With a heatwave reportedly on its way this May (2022), we might welcome these warmer days after a long British winter. However, your furry friend may find these higher temperatures harder to deal with. If you're worried about your cat overheating, the experts at Catit have shared their top tips on how to keep them cool and content even on the hottest days of the year.
Cats can generally be quite independent pets, but that doesn't stop them needing a helping hand every now and then. Just like their big cat ancestors, they love basking in the sunlight, whether it's outside in the garden or simply underneath a sunny window. You may have noticed, though, that after a time they need a break and seek out the shade or cooler surfaces like your kitchen tiles. When temperatures spike during heatwaves or the summer months, these refreshing, cooler spots can be harder to find. Here’s how you can help your cat stay cool whatever the weather.
During hot days, hydration is key. Despite this, cats generally don't drink as much as we expect them to and instead get much of their water from their food. Dehydration is responsible for cats' predisposal to urinary tract infections, though, so keeping up their water intake is still important (Animal Trust).
When they do drink water, cats can still be notoriously picky. Try to keep a good supply of fresh water on hand for your cat, as they may not drink any that's been left standing overnight or too close to their food. It's also a good idea to stick to wet food during warmer days rather than using dry kibble, as this can provide your cat with extra water without them having to drink it.
Similarly, our feline friends are well-known for their curiosity and so are often most intrigued by running water from taps or hoses. Not only this, but a continuous stream keeps the water moving, helping it to stay cool and fresh for longer. You can therefore encourage your cat to drink more by using a drinking fountain, which flows filtered water for them to lap up. Feeding products with stainless-steel tops can also be more hygienic and irritate your cat's skin less than plastic.
When temperatures are high during the night, your cat's bed or usual sleeping spot may become too hot for them (particularly igloo-shaped beds or ones made of thick, fluffy material). Wrapping an ice pack or frozen water bottle in a towel and placing this into their bed can help to cool them down overnight, without making them sleep somewhere different. Simply moving their bed to a tiled floor or elevating it above carpeted floors can also help keep it cool.
If your cat sleeps in an enclosed room, always remember to leave a window open — or the air conditioning switched on — to give them proper airflow throughout the night.
If you have an outdoor cat who loves nothing more than playing and hunting in the garden, be sure to have a reliable area of shade for them to rest in on hot days. Whether it's under a table, tree, or garden umbrella, just like us cats need a break from the sunshine every now and then to avoid overheating.
It's also wise to keep their water bowl or drinking fountain in the shade wherever possible, such as moving it away from a warm window that gets the sun all day. Next time you make yourself a cold drink, you could also drop a few ice cubes into their water to help it stay cooler for longer.
When the warm weather hits, you'll likely be out soaking up the sun too: so, when using any sheds, greenhouses, or cars, check that your cat hasn't wandered inside before shutting the doors. A prolonged time spent in these unventilated spaces on a warm day is very dangerous for your cat and could give them heatstroke.
However, if you have an indoor cat then keeping them cool is just as important. If it's not possible to open a window (for instance, if you live in a high-rise apartment), then be sure to keep air conditioning or a fan on for most of the day.
Grooming is also key for keeping cats cool, but particularly so for long-haired breeds, short-muzzled cats like Persians and Himalayans, and older or overweight cats, all of which are more vulnerable to overheating. Matted fur traps in more heat, so be sure to groom and clip your cat's fur when necessary.
According to the RSPCA, long-haired cats should be brushed every day whereas short-haired breeds can be groomed weekly, so it's worth investing in a grooming set designed for different shedding needs. When it comes to clipping, you can just trim the fur around the stomach to help keep their core temperature down.
Finally, a fun way to keep your cat happy in hot weather is to freeze their favourite creamy treats and make 'cat pops'. While you cool off with an ice lolly, why not give them their own? This is not only a welcome refreshment on a hot day but also makes their fresh, perishable treats last much longer.
"While we might welcome warmer days with open arms, they can be somewhat overwhelming for our four-legged friends. So, whether you have an indoor or outdoor cat, a long-haired or short-haired breed, it's important to keep them safe and healthy in adverse weather.
"Providing proper hydration, shade, and airflow are just some ways to help your feline friend beat the heat. By keeping a few basic safety tips and handy tools in mind, you and your cat can stay cool and content during the upcoming heatwave this spring."
Paul Trott, UK Marketing Manager at Catit.