Cat care in summer months

cat British shorthair grey

Looking after a cat in hot weather

Do you often find your cat relaxing in the shade or basking in the sunshine? Cats are very independent creatures and they’re generally good at staying cool in hot weather, but there are ways to help keep them happy and healthy during the warmer months.

How to keep your cat nice and cool

Whether they live predominantly indoors or spend most of their time exploring other people’s gardens, your cat needs you to step in when temperatures rise. If a cat gets too hot, they are at risk of dehydration, or even heatstroke. Whilst dehydration can normally be dealt with at home, you should call a vet immediately if your cat shows any signs of heatstroke. Early symptoms may include panting, restlessness, agitation, and pacing.

Follow our handy tips to keep your cat comfortable in the heat:

Avoid letting your cat go outside when it’s really hot

Keep your cat out of the midday sun. On warm summer days you’ll tend to find that temperatures are most comfortable for our furry friends either early in the morning or late in the afternoon. If your cat is generally very active, try to encourage them to nap when the sun’s at its hottest and play when temperatures are lower. You might also find that your cat snoozes for longer when the weather’s very warm, this is normal under these conditions.

There’s plenty you can do to keep your cat comfortable, even when they’re inside. Keeping your windows locked open will allow some air through and create a cooling breeze. It’s also a good idea to close your curtains if you need to create more shade.

Create a cool space where they can relax

Find a shady spot for your cat, or put up a gazebo if your garden gets a lot of sun, and place fresh water out for them. Cats are likely to drink more in the heat, so you’ll have to keep an eye out for any empty bowls and fill them back up. Warm water won’t be as appealing, especially in the height of summer, so pop a few ice cubes into the bowls to keep them fresher for longer.

Quick tip! Take an old towel and run it under a tap until it’s damp - not soaking! Lie the towel out in the shade and, if your cat wants to cool off, this will be a great place for them to stretch out.

Keep your cat well groomed

Cats find it harder to cool down if their fur is particularly thick. Make sure to groom them more often in summer, as removing any excess hair helps to keep their bodies nice and cool.

Protect your cat from sunburn

If your cat is lighter in colour, be aware that they may be prone to sunburn - especially around their nose, lips, eyes, and ears. We recommend having some cat safe sun cream to hand, just in case. They will thank you for it!

Preparing your cat for travel

Unless it’s an emergency, avoid taking your cat out in the car when the sun’s at its hottest. Make sure they’ve always got access to water, and that the temperature in the car is comfortable. NEVER leave cats unattended in the car.

When you are travelling, make sure that your carrier is strapped in nice and safely. Don't let it move around, as this can be very distressing. Try placing a blanket over the cage too, as this may make your cat’s journey less stressful.

Introducing your cat to their carrier

If you have a bit of a drive to the cattery, why not start introducing your cat to their carrier first? Try putting it in your cat’s favourite room and leave some comfy blankets and the odd treat in there. If they want to go in for a nap, let them. It will only make the journey less worrying for them.

Trips to the cattery

If you are going away on holiday and your furry friend is staying in a cattery, there are a few things that are worth noting before you go!

Before you check your cat into the nearest cattery, make sure that all the staff treat the animals in their care like you would. Are they nice and friendly?  Do you feel comfortable leaving your feline with them? Were you offered a tour of the cattery? Is a tour available on request?

As you are being shown around, ask lots of questions. Remember, the staff member should be asking you questions about your cat as well.

When you’re looking at the accommodation, is it clean and tidy? Is yesterday’s dinner still hanging around in the cage? When was the litter tray last cleaned? These are all things to look out for to make sure your cat is content while you are away. Also, keep an ear out. How loud is it? Sometimes catteries board dogs too; if they do, how close are they? Is there lots of barking going on in the background? How does your cat get on with dogs? Would they be comfortable with a bit of barking in the distance?

It’s important for both you and your cat to be comfortable with your choice of cattery, so they have a positive experience, and you can enjoy your holiday.

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