When the heat arrives, cats can not only feel hot and bothered – they are at more risk of potentially fatal heatstroke. Keeping feline temperatures as low as possible during the balmy summer months is vital, so here are our top tips for cool cats...
Make up some ice lollies for your cat with some of their favourite treats. Freeze some tuna brine (see our own recipe below) or some low-salt chicken stock for an icy snack that will keep them entertained and cool.
Play with ice cubes
For humans, they might make a cooling addition to a drink – but for cats, ice cubes can provide a whole world of fun. Pop them on a hard floor and watch your curious cat push them around the room and pounce. As well as cooling down their paws, where cats absorb and lose heat, it provides enrichment on days when it’s best to keep your cat indoors and out of the heat.
Cooling mats and ice packs in beds
There are a wide range of cooling mats for pets available to buy, but placing freezer blocks or pads, or even a pack of frozen vegetables, well wrapped in a blanket in your cat’s favourite spot will have a similar effect.
Most cats hate getting wet, so they’re unlikely to want to take a dip in any water to cool off. But wet a small towel in cold water and dab over your cat’s fur, or just stroke cat with wet hands, to bring some relief from hot weather.
Keep on top of grooming
Excess fur on cats traps heat, so daily grooming during heatwaves to get rid of dead hair will make your cat feel a little more comfortable. You may also notice that your cat is grooming itself more than normal, too. This is nothing to worry about – it’s their very own way to beat the heat as when the saliva evaporates off the fur, it will cool them down.
How to keep your cat safe in the sun
- Always keep a plentiful supply of fresh, cool water in easy reach for your cat – this might require you placing a bowl in a few places around the house and in the garden
- Cats can get sunburnt, particularly pale-coloured ones, with ears, noses and areas with sparse fur especially susceptible. Use sunblock suitable for pets if they’re lying outside in the sun or keep them indoors when the sun is at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm.
- Provide shade and avoid any stress
- Seek prompt veterinary advice if your cat’s skin looks sore, crusty or scaly.
- REMEMBER! Watch your pet for signs of over-heating, including heavy panting and loss of energy. If you recognise these signs, encourage your cat to have a drink.
- If your cat continues to be agitated, breathing rapidly, has skin hot to the touch or is drooling or vomiting, this could be heatstroke – contact your vet immediately. Be particularly attentive to elderly or overweight cats.
- Be careful your cat doesn’t get shut into hot rooms with no ventilation (eg greenhouses). Even if they have chosen to go in there, it’s worth checking them regularly and getting them out if they seem lethargic or confused.