by Soojin Um
It’s been really hot lately, to say the least. Most of the country, as well as Canada and Europe, have been gripped by a brutal heat wave. While we are all trying our best to stay cool this summer, what about our cats? As descendants of desert animals, cats do have a higher thermoneutral zone than we do, thus they are able to tolerate hotter days better than we can. However, that does not mean they are immune to heat related illnesses, especially in excessively hot conditions. Here are some potential dangers to look out for, and how you can help keep your cats cool in the dog days of summer.
Cats can suffer from heat stroke if exposed to extremely hot conditions. If not treated quickly, it can lead to permanent damage to their organs and worse. Some signs to look out for are: excessive panting, wet paws (cats sweat through their paws), vomiting, and unresponsiveness. Cats don’t pant like dogs do, so if you see your cat breathing through the mouth, you should check for heat exhaustion. Vomiting may be a little tricky because it could just be something the cat ate, but if the weather is very hot, perhaps you should err on the side of caution. With any of these signs, a visit to the vet is a good idea. Better that it’s a false alarm than waiting too long to get medical attention.
Prolonged exposure to the sun can lead to sunburn in cats. Yes, cats can get sunburn just like us. Cats with lighter coats are more susceptible. Even cats that have dark coats, if they have white ears or pink noses, those areas could get affected. The best way to keep your cats safe from sunburn is to keep them indoors, with the shades drawn. If your cat is a primarily an outdoor cat, try creating an area with plenty of shade that they can relax in. Additionally, try to avoid letting your cat outside when the sun’s rays are at their peak. Sunburn can be serious, and the best remedy is prevention.
On hot days, water can be your cat’s best friend. Make sure to have plenty of water available, especially if you’re going to be away from home. One suggestion is provide several bowls of water. That way, if your cat happens to knock one over by accident, there will still be water available. Perhaps, you could even fill one of the bowls with ice water so that by the end of the day, there’s still a bowl of cool water.
Cool spots and shade
If you have an indoor cat, you could try setting up a cool spot where your cat can go when the temperature gets warmer. It can be a spot on the cool tile in the kitchen, or just a shady area in the house. If there’s a room that gets little or no sunlight, that could be an ideal place for your cat to hang out in the afternoon. Try placing the water bowl and a few toys in that room to draw your cat there. If your cat is an outdoor cat, seek out an area in the yard where there’s plenty of shade, perhaps under a tree. If there isn’t such an area, try creating it. You could set up a small gazebo for your cat to hide out in. A bed and a bowl of water under the gazebo would be a nice, cool oasis when the sun beats down.
A little planning can go a long way when it comes to keeping your cats safe from the heat. We’re only at the midpoint of the summer, and there will undoubtedly be more days of hot temperatures. Let’s help our furry feline friends stay cool. It will keep us cool as well knowing they’re comfortable while we’re away.
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