Zoë Knows: Keeping Your Cat Cool in the Summer

Zoë is 11 years old and loves cats. She loves learning about cats and how best to take care of them and has agreed to share her knowledge with us as she learns. When she’s not hanging out with her two cats Libra (age 4) and Spooky (age 14), Zoë likes to read, draw, cook, and swim at the beach. 

Yes, cats like to be warm, and can usually be found sleeping in the sunniest spots of the house, but what many cat owners don’t feel the need to consider is that cats (like humans) do experience discomfort in the heat. So as the temperature rises, it’s your job as a cat owner to know how to keep your cat happy this Summer and for years to come.

My grandparents' cat, Ginny, cooling her belly

My grandparents’ cat, Ginny, cooling her belly

#1. It’s as important for cats to stay hydrated as it is for humans. Some owners like to put ice cubes in their cat’s water bowl, but I prefer to use refrigerated water and sometimes freeze the bowl. You should also make sure to refill the bowls frequently and maybe have multiple bowls around your house.

#2. Another way to keep your cat cool is to give them little “baths”. But don’t worry, you won’t need to dunk your cat in freezing water, a scenario only resulting in scratches and hissing. All you need to do is fill a bowl with cold water and find your cat. It’s best to do this when your cat is lying down, or maybe a bit tired. You definitely don’t want to force this on your cat, certain cats might not like this. Either wet your hands, or wet a small towel and gently rub your cat. If you have a kitten, it may remind them of their mother grooming them.

#3. If you’re cat is longhaired, you might want to give them a small haircut. This will not only make it more comfortable for them, but it will be easier for you to groom them. You should also groom your cat more often since in the summer cats shed a lot.

#4. Your cat needs a cool place to sleep. Keep a few spaces uncovered by carpet or blankets for your cat to lie on. If your windows need to be open, you should have secure screens, of course. But we have had too many VOKRA foster cats push screens out and escape this summer! We recommend that windows be locked in place and not open more than two inches. Consider putting a fan near one of your cat’s favourite sleeping spots. Make sure that shade is available and that your cat is never overheating.

#5. When we’re focusing on what to do, its hard to remember that there are things that we shouldn’t do. First of all is gel packs. We do not recommend using these to keep your cat cool as they may contain toxic ingredients that may be dangerous to your cat if they chew on the pack. Ice packs under towels are okay though.

Any time you see your cat panting, having trouble breathing, (looking like he’s) losing consciousness or even drooling take action and go to a vet immediately. Make sure to keep a close eye on your cat, especially if your cat is a senior.

Though this past week or two our weather hasn’t been super sunny, it’s still important to know the basics. Once you know that your cat is safe, both you and your cat can relax and enjoy the long, hot summer break.

My cat, Libra, considering a cool bath

My cat, Libra, considering a cool bath

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