Hi again, fur-iends! I hope you're all adjusting well to our new posting schedule and enjoying this beautiful weather! On the topic of the weather, while we’re happy to be sunning ourselves and finally getting that golden glow, it’s not so fun for our furry friends. High temperatures can be uncomfortable and even dangerous for our pets, so this week we thought it would be helpful to give you some top tips on keeping your little companions nice and cool this summer. And while our expertise lies with the feline species, many of these tricks can be adapted for dogs and other animals too!
Tip 1: Watch out for sunburn!
Although they may not go red and flaky the way we do when we burn, under all that fluff, cats have skin just like ours, which means they can get sunburn too! Our number one tip would be to monitor when your cat is out in the sun, avoiding the hottest times of the day. If you can keep them inside as much as possible, that would be great. It’s much safer for them to be inside where they can keep cool. You should also invest in some kitty suncream; in terms of dermatology, the human version is fine but as cats are prone to licking themselves it would be better to buy a specially formulated version that won’t contain any harmful ingredients. Remember to also make sure there are plenty of shady spots outside- tall potted plants and garden ornaments work great!
Similarly , remember the ground can get very hot under direct sunlight, making it painful to walk on. An easy way to judge whether or not your cat should be walking on the ground, is to place your hand down flat. If you cannot keep it there comfortably for more than a few seconds, it’s too hot for your moggy! Their paw pads can become sore and even begin to blister.
Tip 2: Keep them hydrated!
Just like us, cats need a steady supply of water throughout the day, especially during hot weather. Regularly replace water bowls to make sure the water is cool enough and that your kitty doesn’t run out. We’d also suggest, if possible, placing several bowls around the house and even in the garden, to ensure that they have access to fresh water wherever they go.
Here are some tips to make sure your cat drinks enough:
Tip 3: Buy a cooling mat
Some pet products are just a fad, and completely unnecessary for the health and happiness of your pet. But one item we cannot praise enough is pet cooling mats. They’re available in a variety of sizes and from most pet shops, but if you can’t get your hands on one, we have other ways you can help. Raid your freezer for ice packs or anything frozen and well sealed (even a bag of frozen peas will do!) and place them in your pet’s bed to keep them cool as they sleep. We'd also recommend dampening a towel with cold water and gently dabbing your cat with it.
Tip 4: Ice lollies
One of our favourite ways to chill out in the summer is by sucking on a refreshing ice lolly. I’m sure we don’t need to tell you that cats shouldn’t be eating Calipos! But luckily there are few options for making ice lollies that are more suited to the feline taste. The easiest method is to freeze the kind of cat food that comes in lickable sachets and simply snip the end off the sachet and let your kitty enjoy! It’s the kitty equivalent to an old-school ice pop. Alternatively, grab a set of ice lolly molds, mix some water with the water drained from a tin of tuna - make sure it’s spring water, not oil or brine, freeze and then serve!
Tip 5: Use ice cubes as toys
Cats love watching ice slide around as they bat it with their paws! And not only is it fun, but it will keep their paws nice and cool too. I even found this video that takes the idea one step further and freezes a balloon full of water! Simply leave the frozen ball out in the sun and let your cats lick it or rub up against it throughout the day.
Tip 6: Know the signs of sunstroke
And finally, be super vigilant! It’s pretty self-explanatory but it’s important to regularly check greenhouses, cars and other contained spaces that get extra hot. Watch out for the symptoms below:
Panting (this is normal when it's warm but if it begins to increase, this could be a sign of heatstroke
Drooling or salivating
Agitation or restlessness
Change in colour of gums (either bright red or very pale)
Increased heart rate
Vomiting or diarrhea
Signs of confusion
Dizziness or staggering around
Weakness or fatigue
Collapsing or lying down more than usual
Reduced urine production
If you do see any of the signs above, you should take action immediately. The first step is to remove your pet from the hot environment, before applying tepid or cool water gently to their skin and fur (using a spray bottle works best) Place a fan in the area to maximise heat loss. Be careful not to use ice cold water as the drastic contrast in temperature can cause your pet to go into shock. Once you've brought their temperature down, it's time to see a vet. This is vital as heatstroke can be a lot more serious than it appears on the surface, and we can all agree it's better to be safe than sorry.
And that's all for now folks! Now it's time to relax and unwind for the weekend, comfortable with the feeling that you know how to keep your beloved pets safe. Join us next week for the latest news from Kitty Café, and in the meantime, give us a follow on our social media accounts so you don't miss out on any adorable cat pictures.