Greetings fellow felines. We’re here to talk about the heat. You would think that with as much as we all love to curl up with an electric blanket in the cooler weather that summer would be a breeze for us cats. After all, we do adore sun puddles. But there’s warm, and then there’s the ridiculous heat that comes around this time of year.
It’s time to call out your primordial cat and make sure you’re following your instincts regarding the heat. This is no time to go “doggo” and start exercising with your human.
Conserve your energy. Sleep when it’s hot; prowl when it’s cooler. Nothing interesting happens in the heat of the day anyway – everything else is avoiding the sun too. It’s the perfect excuse for taking longer naps.
Sleep someplace cool. Tile floors are great in the summer. They stay cooler and don’t retain heat. Sinks work well if you want to avoid being stepped on. Try to avoid the rooms with big, open windows that let in a lot of sun. You don’t want to sleep in those intense sun puddles either.
Groom yourself. As the saliva dries, it will help cool you down,
Hydrate. Drink water whenever you get the chance. You’re thirstier in the heat, and drinking cool water will help you cool down.
You also need to talk to your human about things they can do to help you deal with the heat:
Make ice toys. We like to play with ice cubes. They slide nicely and are fun to pounce on. They also help to keep our paws cool. (In case you didn’t know, paws are where we gain and lose heat.)
Cooling mats. If your house is really hot, or if you get overheated easily, a cooling mat is a great idea. Your human can buy one or make their own out of freezer blocks and a thick blanket (don’t let them get the really cold stuff next to your fur/skin). In an emergency, a package of frozen vegetables will work.
Wet towel. If you’re feeling extra warm, your human can help by wetting your fur with a towel or their hands. It will feel really good as the water evaporates. At the least, dampening your paws will offer quick relief.
Brushing. Our fur coat helps to regulate our temperatures, but loose furs just make us hot. Getting brushed daily helps keep us as cool as possible.
Watch for signs of overheating. Heavy panting and loss of energy are early signs that we are too hot. Agitation, rapid breathing, skin that is hot to the touch, drooling and vomiting may be signs of heatstroke and are a medical emergency. You need to see a vet.
Multiple sources of water. It is a good idea to have lots of water available in extremely hot weather. Adding ice cubes can help keep it cool. It is especially important to have water available outside this time of year.
Provide sunscreen. It’s best if you stay inside between 11 am and 3 pm when the sun is the strongest. If you need to be outside, your human can provide sunscreen (feline variety, not human) if you are one of our pale-colored or sparsely-furred kin. Your ears and nose are particularly susceptible to getting burnt. Warning sign that requires a trip to the vet for an outdoor or indoor/outdoor cat: crusty, scaly, or sore-looking skin.
Keep poorly ventilated rooms closed. This isn’t a good time of year to be exploring the attic or the space behind the refrigerator. If you do get caught someplace hot, make sure you drink plenty of water when you get out. And let your human know if you don’t feel well.
Finally, talk to your humans about helping any stray/feral cats who may be around. If possible, offer a shady spot and fresh water. Plastic bowls are better than metal ones because they don’t get as hot and won’t burn if the cat touches it. (Metal is also not recommended in the winter because the cat’s tongue can freeze to it.)
Now that you know how to stay comfy, have a pawsome summer! And send your human out for a mouse-sicle to enjoy.
Pictures courtesy of Google Images.