Q: Can you give me some tips for keeping my cat cool this summer?
A: Cats seem to do better than we do in the hot weather. I think they have a knack for finding the cool spots. This reminds me of one kitty that took it to extremes. Though I have found that cats as a rule are not fond of air conditioning, one of my client’s cats, Louie, was crazy about her air conditioning window unit. As soon as she would turn it on, Louie would come flying out from wherever he was and sit directly in front of it. He had long white hair which would blow back from his face, just like he was riding in a convertible. It was very funny. She would keep it on a low cool setting for him, and as soon as he was refreshed and walked away, she would turn it up.
If you have central air conditioning that’s fine, but I never like the idea of leaving a window unit on when you are not at home. This is also true of table fans, which can be knocked over or anything that might harm curious cats. I like ceiling fans, which I have in each of my rooms and leave on continually. They circulate the air and create a nice breeze. Keeping your window blinds and shades down is a good way to lower room temperatures, as well. Open them just enough so your cat can look out but prevent the hot sun from coming in. Make sure all window screens are secure — as I always say, cats do not come with parachutes.
Always have plenty of cool fresh water available and add an extra water bowl during the summer. I put ice cubes in my cats’ water bowls. They love the crackling noise, so much so that if I come in with an iced coffee, they all run in for a look (sorry—no coffee for kitties though). I suggest feeding smaller portions of food throughout the day rather than one large meal of wet food. Large portions can spoil when left out. If you are gone all day, you might try a timer feeder, sold in pet stores.
Above all, use your judgment. If your cat shows signs of distress or heat exhaustion, take her to the vet right away.
I wish you and your kitties a healthy, safe summer.