How can you make sure your cat is healthy and happy in the UK heatwave?
We all know how dangerous hot weather can be for dogs – that’s why we rage if we spot a dog in a car with the window closed.
But it’s easy to forget that cats need some extra care to handle the hot weather, too, especially when they seem to be so relaxed lounging in the sun all day.
We spoke to some experts to find out what we need to be doing to keep cats cool, happy, and healthy in the hot weather.
Keep your cat indoors
Alison Richards, central veterinary officer for Cats Protection, advises keeping your cats indoors during the hottest part of the day, so you can guarantee they won’t be exposed too harsh sun for too long.
‘Like many of us, cats love the warm weather and enjoy spending time in the sun,’ she tells Metro.co.uk.
‘However, too much sun exposure can be dangerous to cats, especially to those with white or pale-coloured eyes or noses.
‘The best way to protect your cat during the summer is to keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day, traditionally between 10am and 3pm.’
If you can’t keep your cat indoors, make sure to provide plenty of sources of shade for your cat to take cover.
Open up your shed if you have one, add some cat-friendly plants, and pop a box in your garden so your cat can retreat when they’re feeling a touch too warm.
Provide plenty of water
Cats aren’t always great at drinking lots of water, so they need reminders. Make sure that throughout the heatwave you place multiple water bowls around your home, keeping them topped up so your cat doesn’t have to dive their head into the bowl.
A glass, ceramic, or metal bowl will be better than plastic, which can taint the taste of the water.
If your cat will be outside during the day, pop a bowl of water in a shady spot outdoors, too.
Use sun cream
Yes, cats can get sunburnt – especially if they have lighter fur.
The experts over at Battersea tell us: ‘Fur protects the cat’s skin to some extent, but if your cat allows, apply animal friendly sun cream to put on the areas most exposed, especially the end of the nose and tips of the ears.
‘The sun cream used for your pet should be Titanium Dioxide-based and avoid any that contain Zinc Oxide. Always speak to your vet first if you are unsure which sun cream to use.’
Put a fan at their level
Just as you won’t feel great sitting inside all day when it’s hot, your cat will overheat and get exhausted even if he or she is kept inside all day.
An easy fix is investing in a fan that you can keep running throughout the day. Adjust it so it’s at your cat’s height so they can enjoy a nice breeze.
Don’t get them too excited
It’s always fun to play with your cat, especially if they’re in a good mood and actually want to chase a toy mouse around for hours.
But be careful not to overexert your cat in the heat.
‘On really hot days, an active cat will quickly become exhausted and dehydrated,’ say the team at Battersea. ‘Instead, encourage a more relaxed approach to the day.’
Let cats play with ice cubes
A spokesperson from the Mayhew recommends giving playful cats some ice cubes to play with. They can bat them around, lick them, and have fun while staying cool. Genius.
Only do this if you have hard floors that are okay getting wet. That’s quite important.
Provide damp towels to rest on
You know how it’s really difficult to sleep when it’s boiling hot outside? It’s the same for cats.
They want all the comfort of blankets and cushions, but without the excess warmth.
A damp towel provides a cooling area for cats to rest their weary paws.
Know the signs of heatstroke in cats
Cats are affected by the sun in the same way humans are. They can get heat stroke in the same way and develop skin cancer from sun burns – even on cloudy days. Keep an eye on your cat’s behaviour and know the signs of heatstroke:
- Stretching out and breathing rapidly
- Extreme distress
- Skin hot to the touch
- Glazed eyes
- Vomiting and drooling
Take your cat to the vet if you notice any of these symptoms.
Make your cat a makeshift ice pack
This tip comes from Cats Protection, and it’s a good ‘un.
Freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel or pillowcase and place it where your cat goes regularly. This will work as a sort of reverse radiator to cool down their favourite spot.
Ensure your cat can get away from the bottle if they choose and that the bottle doesn’t leak.
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