11 Tips to Keep Your Cat Cool in the Summer

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Guest post from Jimmie O’Chutt.

Many people enjoy the hot weather. But our pets are not huge fans of summertime. During this period cats are at risk of dehydration and heatstroke. Your fluffy may feel unwell on a summer day. If your cat is feeling hot and bothered, this is a very serious sign of future health problems. Cats are originally desert animals, so they used to stay in the shade to avoid direct sunlight. Besides, cats can only sweat through their paw pads, so they usually pant like dogs when they are too dehydrated.

So what can you do to make your cat feel alright during summer days? And what are the main signs of dehydration and overheating? Let’s find out.

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What are the main signs of cats overheating?

You should remember that any cat can suffer from the summer heat. Any fluffy may have serious problems if staying in the sun all day long.

Here are the main signs of overheating:

  • Panting
  • Dribbling
  • Wobbling or struggling to stand up
  • Agitation
  • Stretching out and breathing rapidly
  • Extreme distress
  • Skin hot to the touch
  • Glazed eyes
  • Vomiting and drooling

If you notice any of these signs, call the vet immediately. Describe all the symptoms in detail, this will help your vet to make the right decision fast. However, you can also do a couple of things to make your cat feel better. 

How different cat breeds handle the heat.

Of course, some breeds may find it more difficult to fight the heat. Flat-faced cats (like Persian or British Shorthairs) have some extra tissues in their throat that can cause some difficulties with breathing. Keep an eye on your cat in case she belongs to one of these breeds. It will be better if you have an additional consultation with your veterinarian. He/she will help you to understand how to treat your flat-faced fluffy properly.

Fluffy cats will feel the heat more. They will need your extra help in case they are overheated. You may need some damp towels and ice cubes to make your cat feel good again.

Older cats and cats with health problems are the ones that suffer from the heat the most. Overheating may lead to heart strokes and other serious health problems. It will be safer to keep such cats at home during the summer heat. If you need to take your feline friend to a doctor, use a pet sunscreen before going out. Put some cream on your cat’s nose and other hairless areas. That’s how you can be sure your cat won’t get a sunburn. 

Go to your vet and choose the right variant for your fluffy. Make sure that the carrier you put your cat in is cozy and comfortable. Put a bowl with water in it. 

Overweight cats can’t cope with heat well. You may need some extra damp towels and ice cubes as well. 

Make sure your cat has enough water.

This is the number one rule during the summertime. Check your cat’s bowl of water regularly. It is important not only to make sure that there is water in the container but also to check how fresh it is. 

cat drinking water

Brush your cat regularly.

Regular brushing is especially important for long-haired cats. They have lots of matted hair which traps body heat. Such cats may feel unwell when the weather is too hot. Grooming is important throughout the year, but especially in summer. Consult your vet and buy a good daily brush that will help you to get rid of excess fur. You can also find a professional groomer if you doubt that you can do the grooming on your own.

cat with lion cut for summer
A lion cut can help long-haired cats stay cool in summer.

You can also find a lot of tutorials on the internet describing how to groom your cat and make it look perfect. Watch some of them, show them to your vet or a professional groomer (he/she must approve that the manual is ok) and start practicing!

Related content: What’s The Best Brush For Cats? 9 Best Cat Brushes

Make sure there is enough shade in your garden.

As we already mentioned, cats are animals that originally lived in deserts. So they used to take a nap in the shade when it is too hot outside. So if you have an outdoor cat, it is especially important to create some shade outside. Look around. Do you have enough shady places in your yard? If not, you can create it on your own. Place some cloth or cardboard over an area. That’s how you can keep the sun out. If you have any additional buildings on your land, check them twice before shutting them. You may know that cats love cozy dark places. So they can choose your shed to take a nap too. 

After you placed some cloth in the yard, let your cat go out. Make sure she finds the shady place fast. If she likes the area, then you did a good job!

cat resting in the shade

Keep your cat calm.

Always keep an eye on your cat during the summertime. If she is too active, she will quickly become dehydrated. So make sure your fluffy doesn’t run too fast and sits in the shade when it is too hot outside. Remember that active exercises always increase body temperature. This may lead to heart attacks, overheating, and other health problems. 

Use ice cubes.

Ice cubes are a perfect addition to a summer cocktail for us. However, it can be a lot of fun for our cats. Just spread them out on the floor, and watch how your four-legged friend plays with the ice cubes. As your cat pushes them around the room, it can also have a great cooling impact on her paws. So ice cubes can both cheer your pet up and also make her feel better. 

Ice cubes provide enrichment on the days when it is better to stay at home and feel relaxed.

Create a retreat.

