will keep them out of direct sunlight and give them a chance to cool their body temperature down if they’ve been out hunting or playing with other cats.
5. Brush your cat’s coat daily.
This is especially important for cats with longer coats. Not only can mats be painful, but they trap body heat. A good brush everyday can prevent mats and remove excess hair and debris (which can also make your cat warmer). This is also a good habit to get into even in the cooler months as it helps strengthen your bond with your kitty.
6. Consider getting a cooling mat.
Pet cooling mats are filled with a self-cooling gel that helps regulate your cat’s body temperature. It’s a great option, especially if your house is carpeted. Add this to their hideaway and your cat will have the purr-fect retreat!
7. Keep the air circulating.
Even if you don’t have AC, it’s important to make sure there’s air flow in your house. Opening windows and turning on fans can create a cross breeze, cooling the entire space down.
Keep an eye out for dehydration and heat stroke. Check out the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ article on Heat Stroke effects in cats.