Last updated July 15th, 2020
We’re going through another hot spell and the Chirpies are lying around like beached seals. Although we have air conditioning in the house the cats still feel the heat more than we do. Did you see the extra toe floofs on some cats!?
Cats are heat seekers by nature, but they have some clever tricks up their fur sleeves to keep cool when the weather is sizzling hot.
But sometimes they can do with a little help. Luckily for them, the catio has plenty of shaded spots to ‘tunnel’ into and keep cool. In this heat, some of our most avid of tree-dwellers have become bush dwellers, sprawled out under the shade of the vine and potted plants.
7 Ways you can help your cat keep his cool
1. Ice Ice baby
Ice cubes dropped in your cat’s water bowl or fountain is welcomed by many cats. How about some tuna juice flavored ice cubes sprinkled with catnip or tu-nipsicles? That sounds a treat! I don’t think the combo worked for everyone here but Sly Pie was intrigued by the mini ice mountain topped with catnip.
Keep many water bowls around preferably filled with ice when you leave home. We add more water bowls in the catio. Although on very hot days when we are not home we will close the entry to the catio.
2. Hide the sun puddles!
Keep your blinds or curtains closed, especially on West or South-facing windows that get slammed by heat all day. This is about the only time your cat will avoid the much-beloved sun puddle.
3. Let sleeping cats lie
During an extreme heat spell, your cat will prefer to just do nothing and chill until dinner time. Make sure they have ample shady indoor and outdoor nooks and hiding places to burrow in. Cats will sleep longer than normal on a hot day. One way cats cope with extreme heat is something that comes naturally to cats and that is sleeping it off! They will find the ideal cool location and sleep there until supper time, expending the least amount of energy possible.
Now is not the time to engage your cat in any kind of interactive play or exercise. So couch potato Charlie is off the hook today, work out has been canceled until further notice!
The only position Jimmy Fancy Feet knows in a heat wave is sunny side up, whether it’s on the kitchen tiles lying under a ceiling fan or on the shaded patio stones in the catio.
4. Provide Fans at various angles
In addition to ceiling fans, a few extras fans on the floor creating a nice flow of air will be welcomed by your feline crew. Beware though, this will most definitely create a fur storm of floating fur ‘snowflakes’. Don’t be surprised if you have fur croutons on your salad dressing tonight!
5. Ice pack in a towel
This is one tip I use every morning before going to work. Our senior cat Earl Grey is a heat seeker almost throughout the entire summer, but he finds this heat uncomfortable. He normally adores sun puddles, but now he is trying hard to beat the heat. I freeze some ice packs (not the gel kind) and fold it into his favorite blanket.
6. Provide a hammock bed (affiliate link below)
Even though most of our cats end up on the tiles most of the day, there are some cats that still prefer the softness of a fabric bed. The hammock bed below called the Cat’s Cradle seems to be one of Charlie’s favorites. The hammock is elevated a few inches off the floor providing adequate air circulation for cool cats. And Charlie is one cool cat.
6. A cooling grass bed!
We all know cats love to graze on grass but they also love sleeping on it. Why not grow your cat’s very own grass bed? All you need is a large container and grass seeds. You can even get a piece of sod/turf from your garden center. The cats will happily help themselves to grass snacks but very soon there’s one cat that decides it will make a nice cooling bed. Grass cools faster than stone and will always provide a nice comfy cool spot for cats. Jimmy Fancy Feet believes the old cat adage applies: “If I fits, I sits.”
7. A mini cat bath without the claws!
This is my favorite cooling tip for cats and works wonders to provide much-needed cooling on a hot day. Cats sweat through their paws but this does not really serve a cooling function. In extreme heat, your cat will groom more which helps to keep him cool when the moisture evaporates from his fur, much like human sweat cools us.
I use a nice cool damp cloth to wipe over the cats’ coats. This not only helps them cool down, but it encourages them to do an extra grooming session themselves. This mini-bath also gets rid of grit, dirt and excess fur without being invasive. In fact, they will love the feeling of the coolness on their fur and the only claws you might see is when they start to make biscuits of contentment!
Beware of the signs of overheating or heat stroke:
If your cat displays any of these signs: excessive drooling, trouble breathing, excessive panting, an elevated heart rate, vomiting, lethargy, stumbling, please seek veterinary care immediately.
So, what are your cats doing (or not doing) to stay cool? Are they playing dead on the tiles? Are they skipping their workouts? Or are they just sun puddling as usual? Please chirp us a line in the comments!
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