The NZ summer is well and truly here. While you can just strip down to shorts and a tank, spare a thought for your cat who has to keep wearing her fluffy (overly cute) coat. Overheating in cats can be very dangerous and can result in heat strokes, dehydration and shock. Feline pawrents need to know how to cool a hot kitty. Check out our handy nine-step guide below to help you keep your furbaby cool and comfy this summer.
1. Provide plenty of fresh water
Cats can regulate their body temperature by staying hydrated. Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water. Replacing the water a few times a day and placing multiple bowls in different parts of the house and garden will encourage your cat to drink. You could also think of investing in a water fountain as some cats prefer to drink running water.
Pro tip: If you are going away for an extended period during the day and you know that it will get warm in the afternoon, drop a few ice cubes into your kitty’s water bowl before you go.
2. Encourage Cool Play
Ice cubes are a great way for cats to play and keep cool. Put a few on the floor so that your cat can swipe and chase them around. Consider flavouring the ice with some chicken broth to encourage interest. This is also a great way to get a cat to drink more water.
3. Keep your cat indoors
Keep your cat indoors to ensure that they stay out of the sun. Keeping your cat indoors also means that you can monitor their water intake and keep an eye out for signs of heat exhaustion.
4. Avoid Gel Cooling Pads, Use Elevated Beds instead
Although cooling pads are made from ingredients that are not toxic to animals, we’d recommend steering clear of them, unless you can be one hundred percent sure of the product’s safety. Invest in an elevated bed – cloth covered frame with short legs that elevates your cat a few centimeters above the ground and allows air to circulate under the cat.
5. Air Circulation & Shade
Your cat most likely already knows the coolest spots in the house. Try and make these spots even cooler by keeping the curtains or blinds shut when there is direct sunlight hitting the room. Leaving windows open can also cool down a room considerably. If you have an indoor cat who is home alone during the day, consider leaving a fan running in a central part of the house to ensure air movement. You could even make a makeshift air conditioner for kitty by placing a frozen water bottle in front of the fan.
Brush your cat daily. Grooming helps cool down your cat by getting rid of all the loose fur and tangles, allowing air to move more freely through the fur. Also consider getting a professional clipping to help your cat keep cool in the summer. Beware that white and light-coloured cats can get sunburnt. So speak to your vet before you decide to de-floof the beast.
7. Almost bath
Since most cats despise getting a bath, give your kitty a fake bath. Dampen a towel with cold water and gently stroke your cat with it. Cats get warmest on their tummies, ears, paw pads, armpits and under their chins. Try targeting these areas with the towel.
8. Postpone Playtime
If your cat is anything like ours, he will demand playtime. Resist the urge to give in to those pleading eyes and postpone playtime till later in the day when it is cooler. Strenuous activity on hot days can cause cats to overheat quite quickly.
9. Never leave your cat in the car
Not for a minute, not for a second, not for a quick in and out trip to the dairy. Just never.
We'd love to hear in the comments below what you do to keep your kitty cool in the summer.