Summer might just be our favorite season and we're probably not alone. It’s the best time of year for us to enjoy all sorts of fun outdoor activities. While cats tend to tolerate the heat a little better than dogs, and even prefer it (we’ve all seen a cat stretched out on a sunny windowsill), that doesn’t mean that you should forget about feline heat risks this summer!
1. Never leave your kitty in the car
This may apply more to the canines, but if you have a vet appointment for your furry feline and decide to make a quick stop at the supermarket-- think again! It can take minutes – yes, MINUTES – for a pet to develop heat stroke and suffocate in a car. Most people don’t realize how hot it gets in parked cars. On a 26 degree Celcius day, for instance, temperatures in a car can reach 32 degrees in the shade and top 71degrees if parked directly in the sun! Your best bet is to leave your pet home on warm days.
2. Keep your cat's water cool and fresh
Our cats get much thirstier than we do when they get hot, and other than drinking, they really have no way to cool themselves down, so be sure their water is always fresh. You can keep it cool by adding a couple of ice cubes as well.
3. Try whipping up some 'catsicles'!
Some what-sicles? CAT-sicles- popsicles for cats! Former Editor-in-Chief of Pet Health Network, Jane Harrell, came up with a great recipe to help her two longhaired cats beat the heat! What you'll need:
4. Make sure they have a cool place to sit
While indoor cats have plenty of shade options, they love to sunbathe and direct sunlight can overheat them and cause heat stroke. Another idea is to give them a cool place to sit, kind of like a reverse heating pad. Freeze a water bottle, wrap it up (so it doesn't stick to their hair/skin), and place it under a lightweight blanket or towel in one of their favorite places to sit.
5. Open up some windows
Knowing cats love windowsills, always make sure your screens are fully secured before opening a window. You may want your house to be ventilated, but you definitely do not want your kitty to fall out!
6. Believe it or not, cats can sunburn!
Just like for people, sunburns can be painful for a cat and overexposure to the sun can lead to skin cancer. Most cats have hair that protects them from sun damage. However, hairless cats, like the Sphynx, are highly susceptible to sunburns, especially in areas like the ears, nose, lips, eyelids and belly. Talk to your veterinarian about sunscreens for your kitty (don’t assume a sunscreen for people is appropriate for your cat).
If you have any questions or concerns, you can always visit or call us – we want to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Abbotsford Animal Hospital - Caring for Pets for People in York Region, Aurora, Newmarket, King City, Richmond Hill and the GTA.
Idexx Pet Health Network
Tori Houle, Lifestyle Contributor and Junior Editor