Cats are well known for loving a snooze in the sunshine, but on very hot days, our feline friends are at serious risk of overheating and getting heatstroke which can be fatal.
Most cats are able to regulate their body temperature well on a hot day but certain breeds, like long haired or flat faced ones find it more difficult.
Thankfully there’s plenty cat owners can do to keep their cat safe in the summer.
Here is our top advice for keeping your cat cool in the heat and minimising the risk of heatstroke
Use Sun cream
Did you know that cats with light colour fur can get sunburnt, just like us humans? To help keep them safe in the summer, apply pet safe sun cream to the tips of their ears and the end of their nose.
Look out for pet safe sun cream that’s Titanium Dioxide-based and avoid any that contain Zinc Oxide. If in doubt, speak to your vet first before applying any sun cream to your cat.
Provide plenty of shade
If your cat loves hanging out in the garden, make sure you’re providing them with plenty of shaded areas to lounge around in. Weather that’s some shrubbery, a canopy bed or something more DIY made with hanging sheets, your cat will be much more comfortable on a hot day with some shade to rest in.
Keep them hydrated
It may sound obvious but make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh, cool drinking water so they can rehydrate themselves on hot summer days.
Some cats only like running water so you might want to get something like a water fountain for them to drink from.
Check sheds and greenhouses
If you’re about to lock up your garden shed or greenhouse, take a moment to check that your cat hasn’t snuck in there without you noticing. Small spaces like these can become hot very quickly and if your cat gets trapped inside, they could overheat and develop heatstroke before you find them again.
Be mindful of the temperature indoors
Create a nice cool room for your cat to hang out in on hot days. You can do this by opening the windows and doors to allow a breeze to pass through (think about getting screens for high up windows to prevent accidental falls) or by setting up an electric fan.
Cooling mats for your cat to lie down on can also be a great investment or you can DIY it with wet towels that have been chilled in the freezer.
Watch out for rooms like conservatories too, which can get very hot very quickly in the summer.
Ice, ice, baby!
Despite past beliefs, ice treats are safe for your cat to enjoy, especially on a hot summer day.
Try giving them a few ice cubes to chase across the floor and watch as they have fun trying to get hold of them with their paws. This is a great way to add some enrichment to their day without them overdoing it in the heat. You can even add a few cubes to their water bowls to fish out and munch on.
You can also create edible ice treats by freezing things like tuna brine or low salt chicken stock for them to enjoy.
Know the signs of heat stroke in cats
Just like humans, cats can suffer from heat stroke on hot days which can be fateful. These are the signs you need to look out for:
- Stretching out and breathing rapidly
- Extreme distress
- Skin hot to the touch
- Glazed eyes
- Vomiting and drooling
If you suspect your cat is suffering from heat stroke, move them to a cool area and contact your vet immediately.
If you also own a dog, make sure you also read our guide on how to keep your dog cool this summer.