Summer is just another season for you and your cat to have good quality time to spend together. However, there are a few safety precautions you should take before you go deep into a fun-filled summer. Here are the top 20 cat summer safety tips you should keep in your back pocket or at least in the back of your mind. You’ll never know when any of them could get handy.
Possibly the most obvious and equally the most important summer safety tip for cats during the summer is to have access to fresh and clean water. Dehydration tends to happen a lot during the summer season, and the best way to combat it is to just stay hydrated throughout the day. Your cat needs to be dehydrated as well. Having water available where your cat can access it easily will help prevent dehydration. Sometimes, it even helps to add one or two ice cubes in your cat’s water bowl to keep the water cool. Just like you’d enjoy a cool drink during a hot summer’s day, your cat is likely to enjoy it as well. If you plan to take your cat outdoors during the summer, don’t forget to pack a bottle of fresh water and a water bowl for your cat to drink from whenever and as much as possible.
Aside from dehydration, heat strokes also tend to happen a lot during the summer. Regulating your cat’s body temperature properly is key to avoiding heat stroke during the hottest season of the year. Make sure that your cat has access to shaded areas, especially outdoors. Shaded areas can come from plants and trees, but if these are not available, you can easily create shade from a number of things. Makeshift tents or canopies will work—even umbrellas propped up will do. This is especially important to have when you’re away from home and the cat has no access indoors. Many cat owners prefer to have their cats indoors during the summertime because it may become difficult to find shade when out and about. But just bringing an umbrella along can make a huge difference, especially during times when you and your cat need a quick rest.
Even cats get sunburned too. You might not know this fact, especially if you’re new as a cat owner. But you might be a bit more familiar if you’re already a veteran cat owner. You might have had personal experience with it on your cat, and then you’ll know that it isn’t a pleasant experience when your cat gets sunburned. The best way for your cat to avoid sunburn is for you to apply sunscreen to it before taking it outside. While you can apply human sunscreen to your cat that has SPF 15 or higher, there are sunscreens out there especially formulated for your pet. These will not contain zinc oxide, an ingredient that’s common in human sunscreen. Zinc oxide, along with other ingredients, is not healthy for your cats. If you’re not sure on which sunscreen will be best for your pet, you should consult your veterinarian. Once you have a preferred sunscreen to use, there’s no need to apply it all over your cat’s body. Just make sure to put enough coverage on areas that are more exposed to the sun such as the ears, belly, legs, and the groin.
Never leave in car
This one is fairly explanatory; you should just never leave your pet in your car, regardless how long you’ll be, whatever time of the day, month, or year it is. There are just too many factors that can play out negatively, including carbon monoxide poisoning, dehydration, and of course, excessive heat. During the summer, the heat inside a car can be enough to suffocate and kill your cat. It’s just never a good idea to risk all of that and to subject your pet to such suffering. You don’t ever want to be left stuck in a car in the middle of the hot summer sun—neither does your cat.
Your cat is more likely to spend some time outdoors during the summer. That means that it’s more likely to be at risk for flea and tick infestation. Once an infestation starts, it can get really painful and bothersome for your pet, so it’s best to avoid it before it can even begin. The first step is to talk to your veterinarian about parasite prevention before you even decide to take your cat outdoors. Your vet will be able to advice you on which preventative measures will be best for your particular cat. The next step is to make sure that you actually follow the preventative protocols your vet provided. Otherwise, you’re just putting your cat at high risk. While you’re at, get some information on preventing feline heartworm, a disease caused by parasites, which results to severe inflammation and lung and heart injury.
Aside from parasites, you’ll also want to protect your cat from stinging insects. It just so happens that summer is always abuzz with little things that like to sting. If you find it annoying and even painful to get stung by insects, you can imagine that your cat goes through the same. As a cat owner, you should be aware of several insects to keep an eye out for, especially during the summer. First and foremost, make sure mosquitoes don’t bite your cat. Apart from hurtful stings, mosquitoes carry heartworm disease that can be devastating for your cat. Watch out for spiders and ants for multiple bites. Also, keep your cat away from areas you suspect might have yellow jackets close by. We all know the sting of these insects hurt tremendously. But even worse is the itch it brings as the sting heals.
Keep in mind that when you take your cat outdoors, it will come into contact with many things that you might have not thought of before. You might have never thought about your cat coming into contact with the insecticides or rodent poisons you might spread around your lawn because your cat is usually indoors. If you plan to take your cat outside, pay close attention to the things that you are spraying your lawn with or any other types of poisonous products that you might be spreading around in your lawn. Your cat is highly likely to come into contact with these and ingest the poison that can cause them tremendous harm or even death depending on how much has been ingested. Follow the instructions on your products carefully to make sure your lawn area is safe for your cat to play in before you let your cat run free.
