Cats may be very independent creatures, but they don’t know everything. They need your help and love to stay healthy and safe. During the summer’s heat they can be very susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration if you don’t stay alert. Here are some tips for keeping your cat cool during these hot days.
- Keeping your cat calm is the first thing you must do. Too much activity or agitation on a hot day can be detrimental. Make sure you keep them inside in a cooled space without direct sun pouring in.
- Make sure your cat always has access to drinking water. Not too cold, or they will avoid drinking.
- If your cat goes outside, be sure that there are some areas of shade where there might also be a breeze. And keep your cat out of outdoor buildings like sheds or garages, which easily overheat. Always know where your cat is, if he or she is an outdoor cat, and ensure they are okay.
- Cats are often very smart when it comes to finding comfortable places to rest. In the summers they might gravitate to tile floors, sinks and bathtubs, and cool countertops. Let them choose their own place to relax.
- If your cat gets overheated, you can use a mixture of water and rubbing alcohol to spray her paw pads and their ears, which will circulate cooler blood through their body. Dampen towels with cold water and pat down their head and back, under the arms, and on her belly. These are often the first places to get heated. You might even put a damp towel in the freezer and when it gets cold, put it out for your cat as an alternative place to lay her body. Allow her to choose it or not. Don’t force her there.
- If you must travel with your cat, for any reason, absolutely never leave them in a vehicle when it is hot. Drive with the air conditioning on or the windows open, and keep the cat’s carrier’s airways free. It’s a good idea to put an ice-pack into the carrier with your cat for temperature control. Park in the shade. If you notice signs of heatstroke – symptoms include distress, heavy panting and excessive stretching, vomiting, glazed eyes, drooling – get your cat to a vet immediately. She could die if you don’t get her treated. Meantime, as you are getting to the vet, make sure the cat’s environment is cool, you might spray cool water on her or wrap her head and body in wet towels – keeping the nose and mouth free. Never submerge her in water and never try to feed her water if she is unconscious.
Our feline companions are our family and they deserve the same care that other family members receive. Knowing what to do during the heat of summer is critical to keeping your cats safe. Staying alert to signs of overheating, heatstroke, and dehydration, is the best way you can help your cat stay alive and well.