When the dog days of summer arrive, everybody is doing their best to beat the heat, including cats. Here are some easy ways to help. Although these tips are simple, they can also be life-saving, helping cats avoid dehydration or even heatstroke.
First, we look at easy tips to help outdoor cats, particularly colony cats. However, we recommend keeping our beloved pets indoors to avoid a multitude of dangers. Those dangers include exposure to extreme elements, whether hot or cold.
Indoors, it does help to have fans going or opening windows where possible. Marmalade loves being fanned, as you can see below!
Note: If your cat appears dehydrated, please seek veterinary help immediately. Signs include sunken eyes, cool paws, sticky gums, and unusually loose skin. Likewise, seek help from a vet if there are signs of heatstroke, such as excessive panting, drooling, and lethargy.
Easy Ways to Help Outdoor Cats Beat the Heat
For cats that are living outdoors, sweltering heat can quickly become dangerous. One of the most important ways to help is to simply keep containers of clean water available, which helps wildlife, too, so long as it’s clean. Cats living in concrete jungles/cities have a harder time accessing water, so it’s critical to help them find it.
If you have a big glass, ceramic, or metal bowl, it’s preferable to plastic since warm plastic makes water taste yucky! Indoors, placing multiple water bowls and cat fountains with running water encourages finicky cats (like Marmalade) to drink. Adding a little extra water to wet food helps, and they may not know the difference. However, offering dry food is more practical for outdoor colony cats since it doesn’t spoil or attract pests as quickly.
Easy Ways to Provide Shade and Shelter
Cats are resourceful and will find cool hiding areas, like under a porch, in a shed, or greenhouse. Unfortunately, curious cats can quickly find themselves trapped inside and overheat. So be sure to check before shutting the door. Likewise, they hide under cars, so as usual, knock on the hood before starting up that engine. It goes without saying to NEVER leave any pet in a hot car.
A quick and inexpensive way to help in a pinch is by placing something as simple as a styrofoam cooler with a hole cut for the door. Even a large cardboard box or overturned large plant pot can help temporarily; we all know boxes are magnets for cats, indoors or out. Then, place a clean water bowl near the temporary hiding place.
Although made for dogs, a wooden dog house works great as a temporary hiding place for an outdoor cat. They’re always readily available and cheap. With some extra insulation added, they can be majorly upgraded too!
If the outside structure is a light color, like white, it will help reflect the heat. Although light colors reflect heat, white kitties are more prone to sunburn, particularly on their ears. (There are feline sunscreens available to help.)
Offer an Easy, Inexpensive Cat Shelter
You can also create a feral cat shelter with simple tools, as Cat Man Chris demonstrates in the video below. Straw works great for insulation, but hay does not since it gets moldy and doesn’t insulate well. More greenish hay is usually more expensive, too, since it’s sold as food for livestock.
Note: If you use straw, it must be kept dry and changed frequently. It’s great for keeping cats warm in winter, but so long as it’s always dry, it can help insulate them from heat or cold. If you can’t check frequently, you might want to skip the straw in the summer months.
Video by Cole and Marmalade:
Frozen Water Bottle in a Towel
People often wrap a cold pack in a towel to keep cool. Likewise, cats may enjoy a frozen bottle of water wrapped in a towel to keep cool. Just be sure the water bottle doesn’t leak. (Partly fill the bottle to avoid a busted bottle as the ice expands.)
As with people, cats shouldn’t be in direct contact with a frozen bottle. On the other hand, some cats will enjoy being rubbed with a slightly damp towel occasionally. Either that, or they will hate it, in which case, avoid and repent! Each cat is different, and some do enjoy the water and being wet or even swimming in the ocean!
Beat the Heat with Frozen Treats
Summertime is time for frozen treats, and the recipe for cats is easy and really fishy. Below, you can see Chef Cat Man Chris making catsicles from tuna, treats, and water.
Even watering down your cats’ food a little bit during heatwaves helps them stay hydrated. But, they love playing with and licking one of these fishy treats when it’s hot.
As you can see below, you might want to designate a special ice tray for cat treats since there’s nothing quite like the slight hint of tuna in your glass of iced tea.
Remember: use tuna canned or sealed in water, not salt or oil.
Video by Cole and Marmalade about making catsicles for cats:
Here’s a version of the catsicles with wet cat food as the main attraction. You’ll need wet cat food, water, and an empty yogurt container. The result: a frozen fishy treat for the pickiest feline connoisseurs.
1. Weruva cat food
2. Empty yogurt container
3. Add water
5. Serve to your cats so they can investigate and eventually discover that you didn’t destroy their favorite food; you just made it more challenging to eat!” shared Cole and Marmalade.
We hope these easy tips for helping cats stay cool are helpful and that your cat loves their frozen treats!
Stay cool and beat the heat the best you can. Because before you know it, we’ll be trying to stay warm again.