Cats do not get a vacation from the dog days of summer, and they need your help to keep summertime annoyances at a minimum. Learn how to keep your kitties cool and free from parasites, hairballs, and other nasty things that savage their comfort during the year’s hottest season, with these tips for summertime comfort for cats.
You know the drill: the sun is blinding, relentlessly beating down reminiscent of a Stephen King novel. If you don’t have air conditioning, you seek out shady spots and sigh in relief from the slightest breeze, otherwise you huddle inside. Your thirsty body craves fluids, and the beverage of choice suddenly becomes water. Consider that long before you reach this state, your cat may be exhibiting signs of heatstroke. Learn the symptoms and what to do.
Don’t Let Fleas Win the War!
You’ve seen them – tiny, quick creatures that scurry through your cat’s fur, feasting on her blood, and causing painful itching – so bad that kitty may scratch herself raw in seeking relief. Summertime is particularly bad for fleas, making it even more important to nip those little suckers in the bud. Help your cat with regular flea control.
Give Kitty a Safe Outdoor Experience
Cat lovers who want their cats to enjoy fresh air, sunshine, and the ambience of trees, bushes, and plants, often feel guilt by confining their cats to the indoors. Today, however, we understand the hazards of allowing cats to roam freely, either by personal experience, hearsay, or through the media, including the Internet. On the other hand, there are some safe compromises to offer your indoor cat the best of both worlds, without the potential hazards of free roaming outdoors. Consider an underground cat fence or a cat enclosure.
Plant a Garden for Your Cat
If you enjoy gardening, plant a small garden just for your cat, with cat-safe herbs and flowers. Ideally, it will be inside an outdoor enclosure, but any corner of your yard will do, as long as your cat is carefully supervised while enjoying his own garden. You haven’t lived until you have seen a cat roll around in a fresh bed of catnip!
Build an Outdoor Sanctuary for Your Cats
One of the best ways for cats to enjoy a safe outdoors experience is with their own outdoor sanctuary. It can be as simple or complex as you have the time, space, and materials for. Work from your own plans or use some of these links to outdoor cat enclosures as references. If you’re not a do-it-yourselfer, kits are also available.
Several years of publicity and warnings about VAS (vaccine-associated sarcoma) have led some cat owners to believe that all vaccines are bad for cats. Not entirely true! Learn the approved vaccination protocols recommended byt the VAS Task Force as well as the American Veterinary Association and the American Association of Feline Practitioners; especially the importance of core vaccines.
Don’t Forget Cool Water!
Although cats are by history desert creatures, they still need a ready source of cool, clean water at all times. Even cats who don’t drink a lot of water often enjoy drinking from an automatic pet fountain. We have two, and keep several ice cubes floating in each to add interest during the very hottest days. The cats all love them!
Summertime and Hairballs
Nothing is quite so alarming as hearing the “hack-hack-hack” of a cat trying to cough up a hairball. And almost nothing is as disgusting as seeing one on the floor, unless it is stepping on it at night in bare feet. Ughh! Seriously though, although hairballs may be the topics of jokes among thoughtless humans, they are a source of discomfort or worse, for cats, and they are particularly bad in the summer, when cats tend to shed more. Give your cat hairball relief this summer.
Grooming is Especially Important in Summer
While cats are basically self-cleaning animals, there are times when they definitely need human assistance, in the form of claw trimming, detangling mats, routine brushing for prevention of hairballs, dental care products to help prevent tooth decay and loss, and the occasional bathing when they’ve rolled in something nasty. It cats are going to get their coats in a mess, it will be more likely in hot weather, and they will greatly appreciate soothing baths, detangling, and mat-free coats in the summer.
When Appetites Wane
Cats tend to eat less in the summer, just as humans do, and a small amount of seasonal weight fluxuation is perfectly normal. But a very heavy cat who loses weight very quickly is susceptible to a condition called hepatatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease.) Here are some times for coaxing a finicky cat to eat, before she reaches that stage.
Don’t Forget Playtime!
While cats may prefer to nap away during warm days of summer, they still need regular exercise to remain fit, trim, and alert. Set aside 15 minutes or so in the early mornings and evenings, open windows to let fresh air in, and indulge in some interactive play with your favorite feline. Don’t allow him to get too tired, and follow playtime with a light snack for him, some iced tea for you, and some cuddle time for both of you. Your rewards will be priceless.