How to keep a cat cool in hot weather.

When summer rolls around and the mercury rises, pets and people love to get outside and enjoy the hot weather.

Cats – even the fluffy ones – generally tolerate the heat better than dogs and humans. But they can suffer on hot days. When the weather is really hot, it’s important to keep your cat cool.

Whether you have an indoor kitty or an outdoor prowler, here are 5 ways to help keep your cat cool during hot weather.

1. Keep your cat hydrated

Cats are notorious for not drinking enough water, so you’ll need to encourage your kitty to drink during warm summer weather. Place multiple water bowls around where your cat hangs out to encourage them to drink. Add a splash of tuna water to the bowl to tempt them.

Cats enjoy drinking from running water so letting them drink from the tap or investing in a cat water fountain is one way to get even the most reluctant cats to drink.

2. Keep your cat well groomed

If your cat has long fur, it might be worth having them professionally groomed for the summer. Brushing your cat often will help keep its coat tangle-free and prevent it from becoming an unwelcome woolly jumper.

We all know cats love a good pat, so on a hot day, try petting your cat with a damp cloth to help cool them down.

3. Get a fan or cooling pad

Cooling pads are a popular way to help pets stay cool in summer, though cold kitchen and bathroom floors work just as well. Leaving out a frozen water bottle for your cat to play with or lie beside is another way to do this if you don’t have a cooling pad.

A fan (ideally a box fan with the blades enclosed) creates a nice indoor breeze. Turbo-charge your fan’s cooling power by placing it near an open window or air conditioning unit. You could also put a frozen water bottle in front of the fan to create a chilled breeze.

4. Provide shady, well-ventilated spaces

Whether your cat is indoors or outdoors, you’ll need to ensure they have a shady, well-ventilated place to hang out. A shaded bed that’s out of the sun and off the floor is a great way to do this – the airflow beneath the bed will help keep them cool.

If your cat is indoors, closing curtains and blinds but leaving windows open where possible will provide shade and ventilation.

5. Try cat sunscreen

Fur helps protect your cat from sunburn, but exposed skin is still vulnerable. Hairless cats are much more prone to sunburn, but even fluffy cats can get sunburnt on their nose and ear tips.

Curious cats are likely to lick it off, so you’ll need to find cat-friendly sunscreen. Sunscreen for humans usually contains zinc oxide, scents and salicylates that aren't good for your cat. If you’re unsure about which cat sunscreen to use, chat with your vet.

What to watch out for on very hot days

In extreme conditions, cats can suffer from heat stroke. Medically known as hyperthermia, this is when a cat’s internal organs begin to shut down due to overheating. The first sign is heat exhaustion which includes:

  • Rapid breathing and pulse
  • Panting and drooling
  • Red tongue and mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy or stumbling around

If you’re worried about your cat’s exposure to high temperatures, get in touch with your vet as soon as you can.

Cats have sweat glands on their paws. If your cat is sweating a lot, they’ll leave wet paw prints. This is a sign that you’ll need to help them cool down and encourage them to drink water.

Always check garages, sheds and other enclosed spaces before closing the door. Never leave your cat in a parked car. We all know cats love to hide (particularly if they’re looking for a shady spot to nap in), but enclosed spaces can get very hot on warm weather days.

Cats are infamous sun seekers, but there is such a thing as a little too much sun. With these tips, you can keep your cat cool and happy this summer.

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