10 tips to care for your cat in the heat

Make sure your cat stays cool when things heat up. Read our top 10 ways to care for them in the heat.

1. Switch their bed

Most cat beds are designed to be comfy and cosy. However, during the hot weather these can often be too warm to sleep in.

Consider swapping it out for a summer bed that’s slightly elevated off the floor to encourage airflow, and made with lightweight, cooling materials.

 

2. Apply cat-friendly sun cream

Just like humans, cats can suffer from sunburn if they’re not properly protected. Breeds with short or white hair with pink ears are more at risk, so you need to be extra careful to shield them from the sun’s rays.

It’s essential to apply cat-specific sun cream to the sensitive areas of the body (nose, lips, tips of the ears and belly) and keep them out of the sun during the hottest part of the day.

Speak to your vet for advice on cat-friendly sun cream and your pet’s needs.

 

3. Circulate cool air

Keep your home cool and comfortable by setting up a few fans in various rooms or, if you have it, air conditioning.

This will help prevent your cat from overheating and give them a refreshing place to retreat to if they get too warm. Keeping curtains or blinds drawn will also minimise the amount of heat that comes through windows.

Remember to keep oscillating fans and exposed cables out of paws reach to keep your cat safe.

 

4. Keep them hydrated

Cats need to drink plenty of water during warm weather to prevent dehydration. Providing lots of fresh, clean water is essential, whether at home or in the garden.

There are lots of ways you can encourage your cat to drink more, including running taps, putting their bowls in unusual places and flavouring their drinking water.

Visit our advice page to find out how to keep your pet hydrated.

 

5. Ice packs

Create a refreshing ice pack for your cat by freezing a bottle of water and wrapping it in a towel or blanket.

These are perfect to pop into their bed or their favourite lounging spot and provide a much-needed cooling effect in the heat.

 

6. Provide shady spots

If your cat loves to lounge in the garden, it’s important to give them lots of shaded areas where they can relax away from the sun.

Shade created by trees or bushes is best as it allows air to circulate freely. Be aware of how the sun moves throughout the day to ensure your cat always has a shady spot to sit in.

You could even set up a shaded, makeshift hideout with their water bowl, an ice pack to sit next to and their favourite toys to encourage them to keep out of the hot sun.

 

7. Look out for more self-grooming

One of the ways that cats regulate their temperature is by licking their coat; this added moisture evaporates off their skin and gives a cooling effect.

Don’t be too alarmed if you notice your cat grooming themselves more often. However, if you think your cat may be struggling with the heat (dribbling, lethargic) speak to your vet for advice.

 

8. Don’t leave food out

Avoid leaving your cat’s food out all day, as it can become a breeding ground for bugs and bacteria in hot weather.

Only put wet food in your cat’s bowl when they’re present and ready to eat, then pick up any uneaten food after roughly 45 minutes to prevent bacteria spreading.

 

9. Keep outdoor cats inside

If your cat usually spends a lot of time outdoors, consider keeping them inside during the hottest part of the day if possible.

Not only does the air temperature rise between 12pm and 2pm, but pavements, asphalt and artificial grass can also become incredibly hot, causing burns and sores to your cat’s delicate footpads.

Try and coax your cat inside with a treat or toy on very hot days and keep the house cool and calm to encourage them to stay inside.

 

10. Be mindful of where they are

Certain areas of the house can get particularly hot in warm weather - think conservatories and garden sheds.

Be mindful that you don’t shut your cat in hot areas of the house with no exit. Although cats enjoy lazing in warm spots, they will eventually need to retreat to cooler surroundings to prevent overheating.

For more helpful advice about caring for your cat in the heat, speak to a member of your local Medivet practice.

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