Kitties are known for loving warm spot for sleeping in, but as the temperature rises, so too does the risk of sunburn (yes, even with their fur coats, cats can be sunburnt just like us humans!) and even skin cancer.
White cats, and those that have white tips on their ears are most at risk as their skin doesn’t have the pigmentation that protects against sunlight and UV rays, leaving them more vulnerable than black cats. Your cat’s nose and event their paws are areas with little fur, so they are exposed to the sun.
Tips for making your cat’s life easier over summer
So, to protect your kitty during this summer’s heatwave, here are a few simple tips to keeping your furry feline companions safe, and cool:
- Use a vet-recommended sunscreen for your cat – or a non-toxic one for kids if you can’t get one especially for cats – and rub a small amount on his or her ears and nose before they go out for the day.
- Place bowls of water around your home, away from their food bowls, to encourage them to drink more and stay hydrated – also ensure there are bowls outside in the garden under a table or out of direct sunshine.
- Freeze water in a 2 litre bottle and wrap it in a towel then lay it somewhere for your cat to lie down next to, to take the heat off.
- Have small fans dotted around your home, at floor-level, so kitties can lie down next to them. Our cats are all scared of fans when they are first turned on, due to the rotating blades’ noise, but they soon plug up the courage to lie near them when they have worked out how cooling the breeze is.
- Keep sheds and greenhouse doors closed so your cat doesn’t slip in and get trapped in there when you’re not looking. Greenhouses can get particularly hot during summer after all, and you wouldn’t want to be trapped in one overnight or for the day I’m sure.
- If you don’t have a garden table for them to find shade under, set up an area in the corner of your garden that gets the least sun for them to nestle into and under when it gets too hot.
- If your cat is more of an indoors one, close the curtains in your bedroom and/or living room so they have at least one room in the house that is cooler, without any direct sunlight.
- Put BBQs out fully afterwards – using water to cool them so your cat doesn’t get burned while he or she is foraging around in the ashes looking for scraps.
- If you’re doing gardening, make sure your pest-control sprays are animal-friendly. For example, some slug pellets can be fatal to cats – if they have metaldehyde in them – so avoid those ones at all costs as they are NOT pet-safe.
- Lilies are dangerous for cats – they have a toxic flower – so to be safe, if you must have lilies in your garden, put them in pots up out of the way and not in the flowerbed, where cats might brush past them or even eat them.
- The heat is prime weather conditions for fleas to thrive in, so be vigilant with your cat’s flea protection. We use weekly treatments for our four cats as some of them are social and like to mix with neighbouring kitties, so weekly means we’re 100% sure they are less likely to catch fleas and bring them home to share around the others, but monthly ones may also work for your kitties.
- Groom your cat regularly – although this is important all the time, in the summer your cat’s coat will be moulting so they’ll need your help more now to keep it matt-free. Removing the excess hair with a cat brush will also mean they are a bit cooler.
Signs your cat has sunstroke
If your kitty is dribbling or panting excessively then he or she may be dehydrated and suffering from sunstroke. If this happens, wet a towel in cool water then ring it out and place the damp towel over their back and sides to cool them down. Place them in front of a cool fresh water source and encourage them to drink their fill. If they do not perk up, take them to the vet – better to be safe than sorry with the temperatures rocketing like they have been these past few weeks.