Image Source: (c)iStockPhoto/cbording
|While you might love a day spent in the gorgeous summer sun, chances are, your cat is far less enthusiastic about the prospect. More so than other pets, cats are ill equipped to deal with the heat and humidity that blankets most of the country throughout the summer months. Because of this, it’s important to exercise caution and common sense each and every time you take your cat outdoors, especially if it involves a trip in the car. Like young children, cats can suffer from issues in the heat such as dehydration, heat stroke, hyperthermia, and even sunburn, so it’s important to remember that even a few minutes of July sunshine might be a few minutes too much.|
Protect Your Pet – Summertime Cat Care
One of the easiest solutions to protect your feline from harm is to make your cat an indoor cat once the temperature starts to soar. If your pet is used to coming and going as they please, they may have some problems adjusting to the new constraints being placed upon them. The animal even may begin acting out inappropriately, believing they’re being punished for something by being confined to the home. However, despite any behavior issues or inconvenience it might cause, it’s for the best for your pet to spend the long summer days in the cool comfort of your home. Air conditioned environments are relatively comfortable for all breeds, and most cats can have the luxury of lounging in the sun or by the window without being exposed to the potential for injury that accompanies a trip outdoors.
You can ease the transition by taking your cat out for walks early in the day, or in the evening, as the sun is setting. If you have a fenced-in yard or an area where your cat typically spends their outdoor time, you may want to consider allowing them to spend the nights outdoors, and simply bringing them inside once the sun comes up for the day. While the adjustment may not go over smoothly at first, it will help shield your cat from harm, and eventually, they will adjust to the new circumstances.
When you do take your cat for a walk, be sure to take the extra precaution of applying sunscreen as cats can burn easily, particularly if they have a white coat. Even when the sun is not at its most intense during the day, it is best to invest in an extra layer of protection as a precaution.
Even indoors, it’s easy for a cat to overheat during the hottest part of the day. You can make the days a little more tolerable for them by closing a majority of the blinds in the home to cool down the area, and by keeping the sunroom off-limits. Since dehydration is one of the most important worries when it comes to keeping your cat staying happy and healthy throughout the summer, make sure there is more than one water bowl located in your home or apartment and that your cat has enough water to stay hydrated when you’re gone for extended periods of time.
If you choose to leave the air condition off during the day or don’t have an air condition, make sure the blinds are closed and the fans left on in the home in order to keep the space comfortable enough for your cat. Also, if you have a window that’s typically left open, it’s best to cover it with a screen or close it entirely during the heat of the day.
Some pet owners find their cats enjoy a water bottle taken out of the freezer and wrapped in a towel placed near the cat’s favorite sleeping or resting spot. Many cats will curl their bodies around it, finding it an effective way to cool down. Similarly, adding ice cubes to the cat’s water bowl will keep the water colder and more enjoyable for a longer period of time.
If it can be avoided, simply don’t take your cat in the car during summer afternoons. Even though the car’s air condition has to work overtime to keep the vehicle comfortable for you, it may be more difficult and less effective to cool down your pet. Pets are often stored in a carrier and may be exposed to the sun through the car’s windows.
If going out is unavoidable, make sure your cat has plenty of water for the trip, and under no circumstances should you leave the cat in the car unattended, even with the windows open. During the summer months, it can only take a few minutes for your cat to perish due to heat stroke and hyperthermia, tragedies that are all too common and all too avoidable. Even a few minutes is simply too long, and whatever quick errand you’re stopping to perform isn’t worth risking your pet’s life to accomplish.
Make sure your cat is also outfitted with the proper ID tags during these months. Although it is recommended for your cat to stay indoors where it’s nice and cool, it’s also understandable that they will be spending more time outdoors during this time. As a result, it is possible that the cat will go missing. It is incredibly important that your cat has an ID tag so that they can be returned to the rightful owner in the unfortunate event that they do become lost. PetHub’s digital pet ID tags are a great idea for tags because it offers multiple ways for a Good Samaritan to bring your pet home. All tags have a unique QR code and URL that links to an online pet profile with all of the information necessary to get in touch with the owner. For those who aren’t tech savvy, there’s a 24/7 free toll free call center that also has access to the owner’s information.
Caring for your cat during the summer months is simply a matter of common sense and putting safety above convenience, regardless of the situation. Keep in mind that if something would be too warm to be comfortable for you, your cat will find it twice as unpleasant.