Make sure you have a cool cat, not a hot-and-bothered moggy! With predictions that the rest of this summer could be a scorcher in the UK, owners need to be clued up on how to help their cats manage high temperatures.
Katrin Scholz, head nutritionist at AniForte, has some expert tips on how to best look after your cat this summer.
Provide Watering Holes
Cats are actually descended from desert dwelling animals and so are reasonably well equipped for the heat compared to the struggles that dogs can face. However they are not invincible!
To maintain levels of hydration is highly important. This may sound obvious, but if you don’t have a cat flap, pets can be shut out of the house for long periods of time and will need to source water by themselves.
The water doesn’t have to necessarily be totally fresh but there should be a choice of places available for the cat to drink from – for example, a pond or watering can.
Fresh Food Is Best
The choice of food is also important in maintaining cat’s hydration. Fresh food with a high meat content provides much better hydration than dry food and so is particularly good to use during the summer months. The AniForte PureNature range is perfect for providing good hydration with natural, fresh ingredients.
Ensure that there is cover and shade available. Picture: Fotolia
Going Under Cover
Ensure that you provide adequate shade and cover in your garden to allow cats to stay out of the sun and cool down at any time of the day, especially when the sun moves higher around midday.
Cats particularly enjoy the shade provided by plants. By stretching out over a moist bed of soil they can cool down quickly. Although always keep an eye on the kinds of plants they are favouring, often they will choose to chew on leaves, some of which can be poisonous to cats!
Removing loose fur will help your pet. Picture: iStockphoto.
You may notice that your pet cat appears to be cleaning more regularly than usual. This is to keep fur moist, which helps them to cool down.
We can also aid them in cooling down by grooming them thoroughly. Lots of fur is shed as the weather warms up, particularly in cats with thicker coats. By regularly brushing their coats, we can ensure that they are not carrying any unnecessary fur around with them.
In areas where cats grow little or no fur, sun tan lotion can be applied to protect from the sun’s rays. Places such as the ears and nose can benefit from protection. Be careful to only use creams free of preservatives and scents as the cat is likely to lick the cream off while washing itself.
Place an ice-filled bottle where your cat likes to lie. Picture: Fotolia.
Just like humans, cats can benefit greatly from using ice in the peak summer months. Drop a few ice cubes into their water bowl before you leave the house to top up the level in your absence while also cooling the water. Alternatively, part-fill a water bottle and leave it in the freezer until frozen. Wrap the bottle in a towel and leave it where your cat most enjoys lying down – they will appreciate it!
Cats are independent animals for the most part and so signs that the heat is taking its toll can sometimes be hard to spot. It is worth keeping a close eye on them during the hottest days.
If you are particularly worried that your pet is overdoing the sun-worshipping, consider only letting them out of the house during the cooler hours of the day, rather than in the midday sun.
I've worked on a variety of regional newspapers and national magazines. My Weekly is a fantastic, warm-hearted brand with an amazing, talented team. I'm a sub-editor and particularly love working on fiction and the advice pages - I feel I should know all the secrets of eternal life, health and happiness by now, but hey, we all need that weekly reminder!