Ahh, summer. The time for bird watching and belly rubs in the sun—if you’re a cat, that is. But along with all of that goodness, the hotter months of the year are also a time for pant-inducing heatwaves, which is why it is so important to keep our cats safe during the summer.
It’s typical for people to worry about dogs in the summer heat, but cats also need extra care when the temperatures rise.
Ready to learn summer safety for your cat?
Follow the tips to purr-pare yourself below!
10 Tips for Keeping Your Pet Cat Safe this Summer
- Keep Them Inside
- Always Have Fresh Water Available
- Protect Them From Parasites
- Cool Them Down
- Avoid Going for Car Rides
- Provide Proper Care During Vacations
- Limit Excessive Exercise
- Give Them a Summer Haircut
- Securely Screen Your Windows
- Prepare for Stressful Events
Keep Them Inside
The safest place for your cat to be this summer—and any time of year, really—is inside. Your home helps protect your cat from other animals, cars, and humans that could cause them harm. Not to mention, your air-conditioned home is a much more comfortable environment for your kitty.
If you feel like your cat absolutely has to go outside, be smart about it. Keep them on a leash and harness or, better yet, make a fun summer project for the family by building an enclosed catio!
Always Have Fresh Water Available
Cats don’t tend to seek out water, thanks to a low thirst drive. That’s why it’s important that we encourage them to stay hydrated during the hot summer. Always have clean water available for your kitty and consider buying a water fountain. The moving water in fountains entices cats to drink, while signaling to them that it is fresh.
Protect Them From Parasites
Even if your cats don’t go outside for supervised play time, it’s important to protect them from parasites. Fleas, ticks, mosquitos, and more can easily be carried into the house on your clothing or fly in when a door or window is open. Talk to your vet about the right preventative care plan for your cat.
Cool Them Down
Cats don’t pant quite as often or dramatically as dogs, but they still get hot! Give yours lots of opportunities to keep cool by maintaining a comfortable home. That means air conditioning, fans, and even special pet cooling pads. When my cats get hot, their favorite thing to do is stretch out on top of my cool desk.
Avoid Going for Car Rides
Cars are one of the worst places to be on a summer day—especially for an animal. Try to keep from having your cat go on any car rides during the summer. Instead, plan annual vet visits and other necessary outings for earlier in the spring or later in the fall.
Provide Proper Care During Vacations
Summer is the time of year when everyone goes on vacation, oftentimes leaving their kitties home alone. I strongly urge you not to do this. You never know when your air conditioning could stop working and your cat could get too hot. If you are planning to go out of town without your cat, consider boarding them with a trusted vet or having a qualified pet sitter stop by your home at least once a day to check in.
Limit Excessive Exercise
I’m not saying to stop your cat from exercising altogether—exercise is important for cats—what I am saying is to not go crazy with it. You don’t want your cat to overheat! Try using an interactive cat toy so that you can help set the tone for playtime and keep them safe.
Give Them a Summer Haircut
Cat grooming isn’t always the most common thing to do, but it sure can help cool your kitty down! If your cat has long, thick hair, consider having their hair trimmed down for the summer. Many groomers will even give cats cute lion hairdos, which just makes the whole thing that much more fun.
Before handing your kitty over to a groomer, make sure they are good with cats, and that they are willing to let you be there while the cut is taking place. If grooming won’t work for your cat, simply brushing her each day will help relieve some heat while helping you and your cat to bond!
Securely Screen Your Windows
Like many homeowners, you may be looking forward to flinging open your windows for some fresh air this summer. But before you do, make sure they are properly screened!
And still please be careful and supervise your cat even if your windows have screens. Cats can climb them, and the screen can pop out. The safest thing you can do for your cat is to keep your windows closed altogether.
Prepare for Stressful Events
Summer fun for humans can often become nightmares for animals. Parties, houseguests, and fireworks can be extremely triggering and stressful for your cat. If you’re planning on hosting an event—or the Fourth of July is coming up—try to prepare your kitty by giving them a safe place to hide and using a calming spray for cats.
And don’t forget to make sure your cat’s microchip is up-to-date! Lots of animals run away each summer while scared. No one ever thinks it will happen to their family, but if it does, you’ll have a lot better luck being reunited if your pet is microchipped and has your current contact information.
How to Help Community Cats During the Summer
Our companion cats aren’t the only felines who need cared for during the hot summer months. Community cats, aka the cats who roam freely around our neighborhoods, also need special attention and someone to watch out for them.
If you have a community cat near you, help them out with these three tips:
- Supply Ice Water
- Feed During Dawn and Dusk
Supply Ice Water
There’s nothing more unappealing than a bowl of hot water outside. Not only will it taste bad and likely be home to bugs, but it will be uncomfortable for a cat to drink. Help the outdoor kitties in your neighborhood out by providing them with clean ice water each day—multiple times each day, if possible! You’ll help keep the cat hydrated, healthy, and comfortable.
Feed During Dawn and Dusk
If you help out your community cats by feeding a colony, consider timing their feedings with the coolest parts of the day. The cats will probably be more willing to eat when it isn’t so hot. Also try to feed them in the shade, as long as the area is safe for them.
This should go without saying, but if you have feral or community cats in your area, make sure to TNR them. TNR means to “trap, neuter, return”. This humane sterilization process should cut down on both the immediate and long-term suffering of the cat. Reach out to local animal shelters in your area to learn more and to get involved with this life-saving work.
No matter how you plan on spending your summer, make it a great one by keeping your cat safe! Want to see what my cats are up to during their summer vacation? Head on over to the Pawsitive Purrpose Instagram and follow along!
We hope your summer is pawsitively purrfect.
I know a lot about cats, but I’m not a veterinarian. Please don’t take any of the statements I give as medical advice and do always consult your trusted vet, especially if your cat is experiencing behavioral or physical challenges.