With summer and warmer weather almost upon us it is important to look after our little furry friends. Cats are very susceptible to heatstroke in excessive heat conditions due to their small body weight and comparatively high surface area. Heatstroke is a fever brought on by the failure of the body’s normal temperature regulation system due to being in overly high temperatures. The most common cause of heatstroke is being left in a hot, poorly ventilated area. The symptoms of heatstroke in a cat include agitation, extreme distress, stretching out and panting heavily, skin hot to the touch, vomiting, and glazed eyes, drooling and staggering. If you have concerns contact your local vet.
A cat that is running about too much during a really hot day or during a heat-wave will soon become exhausted and dehydrated. Encourage them to calm down by providing a relaxed, indoor place that is both cool and dark, this is a place where your cat can retreat to and relax and feel safe. It is simple to make, place a cardboard box on its side and put it somewhere that is quiet and out of the way such as behind a chair, or near a cool spot in the house.
Another good idea is to place towels or sheets over the spots the cat usually likes to sit, to create a cool barrier between their fur and the normally warmer surfaces for our outdoor cats. Try to set up some shade over a comfortable spot under which your cat can lie; choose somewhere that gets a gentle breeze. Allow your cat to choose a cool spot. Cats are smart about comfort at all times, including during the heat. Cats love to curl up in the bathtub or sink because porcelain stays cool even when it is hot outside.
Clean drinking water should always be easily accessible and available in the outside area, as well as indoors.
Dehydration is a real risk for cats during the heat of summer, so constant access to water is essential. Fill the water bowl and check that it is always filled during hot weather
If you have an outdoor cat, be scrupulous about checking outdoor buildings and greenhouses before closing the doors. The building could overheat, if it is a shed or other uninsulated or unventilated building, and this might prove fatal if you accidentally lock your cat in the building.
Brush your cat daily
Matted fur traps heat; ensuring that the fur is not matted and allows air to flow freely through it will help to keep your cat cool. This is especially important for long-haired breeds of cats. Avoid shaving your cat to the skin as this will expose your cat to the sun and can result in sunburn and risks skin cancer. Lighter coloured and particularly white cats you may need to apply a small amount of sun cream to protect their ears during sunny periods
Even in the heat it is possible to find a way to cool down through play. A really fun game is to toss a couple of ice cubes on the floor in front of your cat. Watch them play with the ice; the cubes scattering as they are chased. Be sure to do this in a cool indoor environment.
Avoid Cooling Gel Packs
Although gel cold packs are made with ingredients that are considered nontoxic for humans, the gel could be harmful to your cat if she happens to poke a hole in the plastic with her claw and ingest it.
These are just a few tips, there are many more ways to keep our little friends cool this summer and make it and enjoyable and happy one for them.
I recently volunteered to help out at Swansea Cats Protection homing day two weeks ago and was totally amazed at the amount of work that other volunteers are doing in their spare time and the services that they offer. For example: they rescue and re-home over 250 per year and are always looking for safe, loving homes for our rescue cats. At any one time we usually have up to 40 cats and kittens in our care – this increases in the summer season, we can have up to 30/40 kittens in foster homes. We don’t have a centre but we pay to have the cats boarded in a local cattery – the kittens are in foster homes. The SCP undertake a lot of trap/neuter/return during the year. There are many cats living in healthy, happy colonies around Swansea, so they make sure the population is kept under control by keeping an eye on them, neutering any un-neutered cats.
To support this action Cats Protection and Llys Nini/RSPSA currently have a fabulous neutering scheme, for people on benefits or low incomes. £5 will get your cat neutered, de-flead, wormed and micro-chipped,just look on the SCP website or Facebook for further information.
Pics: Just some of our stunning cats looking for a caring loving home