It's the summer. The humans have retrieved their shorts and t-shirts from the back of the wardrobe, dusted off their sunglasses and are heading to the park to enjoy the nice weather. But spare a thought for your furry friends who don't have the luxury of taking off a few layers of clothing. In this post we explore ways to ensure that your cats are comfortable during hot weather.
As we have said on other posts, Noggins and Binkles hail from hot countries so are quite used to the temperatures that we see in the UK summer. That said, there are some practical things that you can do to ensure that your furry friend stays comfortable and healthy in hot weather.
1) Provide Plenty of Water
The most important thing that you can do to keep your cat comfortable and healthy in hot weather is provide a source of fresh, clean water for them to drink. This can be as simple as providing one or two bowls of water around your house. We recommend that you change the water in each bowl a few times during the day to keep it cool and to clear out any hair or debris that might fall in during the day. To help keep a bowl of water cool, you can also drop in an ice-cube or two into the bowl.
The other option is to invest in a water fountain. A water fountain is a relatively inexpensive way of ensuring that your cat always has access to clean, cool water throughout the day and is particularly useful if you are out during the day and unable to change water in a bowl. There are a number of different water fountains on the market. Noggins and Binkles use a two litre pet fountain from Pet Mate which includes multi-height drinking stations, an isolated pump system for quiet operation and a polymer-carbon filter for water purification. Having multiple levels not only means that the water is kept cool but provides some running water to suit cats (you know who you are) who quite like to drink from a running tap. Even with multiple bowls of water and a water fountain you will still find Noggins drinking from the tap or a humans' glass of water!
2) Keep Your House Cool
It is important to try and keep your house or apartment as cool as possible during the summer months. This will definitely be appreciated by your furry friend. Not many properties in the UK have air conditioning, so you need to think of other ways to keep your home cool when the weather is hot. Of course you can open a window to help allow some fresh air in. However, you need to make sure that your windows are secure and won't let your cat sneak out. This is particularly true for indoor cats. We recommend keeping blinds and curtains closed on any side of your house or apartment that may be in direct sunlight during the day. Not only will this make the house more comfortable for your furry friend, but you will also feel the difference yourself.
3) Use a Fan to Help Cool a Room
In addition to closing curtains to keep the sun out of a room, you can also use a fan to help cool down a room and to get some cooler air circulating. If you are lucky enough to have a ceiling fan, like we did when we lived in Seychelles and Mauritius, these are fantastic and really help to keep a room cool, but standalone fans are also great and more common in the UK. Just remember to make sure the fan you use is safe and that your furry friend isn’t able to knock it over. This year we invested in a Dyson floor purifier and fan which has a heavy base and no spinning blades so it is fully Noggins and Binkles proof, having said that, Noggins loves lying in front of it, but Binkles still isn’t sure about the noise that it makes! It does help to keep the room cool though.
4) Regular Brushing
All cat owners will be familiar with moulting as the weather starts to get hotter. In most cases, moulting is a completely normal process which enables your cat to shed its heavier winter coat to help it to cope with hot weather. Brushing is a great way of removing any excess hair from your cat's coat and most cats love to be groomed with a brush, Noggins and Binkles both love it. When your furry friend is moulting, a build up of fur ingested through cleaning themselves can result in fur-balls, which can be uncomfortable for cats. This is made worse by the fact that cats can cool themselves through evaporation by licking their fur. Brushing helps to reduce the amount of fur that your cat ingests when cleaning and cooling itself and can, therefore, lead to your cat having a more comfortable time in hot weather.
5) Somewhere Cool to Sleep
It is important to ensure that there are cool places for your cat to relax in hot weather. This could be as simple as providing a nice cardboard box in a dark corner or a little spot under the bed. You can read our post on why cats like cardboard boxes so much here. We all know how much cats like to sleep and this is even more true in the hot summer months. It is important that your furry friend has the option of a nice cool place to sleep if he or she wants it. At Noggins & Binkles we are always surprised to find both Noggins and Binkles lying in front of a window in the sun, even when it is quite hot outside! Cats are actually quite good at regulating their own temperature and if you have stone or tile floors in your house, don't be surprised to see your cat opting to sleep on them rather than in the nice bed that you put out for them or you might even find them sleeping in the bathroom sink, as Binkles likes to sometimes!
Binkles enjoying a little nap in the cool sink during hot weather in his Pink Vegan Cork 'Leather' Breakaway Safety Cat Collar
The Blue Cross, which is a UK registered charity that has been helping sick, injured, abandoned and homeless pets since 1897, has a couple of suggestions for using ice to cool your furry friend down in the summer. First, they suggest letting your furry friend play with a couple of ice cubes on a hot day. They say that, in addition to providing a lot of fun, particularly on wooden or other hard floor surfaces, there is an important cooling effect because your cat loses a lot of its heat through the pads on its paws and the ice can accelerate this. The other idea that they have is to freeze some of the brine from your cat's favourite food into a kitty lolly.
7) Sun Protection
If your cats are outdoor cats, there are a couple of important precautions that we recommend. First, we suggest that you try not to let your cat out during the hottest part of the day between 11am and 3pm. If you do let your cat out, we recommend that you apply a pet-safe sun-screen to sensitive parts such as their ears and nose. This is particularly important for lighter coloured cats but we recommend it for all cats that are out hot days. It's important to make sure you use a pet-safe sunscreen and Battersea say that the pet-safe sunscreen you use on your cat should be titanium dioxide based and not include any zinc oxide, but if you aren't sure you should always consult your vet.
Remember, if you do let your cat outside, you should ensure that he or she is always wearing a collar and ID tag to help keep them safe. You can check out our collection of handmade luxury vegan breakaway safety cat collars here and our luxury solid brass and chrome cat ID tags here.
If you think your cat is behaving differently in the hot weather and is not their usual self we recommend consulting your veterinarian.
If your furry friend is a dog, you don't need to feel left out because we wrote a post about how to keep your dog cool in the summer here.