One of the most common concerns cat lovers have during the summer months is how to care for neighborhood outdoor cats in hot weather, especially here in Arizona. With temperatures on the rise, it’s important to take the steps necessary for your feline friends. To keep them cool, comfortable, and healthy, follow these tips!
Provide Plenty of Water
Cats can quickly become dehydrated in hot weather, so it’s important to provide them with plenty of clean, fresh water. If you have multiple outdoor cats, consider providing several water sources to prevent overcrowding and ensure that each cat has access to water throughout the day. It’s also a good idea to check the water bowls regularly to make sure they haven’t become dirty or contaminated.
Cats love to bask in the sun, but they also need a shady spot to retreat to when the heat becomes too much. Consider providing a shaded area, such as a covered porch or a shady tree, where your cat can rest during the hottest part of the day. You can also provide a comfortable outdoor bed or a cat tree with a built-in shade to give your cat a comfortable place to nap.
Provide safe shelters. Cats need warm, dry places to stay that are away from populated areas. You can make one or purchase one.
Keep Your Cat Groomed
Cats are very good at grooming themselves, but during hot weather, they may need a little extra help. Brushing your cat regularly will help remove any excess fur and prevent matting, making it harder for your cat to regulate their body temperature. If your cat has long hair, consider giving them a summer trim to help keep them cool – but not too much, cats can get sun burned too!
Provide Plenty of Toys
Cats love to play, and providing plenty of toys and activities can help keep them active and engaged during the hot summer months. Consider providing toys that can be filled with treats or frozen to provide a cool, refreshing snack. You can also create a cat-friendly outdoor obstacle course or set up a sprinkler for your cat to play in.
Check for Signs of Heat Stroke
Heat stroke is a serious condition that can be life-threatening for cats. Signs of heat stroke include panting, drooling, lethargy, and vomiting. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, move them to a cool, shaded area immediately and provide them with water. If your cat’s condition does not improve, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
Provide Proper Nutrition
During hot weather, cats may need to eat more frequently to maintain their energy levels. Consider providing smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day, and make sure your cat has access to a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein and moisture-rich foods.
ALL cats in the colony, including any new cats who arrive. Discuss TNR plans with your neighbors to avoid confusion and concern. Let everyone know they can contact you with questions.
Explain the benefits of spay/neuter so your neighbors know you’re helping cats and improving the community. Inform them that there will be no more kittens if all of the cats are neutered, and that mating behaviors like yowling, and fighting will stop.
Keep Your Cat Indoors
If these aren’t neighborhood cats but your own indoor/outdoor cat – bring them inside!
While many cats love to spend time outdoors, it’s important to remember that they are at risk for a variety of health problems, including heat stroke, dehydration, and exposure to parasites and other wildlife. Consider keeping your cat indoors during the hottest part of the day and providing them with plenty of indoor activities to keep them occupied.
In conclusion, caring for outdoor cats during hot weather requires a bit of extra effort, but it’s well worth it to ensure that your feline friends stay cool, comfortable, and healthy. By providing plenty of water and shade, keeping your cat groomed, providing plenty of toys and activities, checking for signs of heat stroke, considering keeping your cat indoors, providing proper nutrition, and keeping flea and tick prevention up-to-date, you can help your cat enjoy the summer months without risking their health.
It’s important to remember that cats are individuals, and what works for one cat may not work for another. Be observant and responsive to your cat’s needs, and don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of distress or illness. With a little bit of extra care and attention, you can help your outdoor cat thrive during the summer months and beyond.