Cats need to keep their cool, too.
By Malcolm Mayhew
As part of our ongoing series about National Pet Hydration Awareness Month, we recently offered tips on keeping our dogs cool as temperatures across the country continue to soar. But let’s not forget about cats, since they can suffer from overheating and heat exhaustion, too.
“Signs of overheating in cats are similar to dogs and may include panting/fast breathing/open mouthed breathing, hypersalivating, red gums/tongue, lethargy, vomiting, and diarrhea,” says Genna Mize, DVM, Consulting and Reporting Veterinarian for Virbac. “This is an emergency we want to avoid.”
Below are some tips on how to keep your feline friends cool during this super-hot summer.
- Make sure fresh - and cool! - water is always available. To keep the water nice and cool, you may need to change it a few times a day. Also, set up multiple bowls of water throughout your living space, so they won’t have to move far for a drink.
- If you live in a home not equipped with an air conditioner, consider purchasing a fan and positioning it in your cat’s favorite hangout or sleeping area. Close blinds and curtains to keep out as much sunlight as possible.
- The Healthy Pet Club recommends combing or brushing your cat’s coat, smoothing out any tangles or mats that could possibly trap heat.
- Most cats dislike baths, but a damp towel can help keep them cool, according to VetsNow.com. Try dampening a cloth with cold water and gently stroking the parts of their bodies that get the warmest: including their underside, paw pads, underarms, underneath the chin and the outer ears (if your kitty will tolerate it!).
- If you care for outdoor cats, make sure there’s plenty of shade to help shield them from the sun, and keep their water dishes full. If your cat roams freely inside and outside, keep them indoors as much as possible from mid-morning until evening.
- Let them play with ice cubes on a tile floor. This will help cool their paw pads. You can also try your hand at making them frozen cat treats.
In order to increase your cat’s water intake this summer for optimal hydration, consider the following:
- Ask your veterinarian about the REBOUND® Recuperation Formula for Cats, which helps support hydration. (There is also a product specifically for dogs).
- Add a small amount of tuna or chicken broth to their water or food to enhance taste and hydration.
- Try a canned (wet) diet or provide the option in conjunction with their dry food.
We hope these tips help keep your cats cool, happy and hydrated this summer!