When it comes to protecting your pets from the dangers and discomforts of hot weather, most of the attention is focused on dogs. However, it is important to recognize that just because they may nap more during the day, cats are equally susceptible to summer heat. This goes for indoor pets as well as feral cat communities. As a result, it important for cat lovers to keep the following tips in mind to make sure your feline friends stay cool, comfortable and properly hydrated during the summer.
In fact, cats require a lot of water during the hot months, As a result, it is vital that you ensure they have enough to drink by making water available at all times. One suggestion is to use several bowls or even a pet water fountain so you don’t have to constantly refill them. You can also place ice cubes in the bowls to keep water cooler. In fact, lots of cats enjoy playing with the cubes. Also, make sure the bowls are placed in the shade. Other ways to make sure cats don’t get dehydrated is to feed them moist Food instead of dry kibble, or at least add water to the dry food.
Another way to keep feline food fresh is to place it in bug-proof bowls by either placing them in another dish filled with a moderate amount of water to create a “moat” insects won’t crawl through. Other alternatives are spreading a ring of baking soda around the water dish to keep ants out of it, as well as buying the copper tape (found at Home Depot and other hardware outlets) around the dishes.
It is also important not to leave any food (particularly outdoors) for more than 30-minutes to prevent spoilage. Remember, depending on their age and size, cats vary in the amount of food they generally consume. A good rule of thumb when feeding feral cats is to remember that most adults prefer to eat approximately 5.5 ounces of wet food and only about 2 ounces of dry, although some will eat more, while others may supplement their diets by killing small birds and rodents, etc.
Lastly, while cats are known for enjoying sunny spots to sleep, it is important to provide them with shady shelters as temperatures rise. These can include anything from sheds and overhangs to under deck areas. Even a Styrofoam cooler can be converted into a mini cat shelter. However, any little cat “house” should be placed on cool grass or among other plants, never on sidewalks or other pavement where they can burn their paws as well as their bodies. While a cat’s natural body temperature is somewhat higher than a human’s, overheating is still a danger. If your cat seems highly affected by the heat, seek veterinary help immediately.
Note: Brushing cats to rid them of excess hair is another way to help keep them cooler.
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