If you’re overheating in the summer weather there’s a good chance your feline friend is too! While cats originally came from the desert that doesn’t mean they are still used to the scorching hot temperatures that come with desert living. Cats have a comfortable temperature range somewhere between X and Y degrees. The fluffier your cat is the more likely they’ll start getting uncomfortable in the hot weather. Just like us humans your cat get into pretty serious danger if they get too hot, they can suffer from anything as simple as dehydration all the way to organ failure. So what are we humans to do?
While the obvious answer is keep them cool it might not be so simple to keep your cat cool. Some of us have the benefit of an air conditioned household there are plenty of folks out there who don’t have AC or who have cats that might spend a good chunk of time outside where we can’t control the temperature one bit! Given this let’s talk a little bit about keeping your feline friend nice and cool in the hot weather!
The Most Common Options:
Air Conditioning: The most likely solution is to leave your AC at a workable temperature for your cat(s) during the day. That being said, running AC is expensive and it is incredibly wasteful to run it for an entire house if your cat is the only one home. If this isn’t a good option for you there are plenty of other ways to help keep your furball cool on the hot summer days.
Ice: While it may seem obvious, do your best to drop a few ice cubes in your cats bowl at the begging of the day. If you’re using a water fountain for your cat you can just as easily drop the ice cubes into the reservoir of the fountain. It shouldn’t cause any problem for the pump if there’s sufficient water to ensure the cubes stay high up over the intake. The Catit Water Fountain is perfect for this because the pump draws water in from the side where the cubes will never sit.
Fans: A great option that uses up a heck of a lot electricity than AC and will help keep your cat cool. Not only can you place a fan so it circulates air in your cat’s favorite resting places, but you can also place them in open windows to keep air moving. If you do decide to use the windows be sure to place fans so that the fans creating a draft throughout the house to help keep things cool.
The Basement: If you’re fortunate enough to have a basement it can be a huge perk in the summer months. Leave your basement door open for your cat to go relax in the coolest part of the house! If you don’t normally let your cat down in the basement be sure to check for any potential hazards (chemicals or tools that might be out and about) and be sure the space is safe for your cat first.
Window Shades: Your house acts just like a car in the sun, just on a much larger scale. The longer the sun shines through your windows the more it heats up throughout the day. Be sure to close the shades on your windows before you leave for the day to help keep the amount of sunlight down.
Hands On Approaches:
Cool Damp Towels: If you’re home and you know your cat is hot you can also cool down a wash cloth or towel with cold water from the sink (few free to drop a few ice cubes in as well) and then give your cat a quick rub down. Note your towel will likely come away covered in cat hair so be sure not to use your wife’s guest towels, but it should also help cool your furball down a bit.
Grooming: First off, definitely don’t fully shave your cat. It is dangerous for their skin because it exposes them to sunburn. That being said a constant grooming schedule including a good brushing helps remove some of the extra loose fur on their body. This is especially true for long haired cats that can develop lots of extra fluff and need more brushing help. Not only is this good for minimizing hairballs, but it’ll help cool them off too.
A Cool Bath: We all know that most cats don’t particularly love baths (those of you with cats that love them have a leg up here), but a cool bath can also be a nice respite from the heat. You can use room temperature tap water (usually a lot cooler than the air) to help give your cat a nice break. Definitely don’t add ice to the water and be sure to help dry your cat off a bit after! If you have never bathed a cat before be sure to check out this great how to guide from WikiHow.
A Catsicle: You can create a catsicle (cat popsicle) per this awesome guide from Catster. While I haven’t tasted one of these myself they sound like they’d probably be a wonderful treat for a furry cat on a hot day!
The High Tech Approach:
Cooling Cat Pads: If you’re wondering how to keep your cat cool in the summer, but you want to do it the high tech way then look no further. You know how there are car seats that keep your butt cool now? Picture the same for a cat. These don’t work in quite the same way because they aren’t electrical, but these cooling pads are pretty slick and they’re totally safe for your cat. This is one of the best ones out there (even though it has a picture of a dog it is for cats too!). These pads work based on the laws of nature and will keep your cat cool for a few hours at a time before requiring a ‘break’ to work again.
Outdoor Cats Need Support Too:
Shade: Providing shade should be priority number one for your cat if they’re an outdoor cat. Ensuring there are safe cool places should be pretty easy as most plants and trees provide great starting points. If you have a garden you can also consider some of the bigger plants I mention that are safe for cats in this article. Particulars include things like squashes & pumpkins because they develop huge leafy coverage your cat can hide under on a sunny day.
Fresh Water: Always be sure your cat has access to a fresh and clean water supply. Dropping ice cubes in the water outside can be just as helpful as it is to your indoor kitty.
A few other items worth noting:
While all of the above are great options there are a few other things you’ll want to consider when thinking about how to keep your cat cool in the summer. I’ve outlined a few additional items below worth keeping in mind:
- Ice Packs: A handmade ice pack made out of a water bottle or a bag filled with ice cubes can definitely be placed in your cats favorite place to sleep to help keep them cool. That being said you’ll want to be careful of using any of the ice packs that have chemicals or gels inside of them unless your cat is supervised the whole time or unless it is specifically noted as non-toxic. If your kitty decides to get mischievous and break them open they could easily end up very sick.
- Play Time: If your cat has play time on a daily basis be sure to shift that play time to a later cooler part of the day. If your cat gets amped up and exercises a bunch when they are already really hot they’re more likely to get dehydrated and get themselves into trouble.
- Cars: If you do so have to travel in the summer heat be sure to never leave your cat in a parked car alone. If you need to leave the car then take your cat with you. Just like kids and dogs, plants even, cats left in a parked car in the sun will quickly become incredibly hot and could die if left alone. NEVER leave your cat in a parked car alone.
- Hire Some Help: You can always hire a guy with one of those big leafs to constantly fan your cat. Given most cats believe they are king or queen of the household this might make your cat feel like they’ve finally arrived while also staying cool as a cucumber.
Let’s wrap things up!
While cats may have come from the desert historically, our resident house cats aren’t built to handle desert temperatures! We need to keep an eye out for their best interest as well as we can. Here’s a quick list of signs you should keep an eye out for on hot summer days. If you see any of these signs definitely do your best to get your cat to your vet straight away:
- Breathing trouble
The above are all signs that your kitty might be suffering from a heatstroke which can cause significant long term damage. Err on the side of safety if you’re not sure and give your vet a call!
If you have any other novel ideas or thoughts on how to keep your cat cool in the summer days please do share them below or email me directly at Craig@StuffCatsWant.com so I can get them added to the list.