It’s summer and the temperatures are rising! A few weeks ago a heat wave hit the country and not only did we humans have trouble with it, so did the animals. A lot of homes here have outdoor cats. They only come inside to eat and to stay there during the night and go back outside first thing in the morning when their owner is going to work or school. Even though it’s almost the end of August, It’s still hot here!
For indoor cats it’ss easier for them to stay cool. The bathroom is often cooler, some houses have airco, have a fan and there is often always water available. But how can we keep outdoor cats cool?
How Do Cats Sweat?
Cats cool off by sweating through the pads on their paws. But those pads are too small to let the cat cool down completely. If you see your cat grooming himself a lot during the hot weather, this is also a way of cooling down. They lick their fur, leave saliva on their fur which then evaporates and cools them down.
It’s a good idea to keep outdoor cats inside during extremely hot days. You can keep them in an air-conditioned room and have their water and food bowl with them (don’t forget about the litterbox). But sometimes this can cause problems, especially if cats aren’t used to be indoor for a long time. They can meow, scratch the doors or do something else.
Keep bowls of fresh water outside in a place where there will always be shade. Cats aren’t animals that are known to drink a lot, but during the hot weather they may drink more than usual.
You can also freeze a bowl of water the night before and place it outside during the heat. It keeps the water cool for a longer time. You can also put ice cubes in the bowl and let him play with it which may encourage your cat to drink move.
If your outdoor cat doesn’t mind getting wet, get him wet! Give him a bath or spray with a squirt bottle. If he doesn’t like getting wet or not completely wet, you can run a damp towel or wet hands over his fur. Start things slowly and praise them to let them get used to it.
Dead fur and matted hair can trap the heat against the cat’s body which isn’t pleasant if the temperatures are very high. So make sure to groom your cat to keep matted hair and dead fur away.
Make sure your outdoor cats have access to shaded areas. Let him have his freedom and he’ll find his own cool spot. Do not keep him confined in a place that starts as a shaded area. The sun moves and during the day that shaded, confined area may be full in the sun. Concrete and asphalt also becomes very hot so make sure your garden has some nice shady spots or create them yourself by using (old) cloths.
If you have a greenhouse always check the building before closing the door behind you. The building can become very, very hot on the inside just like other uninsulated or non-ventilated buildings. If your cat gets locked up here by accident, things may not end well!
Written for The Anipaltimes.