In the wake of a mild winter, predictions are for a scorcher of a summer in Southern Australia, and our cats will need to manage the sometimes fierce bursts of high temperatures that are typical of Australian summers. Here are some things to think about.
Add a few extra water bowls around the house to make sure that kitty always has one close by. Refresh them frequently with cool water. Take extra care to keep older cats well hydrated as their kidneys may have become less effective. Try adding a few ice cubes to a water bowl for a treat.
Keep on top of grooming as cats shed their winter coats. Some breeds will benefit from clipping so check with your vet. Also, check with your cat. Some individuals will dislike being clipped to the point of becoming badly distressed. Attempting a small clip of somewhere like their tummy will let you know.
Provide somewhere cool and shady
Cats with an outdoor run will need somewhere cool and out of the sun to spend the hottest hours of the day. Allow for the movement of the sun as different areas become more or less shady. If it’s a very hot day it might be better for them to stay in the house. If you do, make sure there is adequate ventilation. Some thoughtful owners leave on the aircon! A box fan set to low is a more economical solution that a cat might enjoy.
Watch out for sunburn
Cats can get sunburn like us. Breeds with pale ears and pink noses are especially prone. Repeated exposure can lead to the development of cancers. If your cat likes to lay in the sun, there are cat-specific sunblocks to apply. Don’t be tempted to use human sun blocks – they are unsuitable and may even be toxic to your cat.
Parasites and the insects that carry them (such as mosquitoes) become more active and numerous especially in the Southern states during summer. Keep up the preventives for fleas, ticks and heartworm.
Keep vaccinations up to date
Many of us like to take holidays during the summer months. When boarding your cat, remember that individual catteries may have different vaccination requirements so plan in advance.
Watch out for heat stress
When it is especially hot, watch out for signs of distress in your cat. Cats affected by heat stress appear distressed and restless. They may vomit. They may drool excess amounts of saliva from their nose and or mouth or become unsteady on their feet and collapse. If this happens, remove the cat from the hot environment immediately. Apply or spray a little cool (not cold) water and fan them gently to assist cooling. Take your cat to your vet who will have a range of treatments to address the immediate and longer-term effects of heatstroke.
So… enjoy your summer and, with these few considerations, your cat will enjoy it with you.