Summer is here and it is the perfect time to learn some quick tips to help make life as safe and comfortable as possible for our feline friends. When the heat hits, dehydration and heatstroke are both very serious dangers that arise.
If you have an indoor-only cat, remember they also love to explore outdoors. You can take your cat outside during summer to enjoy the sunshine, just be sure to let your cat roam in an enclosed area to remove the risk of her darting off unexpectedly, tall fences are no guarantee to keep them contained. Another option is to use a harness and lead, this may take a little training for your kitty to get used to, but it is a way to ensure she stays safe. If you take your cat on regular walks, be sure to do this during the cooler hours during summer.
Monitor Indoor Environment
Give your kitty access to the cooler rooms in your home, tiled rooms are especially a good idea. Never keep your cat confined to a very hot room, lounge/sunroom. Ensure your home has proper air circulation, if you do not have air-conditioning, you can use fans. If you live in an apartment, bring in some air by leaving the windows open, and check that your screens on the windows are secure.
Do not leave your cat inside a car at any time, no matter how briefly you think you will be gone. In particular during the summer months, heat-related deaths of animals left in hot cars is overwhelming. Even with the windows left open and the car parked in the shade it only takes minutes for the temperature inside the car to soar. This can easily result in overheating, which can develop into heatstroke which is life threatening. Cats who are confined in carriers in a warm/hot environment are also at risk of heatstroke.
Access to Water
If your cat spends time outdoors, they are likely to become dehydrated very quickly, so make sure there is always access to cool, fresh water at all times. Place the water bowl in a shady area to reduce the evaporation and to help keep the water temperature low. Keep up the hygiene by washing the bowl daily and making frequent checks to ensure the water level stays high, as other outdoor animals may also be using that water you have provided. Indoors, keep a few full bowls scattered around the home.
Protect your cat from poisons, if you use rodent poisons, lawn insecticides etc., keep in mind that your cat may come in contact with them. Read labels before purchasing products and be sure to follow instructions carefully, they will generally state how long after application it will be safe for your pet to be in the treated area, or if it is to be completely avoided altogether.
Keep in mind while feeding your cat in summer, food will spoil more rapidly in the heat and become more susceptible to contamination from insects. Providing a food bowl with a ring around it to place water in, will keep ants at bay.
Summer brings along an increased danger of bushfires. It is imperative to have an emergency plan if you live in a risky area. Always have a carrier at the ready with a bag of litter, food and water dish.
Cats are at risk of getting sunburnt, just as we are. The most vulnerable areas are the tips of the ears and the nose, especially those with light fur in those spots. If you allow your cat outdoors, always be sure she has access to adequate shade and if she is fair skinned, apply sunscreen to her nose and ears. On hot days keep your cat indoors!
Fleas and Ticks
Summer means flea season, even though they are a problem throughout the year, they are especially active during the summer months. Ensure you use a quality flea control product on your cat such as Advantage or Frontline Plus, and remember to treat your home as well. Ticks are very dangerous, it is important to check your cat thoroughly, as tick-related deaths are all too common when your cat is left untreated. Please talk to your local Just For Pets store for recommendations for prevention in your area.
Keeping Your Cat Cool:
If you have an obese or elderly cat in your home, it is important to remember they are much less tolerant of the heat and it is essential that you ensure they are kept comfortably cool.
Fill a hot water bottle with cold tap water for your cat to lie on.
Put ice cubes in her water bowl.
Cool down towels in the freezer (not wet) and then place in your cat’s bed to lie on.
Check her paws often, as tar from hot pavement can become embedded between the pads.
Other things to consider in summer are:
Clear your yard of plants that are poisonous to cats.
Keep vaccinations current. Wildlife are very active in the summer, and bites can be dangerous for your cat. If your cat is bitten, consult your veterinarian immediately.
Give your cat a collar and tags with your phone number in case she likes to explore too far from home.
If you keep your cat indoors, plant a cat garden by growing cat grass and catnip indoors in pots. Your cat will love to munch on fresh cat grass.
If you are finding the outdoor temperature uncomfortable yourself, you can bet your pet is also.
Enjoy the summer, but keep your cats safety in mind. Following these tips will help your feline friend to have a comfortable summer too.