Summertime pet care can be a tricky topic. Here are some tips on how to keep cats happy and healthy in the summertime.
Access to Water
Make sure your cat has constant access to clean, fresh and cool water. If traveling with your cat, have an insulated thermos of cool water with you. As they cannot perspire to cool off, it is even more important to cats than it is to us to be able to drink cool water at any time.
Access to Shade
Temperature differences between full sun and shade can range up to 15 degrees Fahrenheit in the summertime. If, like my kittyboy, your cat goes outside on a long retractable leash make sure it can easily get to a shady spot (which is also the ideal place for the water bowl). Inside, it is a good idea to make that cats have access to high places that are not in direct sunlight. That way they can stare down at everyone in all their feline superiority without risk of overheating.
Never, Ever Leave Cats in the Car
Do not leave cats in a car unattended. Not even for “just a minute”. A parked car can turn into a furnace in quite literally just a minute which may result in heat exhaustion, brain damage and even death. This risk of sudden overheating applies no matter how shady your parking spot is. Remember, cats cannot sweat to cool off.
Watch Out for Toxic Plants
Like humans, cats can be poisoned if they eat the wrong plants. Unfortunately, just knowing which plants you should avoid eating does not provide the same knowledge to keep your cat safe. Onions, for instance, can poison cats. Some cat-poisonous plants are listed here. Consulting your veterinarian about which plants to look out for would also be a good idea.
Watch Out for Fertilizer
Fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides and plant food used in gardening are all potential poisons to your cat. Check the labels on these products before you use them anywhere your cat has access to.
Flea and Tick Control
Fleas and ticks often become more active over the warmer months. Using a preventative medication is a wise choice in summertime pet care. Be certain that it is cat-specific, as treatments meant for dogs can poison cats.
Collar and ID Tag
Wearing a collar with an ID tag just may ensure a lost cat returns home safely.
Boxes and Bags
While cats generally strongly dislike having solid furniture rearranged, they are quite fond of new boxes and bags they can hide in. Boxes and bags may also provide some shade or make a cool spot even cooler. Simply hiding in a bag or box and anticipating springing out to pounce on passerby can sometimes keep a cat entertained for hours.
For Further Information
The Humane Society of the United States has a good general page on summertime pet care and links to information on more specific issues.