With a record-breaking heatwave on its way to the UK, you might be concerned about your pet.
Although there's much information online for keeping your dog safe in summer - I haven't seen enough advice for cat owners.
A common response I've heard for this is, "cats are more tolerable to heat than dogs."
Although evidence suggests this is true, cats are still susceptible to heatstroke, dehydration, and skin cancer from over-exposure to the sun.
I recently spotted an article - Summer Heat is No Problem for a Cat - this concerned me.
Cat owners shouldn't be discouraged from taking precautions during the summer months just because all cats have been generalised as the same.
The following factors play a huge role in determining how well your cat can cope with extreme temperatures.
- Fur type
- Existing health conditions
Whether you have an indoor or an outdoor cat – the following tips should help keep your feline friends happy and safe during the great British heatwave.
#1 Keep Your Home Cool ❄️
Let's be honest - Brits are terrible at dealing with temperatures above 20°C - most of us aren't built for the heat, and the same goes for our infrastructure.
Our buildings are made to retain heat, so our houses are often too hot to handle when temperatures increase.
Taking proactive measures to ensure your home is cool and temperature regulated is essential to your cats' well-being during the summer months.
Creating spaces for your cat to keep cool and understanding their needs will keep them safe and give you peace of mind.
Here's some advice for when it gets too hot in your home.
🌬 Use fans - placing fans around your home will provide consistent airflow. Remember not to point the fan directly at your cat.
💩 Move their water bowl - ensuring your cat drinks plenty of water can depend on where their bowl is placed. Cats don't like drinking where they eat or do their business, so put their bowl in another accessible area away from their food bowl and litter tray.
🥛 Use ceramic or glass only - the material of your cat's water bowl is an important factor in ensuring they stay hydrated. Use ceramic or glass bowls to keep the water cool. Plastic bowls taint the water when they get warm, which can be off-putting.
🐟 Add water to their food – try adding a dash of water to your cat's wet food if it isn't fond of its water bowl. This works a treat with my cats!
⛲️ Invest in a drinking fountain - most cats prefer to drink from running water, so if you're struggling to get your cat to drink from their bowl – a drinking fountain may be a good investment.
🥶 Freeze a water bottle - to provide a cool spot for your cat to rest; you can freeze a water bottle and wrap it in a towel to place in their bed. Don't place the frozen bottle anywhere without covering it first, and always provide a space for them to relax without the bottle.
🙈 Provide shade - your cat may look like it's enjoying basking under a window, but keeping them in the shade is safer when the temperature is high. Consider closing blinds in exceptionally bright or warm areas of your house.
#2 Going Outside 🌳
If your feline friends are like mine, they will do anything to get outside.
Keeping your cat indoors is not always easy, but the following tips should help keep them safe.
🌚 Create shaded areas - if you have a garden or outdoor space, ensure you provide plenty of shaded areas. If your garden lacks shade, you can create sheltered areas using cardboard boxes for your cat to retreat to.
🚰 Provide additional water bowls - my cat Jafar LOVES being outside during summer. He sometimes stays outdoors overnight when it's hot – this is quite common for cats in the summer. So, ensure you leave some water outdoors, too.
🥵 Avoid peak heat – When temperatures soar, it's advisable to keep cats indoors during the sun's peak hours, 10 am-3 pm. This is an absolute must for white cats with a higher risk of heatstroke and skin cancer due to their fair fur coverage.
🧴 Consider cat-safe sunscreen – this is an option rather than a requirement, but especially important for white cats that are more susceptible to sun damage. DO NOT use regular sun cream on cats – speak to your vet about your options.
#3 How to Tell If Your Cat Is Dehydrated ⚠️
Hopefully, you take the proper precautions to keep your cat well-hydrated and safe.
Still, unfortunately, incidents happen (sometimes out of our control).
😿 Poor skin elasticity - one key identifier of a dehydrated cat is the elasticity of its skin. If you gently pinch the skin on the back of the neck, it should snap back quickly. If this doesn't happen, your cat might be dehydrated.
👀 Sunken eyes - call your vet immediately if your cat's eyes look dry and sunken. Your cat is likely dehydrated.
👅 Dry or sticky gums - checking your cats' gums is the best way to determine their hydration level. Sticky gums indicate dehydration.
🐾 Cold paws - your cat's paws should be relative to its body temperature. If their paws feel cold, this should warrant a call to your vet.
Your Ultimate Cat Care Guide 📓
This information is crucial to your cat's safety and welfare - so lock it in your memory and bookmark this page as your go-to guide during the summer months.
Wishing you and your kitties a purrfectly safe summer.