Walking With Your Cat in Hot Weather
Summer invokes imagery of having fun outside, enjoying the sun and spending time outside with friends & family.
To most of us, this also includes dreams of spending time outside with our fur babies.
The rose coloured view of this dream tends to forget about the hot temperatures, the humidity and the potential for heatstroke and dehydration.
Our kitties are just like us – they may struggle in hot weather, feel uncomfortable and maybe even feel dehydrated.
For catexplorers, this becomes challenging as in summer we are lured to have more adventures outside. But this increases the risk of our kitties struggling with potential heat stroke, sunburn and dehydration.
We asked the Catexplorer Community about how they keep their kitties safe in summer while itching their catexploring itch.
Change the Way You Explore
Stay in Sheltered Areas
One way to help your kitty stay cooler while exploring in the heat is to explore in sheltered areas. For example, under trees or in forests/woods.
Change Exploring Times
The sun is typically the hottest between 9am and 3pm. We recommend that you do not explore during this time.
Perhaps you can go exploring early in the morning or in the evening. An added bonus of this is that there will be less people and dogs around and less chances that your kitty will be spooked.
By reducing the length of the time you spend exploring, it will also reduce the amount of time your cat is exposed to the heat.
This is the most tempting option where cats go exploring in locations that are not exposed to heat.
Options include air-conditioned pet stores, breweries, pubs and shopping malls.
Another idea is to explore at higher elevations, where it is cooler.
As it is typically coolest at home, you and your kitty can stay home when it is hot.
And this does not have to be boring! There are so many fun games to play!
Perhaps you can use a wand toy to run around the house, or develop an obstacle course for them. Another popular kitty game is fetch (it’s not just for dogs!). We also love the idea of simple box and paper bag games. Add a little bit of catnip and your kitty will love it. And if you are so inclined, there are some amazing tablet games or even videos for cats that will keep your kitty fascinated for hours.
Stay Safe Outside
Because we wear shoes, it is easy to forget how hot the floor outside can get during summer.
Unfortunately, our cats do not wear shoes and their paw comes into direct contact with the floor. As such, they may burn their beautiful toe beans from the ground.
To make sure that the floor is not too hot for them, place your hand on the floor for 11 seconds. If it is unbearable for you – it is too hot for your kitty.
Either use a frozen water bottle or an ice pack to keep your cat cool.
We recommend that you wrap it in a towel and place it in a location where your cat can move away from it if it becomes too cold.
There are also cooling mats that your cat can lie on when you are resting.
No, we don’t mean the fans that you have on Instagram!
We mean little portable fans that help keep you cool. You can attach a small handheld portable fan to your cat’s backpack to help keep them cool.
Cats sweat through their toes.
By soaking a towel in cool water, you can cool the towel and then use this to dab at your cat’s toe beans. This will help cool them.
As with humans, you can keep your cat cool by using water. One option is to wet their head and body using a towel or your hand. Another option (provided that your cat is open to this) is to give them a bath.
Our kitties are just like us, long periods in the sun can cause sunburn. White cats and cats with pink ears and noses are particularly susceptible.
We suggest using a dog sunscreen for your cat (as there are no cat sunscreens). The Petkin Doggy Sunstick looks like and applies like zinc, and is relatively easy to use if your cat is distracted.
Cats are notorious for not drinking water and as such risk becoming dehydrated.
Signs of dehydration include:
Sticky or tacky gums
Skin that does not snap back into place
Sunken and dry eyes
Cool or cold paws
If you think your cat is dehydrated, contact your veterinarian immediately.
Keeping Your Cat Hydrated
There are several ways to keep your cat hydrated while exploring.
As cats are not the best with drinking water, we may need to “trick” our kitties into drinking water while out and about.
Creamy treats are typically a favourite or you can add water into your cat’s wet food to give them that extra hydration.
To stop it from being messy, you can feed your kitty using a spoon.
If it is hot while walking your cat on a leash, you can use your hand to wet their lips with some water. They will naturally lick their lips and then ingest the water.
Another innovative idea is to use a syringe feeder to feed them water. However, do not force them to drink this way as it may scar them emotionally. This option is usually preferable to cats who have been syringe fed as kittens.
We also recommend that you purchase a collapsible bowl, which makes it easier for you to provide water for your kitty while out and about.
Your Cat, The Car and Hot Weather
While we are in a rush, it can be tempting to leave our cats in the car. However, we strongly recommend that you do not do this as it is dangerous and temperatures in a car can rise quickly!
Instead, prior to entering the car with your cat, we suggest that you cool the car first with air conditioning. You can even use a cooling mat in the car.
It may be tempting to place your cat in front of the air conditioning vents when it is hot. However, we do not recommend this as it can cause your cat to develop pneumonia.
How do you keep your cat cool while exploring with them?