Summer is here and there have been some high-temperature days already. What can you do to keep your indoor feline friend cool and healthy during summer?

As with humans, cats vary with how they adapt to the hotter days during summer. Some cats can cope with the heat, although there are still things we can do to help them stay cool. However, other cats may be more sensitive to the heat and need extra help. This can include any cat but especially flat-faced breeds, fluffy or long-haired cats, cats who are overweight, older cats and cats that have health issues such as kidney or thyroid disease.

Is your cat feeling the heat?

Some signs your cat may be feeling the heat include that they:

  • may sweat a bit through their foot pads
  • self-groom more and lick their fur which creates a cooling effect as the saliva evaporates
  • drink more water
  • spend time in cooler, shadier spots
  • stretch out on cool surfaces, such as ceramic tiles, to expose more of their body and release heat to cool down.

What you can do

Here are some ways you can keep your indoor cat cool during the hotter summer days:

  • use your air conditioner or fan and create at least one cooler room. If you use a fan, you can also place a bowl of ice or a frozen water bottle in front of it
  • close your curtains and blinds during the day
  • wipe your cat down with a cool, wet cloth
  • give your cat ice to play with or ice treats to eat
  • add ice to their water bowl or use a chiller bowl
  • brush your cat regularly to remove excess fur or if they have long hair, consider having their hair professionally clipped
  • give your cat a cooling mat to lay on
  • cool your cat’s paws in water
  • if your cat likes to have baths, give them a cool bath.

Key tip – keep your cat hydrated

Ensure you have cold, fresh water available for your cat at all times.

If, like many cats, your cat doesn’t usually drink a lot though, keep an eye on their intake. If they don’t seem to be drinking any more than usual during hot days, try these tips so they can stay hydrated:

  • add water to your cat’s food or give them more wet food
  • add ice cubes to their water bowl
  • provide a water fountain or leave your tap running to a trickle
  • offer them a glass of water as some cats prefer to drink from glasses
  • add some flavouring to water, like a small amount of water from a can of tuna
  • use an additive such as Oxyfresh to your cat’s water bowl or fountain.

When to see your vet

Despite our best efforts, sometimes our furry friends can be adversely affected by the heat and become overheated or dehydrated.

Possible signs of overheating or heat stroke include panting, rapid breathing, a lack of coordination, stumbling or falling, and lethargy.

Signs your cat may be dehydrated include sunken eyes, lethargy or depressed behaviour, pale, dry and sticky gums, rough fur and poor appetite.

If you’re worried about your cat, contact your vet straight away to discuss their symptoms. They may need to be put on an IV drip to be rehydrated.