Keeping Your Cat Cool, Hydrated and Safe in Summer

Disclaimer: We are not veterinarians. The following is information based on our own research and questions we’ve asked our own vet. Using these tips ourselves have helped keep our cats cool and hydrated during warm/hot weather.

We consider our cats “indoor” cats because they do not go “outside” and run free. We have a screened-in back porch / patio we let them out on to get fresh air and sun. That is as far as they go. We do not let them out into the yard, although Brody will try to “escape” once in a while and run out the screen door when he thinks you aren’t looking. Usually when this happens he goes about 5 feet, stops and meows. Then it’s back onto the patio.

This is our choice to raise our rescue cats this way. Even though shelters, rescues and vets recommend you keep your cats inside for many reasons including diseases, heat exposure, cold exposure and predators, some owners let their cats outside the home and sometimes for extended periods of time. We urge those that choose to let their cat outside to please make sure they are up to date with their shots and have access to water.

Whether your cat is an indoor only, indoor & outdoor or strictly outdoor cat, these tips are for all types.

Today we are discussing tips to keep your cats healthy and safe during the hot sunny days of summer. Three topics we will be covering: Hydrate, Furminate and Be Aware.

Hydrate

Always keep fresh water available for your cat in the house and outdoors if your cats spend time outside. We have water bowls both inside and out on our screened-in patio. Just as people are encouraged to drink lots of water and stay hydrated when the weather heats up, so should cats.

Outside water bowls should be placed in areas with day long shade. We throw a couple of ice cube into the water on the patio a few times a day when it’s hot to ensure the water stays cool. If you’re away from home during the day, freeze a plastic bowl of water overnight and put it out in the morning. The ice will melt during the day providing a continuous source of cool water. Be sure to always take the water in at the end of the day so it doesn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria or mosquitoes. If your cat stays outside all the time, then please be sure to put a fresh bowl of water out in the evening and then replace it in the morning.

For indoor cats, consider a Gravity Feed Water Bowl or a Pet Fountain. Both have a reservoir which ensures your cat will have a continual source of fresh water throughout the day.

Senior Cats Have Special Hydration Needs – It is especially important for senior cats to keep hydrated. They often have issues with kidney and thyroid functions so keeping them hydrated can save you a trip to the vet.

Eliminate Unhealthy Water Sources – When your cat is thirsty they will try to drink anything, whether it is safe or not, so eliminate dangerous sources or water. Outside, make sure you empty any objects containing standing water that can contain dangerous bacteria and parasites. Indoors, your cat may try to drink out of your toilet. If you use any kind of chemical self cleaners or a family member forgets to flush, this can be dangerous to your cat. Make sure to keep the lid down or even better yet keep the door closed. We always make sure the lid is down in our bathrooms, but also keep our bathroom doors closed. This is not only to keep all of our rescue pets from getting into anything harmful, including the garbage, but to also keep our cat Sebastian from shredding the roll of toilet paper.

Furminate

This is hairball season, so take care to groom your cat regularly with a brush or deshedding tool, such as a FURminator®.  Be careful not to over furminate as this can be dangerous if your cat goes outdoors. Over furminating removes their undercoat and puts your cat at risk to sunburn or frostbite in the cold. Do not furminate the leg, tail or flappy belly area as this may injure your cat.

Furminating helps keep you cat cooler in the summer but also helps with hairballs. Some signs of major hairball problems are retching, inability to poop, diarrhea, loss of appetite or a swollen abdomen. See your vet immediately if you suspect your cat is impacted.

Be Aware

Keep an eye on your cats during hot weather and monitor them for signs of heat stroke. Take a few minutes to educate yourself regarding the symptoms and treatment for hyperthermia. Heatstroke is life threatening and know proper first aid can save your cat’s life.

Symptoms of heatstroke in cats may include:

  • Rapid Panting
  • Bright Red Tongue
  • Red or Pale Gums
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Depression
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

If you suspect heatstroke, take your cat’s temperature. Normal temperature is 99.5 – 102.5F. A cat with a temperature of 104F to 106F can recover within an hour when given prompt first aid and veterinary care.

If you believe your cat is suffering from heat stroke, immediately remove them from the hot area and take measures to cool them down prior to taking them to the vet. Wet them thoroughly with lukewarm water. DO NOT use cold water. Cooling too quickly or allowing their body temperature to become too low can cause other life-threatening conditions.

Check the rectal temperature every 5 minutes. Once the temperature is 103F, stop the cooling process, dry your cat and cover them. (Do not wrap them tightly) Take them to your vet as soon as possible to be examined.

Keep in mind cats that have suffered from heat stroke once increase their risk of getting it again.

Have a safe, healthy and playful summer!

 

Remember adopt don’t shop!
Support your local rescues.
Spay or neuter your pets.

*** Send the Rescues Mail ***
Life of a Rescue
PO Box 195791
Winter Springs, FL 32719-5791

 

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