Cats will try to stay cool in hot weather. So it would be better for you to create a perfect retreat for your fluffy. You can simply take a cardboard box and place it in a cool and cozy place somewhere in the house. You can put it behind a chair or on a cool surface. Then cover the box with a breathable material like natural fabric. 

Keep your outdoor cat indoors.

If you have an outdoor cat, it’s best to keep her inside during the hottest days of summer. Even if your feline friend is meowing and begging you to let her go out, stay strong. Try to distract your kitty with different games and other kinds of entertainment. 

It will be better if you choose the games beforehand. You can choose ice cubes or different kinds of balls and red lights to play with your pet. 

As soon as your cat gets distracted, you won’t need to calm her down anymore. So make sure you prepare all the stuff you need. Check the weather forecast and get prepared.

Don’t forget to close the curtains. That’s how you can make the room cooler and keep the sun out. When the evening comes you can open the curtains again to let some cold breeze come from an open window. 

You can also install a catio for an apartment balcony to let your cat breathe the outdoor air. 

Keep your cat out of conservatories and greenhouses.

These areas are the hottest ones during summertime. There won’t be any cooling breeze there. So keep an eye on your cat and don’t let her enter such areas. If you notice that your fluffy entered the conservatory or greenhouse, check her condition. Remember all the signs of overheating. Call the vet and get an additional consultation. 

Use a damp towel to cool down your cat.

If you notice some signs of overheating, you can always use a damp towel to stroke your cat, starting from the head and down their back. Remember that the warmest parts of your pet’s body are her tummy, the pads of her paws, armpits, the space under her chin, and the outside of her ears. So make sure you apply water to these parts first. If your cat still feels bad, give her some fresh water and call your vet. Describe all the symptoms in detail and go to the vet’s office if you can. 

cat wrapped in towel for summer heat

You can also use a cooling mat as an alternative to a damp towel. There are a lot of them on the market right now. 

the green pet shop cooling mat for cats
This self-cooling gel mat works well to keep cats cool in the summer. It has a 4 out of 5-star rating on Chewy.com.

However, there is a much simpler way to make your cat cool down. Just take some frozen vegetables or fruits from your fridge, wrap it in some breathable cloth, and put it next to your fluffy.

Minimize car trips.

Of course, it will be best if you simply avoid car trips with your four-legged friend during hot summer days. However, it is not always possible. For instance, you may need to take your fluffy to the vet. If so, try to make a trip as comfortable as it can be. Never leave your cat in the car. Make sure the carrier is secure and comfortable. Put a bowl with fresh water and some light food in it. Keep an eye on your cat. It must feel like at home. 

Make sure there is enough air circulation in the carrier. It is better to choose one with a secure wire mesh door.

Buy a cat sunscreen.

Remember that cats are susceptible to sunburn. If your cat has white ears or nose, it is at risk. Sunburn may lead to painful blistering and sores, and even skin cancer. So make sure you buy a high-quality pet sunscreen. Consult your vet to choose the right one. Put some on your cat’s nose, ears, and other hairless areas. 

However, if you are a happy owner of a white-faced cat, you should keep her indoors during the summer heat.

In a word.

As you see, there are a lot of ways to make your cat feel better during summer days. In fact, there are a couple of strong rules that will make your pet feel great. 

Provide your cat with fresh water regularly. Create some shady places all over the house. Brush your fluffy. Don’t forget to do it all on a regular basis. Consider consulting your vet on how to keep your cat cool. Make sure you do everything right. 

If your cat still feels bad, get her tested. It may have some serious health problems. You should know about them beforehand. Never let your cat go out if you still have doubts about her health condition. Make sure you minimize all the car trips during hot summer days. Try to entertain your cat as much as you can. She may feel bored because her lifestyle may change. 

Follow all the rules described in the article, and your feline friend will feel good! Enjoy your summer!

About Jimmie O’Chutt – CatPet CEO:

Hello everyone! My name is Jimmie O’Chutt, I am 29. I’ve been taking care of cats for 25 years. Actually, the cats I fed and played with were my parents’ ones. 

But in 2015 I became a happy owner of my cat!

I lived with my girlfriend at that time, and we decided to adopt a 4-years old black maine coon. We called them Ronnie. 

But Ronnie was a special cat. He had a chronically impaired kidney function. So we started one of the most difficult and debilitating battles in our lives. We tried all the treatments we could find. And it paid off! We didn’t have any optimistic forecasts. However, Ronnie recovered!

After all, we came through together, Ronnie became a friend to us. He is our bro and companion. This fluffy changed my attitude toward cats forever.

In 2018 I created a CatPet YouTube channel with games for cats. You’re welcome to subscribe!

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