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As average temperatures rise and heatwaves become more common, it's more important than ever to have a plan in place to keep your cats cool and safe. On the hottest days, air conditioners and fans are essential. But sometimes even those aren't enough. Giving your cat a comfortable summer retreat doesn't have to be expensive. In fact, you probably already have most of the tools hanging around your home.
Wet cloth: Soak a cloth in cold water and use it to wet down your cat. Focus on her head, belly, and pads of her feet for maximum coolness.
Ice cubes: Put ice cubes in her water during the hottest parts of the day to keep her water cool and refreshing. Just like humans, cats need to stay hydrated in the heat, and ice cubes in her water bowl will prompt her to drink more.
Water bottle: Fill an empty plastic bottle with water and stick it in your freezer (leave a bit of room when filling the bottle, as the contents will expand when frozen). On hot days, remove the frozen bottle, slip it into a sock, and place it in the corner of your cat's bed or her favorite napping spot. Having the frozen bottle nearby will help lower her body temperature to a more comfortable one.
Down time: On hot days, your cat may become uncharacteristically lazy. Laying low and still will help keep her cool. If you are inclined to initiate playtime, mornings and evenings (when it will be cooler) are best.
On hot days, don't be alarmed to find your cat hiding out in abnormal places, such as under your bed, in a closet, or tucked in the space behind your toilet. Trust her instincts, which will draw her to the coolest spots in the home, and let her be.
Watch carefully for signs of heat stroke, such as heavy panting, vomiting, glazed eyes, skin that is hot to the touch, and staggering. A heat stroke is dangerous and can be fatal to your cat. If you notice any of these signs, seek care from your veterinarian immediately.
Who is Mieshelle Nagelschneider?
Meet Mieshelle Nagelschneider, ACCBC, a cat behaviorist and author of the science-based cat behavior book, The Cat Whisperer (Random House Publishing w/ co-writer Cameron Powell). Her passion and curiosity about cats, along with her study in animal behavior, has enabled her to help thousands of cat owners solve their cats' behavior issues for over two decades.