The summer is the best time for outdoor parties that may include tons of grilling and an excess of junk food. Your cat is probably on a stricter diet than you, so this means that you’ll have to keep an eye out on your cat’s surroundings during a summer party. You won’t want your cat eating leftover junk human food from the floor. The best way to prevent this is to keep your cat indoors during an outdoor summer BBQ. However, if you’re feeling guilty for not including your pet to your party, you might want to talk to your human friends then and remind them to dispose of their trash properly just so your cat can’t get to them so easily. Most people will be more than happy to obliged not only for your cat but also for your own sanity.
So far, we’ve only talked about things that could happen to your cat outdoors during the summer time. However, you’ll also have to think about the indoor environment your cat will be in during the summer. You have to make sure that wherever your cat will be staying will have adequate and circulated air. It’s preferable that your cat stays in air-conditioned rooms, but while this may not always be possible, a simple fan or an open window will suffice. Be careful with open windows, however. It is something we will discuss further down. But for now, just make sure that your cat has plenty of clean, breathable, and circulate air to prevent suffocation and even heat stroke. There’s nothing worse than coming home to your cat only to find it hurt someplace in your house. Check your A/C units constantly during the summer to make sure that it’s functioning optimally.
4th of July safety
Yet another big party during the summer, the 4th of July isn’t on this list because of all the good foods that could be bad for your cat. We all know what any good 4th of July celebrations are all about—the fireworks. While fireworks may be stunning, even to your cat, they’re more likely to be cause stress than anything else for your pet. Fireworks are loud, especially when you’ve got 3 or 4 different sets of fireworks going on at the same time around you. Fireworks can be dangerous, as they can cause injury when mishandled, and they can bring a lot of fear to your cat as well. There’s also the possibility that your cat might react to a sudden burst of light and sound by running into oncoming traffic. It’s just not a good situation all around. The best thing to do for your cat during the 4th of July is to keep it indoors where it’s safe and quiet.
Remember the paws
One of the most delicate parts of a cat is its set of paws. Much like we are constantly on our feet, cats do the same—albeit with probably a bit more grace. When you’re letting your cat walk out in the summer heat, make sure that the ground isn’t too hot for it to walk on. It can cause severe burns and blisters. If you do or have taken your cat outdoors in the sweltering sun, make sure to constantly check its paws to look for signs of blisters. That’s the last thing you want to be dealing with when you’re out to just lay out by the pool during the summer. Also, if you’re going to the beach during a hot summers day, just have your cat in tow via your arm, or a bag. That way you can prevent any unnecessary injuries.
Keep windows screened
Keeping your screens in good shape, especially during the summer, is essential to keeping your cat safe and indoor. Cats love to sit by the windowsill, and they love it even more when you’ve got the summer breeze flowing through your open window into the house. It’s definitely a nice idea for your pet, except you should never let your cat sit on the windowsill without any screens. You should have, at the very least, a sturdy screen on your window to prevent your cats from falling out. Cats will do that and sometimes not intentionally. Other times, they might find something that intrigues them outside and might jump for it. Your cat could either get hurt or lost. It’s better to keep them indoor unless you are taking them out yourself. Make sure to do a regular check of your windows screen, especially before summer, so you can get work done if needed before the season comes.
Depending on your cat’s coat, you might want to do a shorter trim during the summer to keep your cat cooler. If the cat does not naturally have a thick coat, you probably won’t need to trim any more than what you normally do, if you do at all. But remember that it’s always best to groom your cat regardless. You should never need to shave your cat at all. An inch trim for thick coats is fairly standard. Anything shorter than that can cause sunburns for your cat. Get the recommendations of a professional before deciding on anything, and never trim your pet’s coat yourself unless you are a working pro—that’s for safety and for vanity both.
Most cats will not jump into water voluntarily. It’s just not in their nature. If you’ve got a water-loving cat, you should be even more careful. When you’re out by the pool during the summer, you should always keep a close eye on your pet. Accidents can happen at any time, especially when there’s a bigger crowd around. Pay close attention to what your cat is doing. Your cat can easily fall or get pushed into the pool, maybe without even getting noticed, and drown. While they tend to be naturally good swimmers, they will have difficulty climbing out of the pool on their own. That can cause a panic and eventually exhaustion, which will be what causes them to drown. Be even more careful at night when it’s difficult to see what’s going on outside. Keep the cat indoors to prevent it from falling into the pool without being noticed.
Avoid unknown grassy areas
We’ve already discussed that you need to pay close attention to the fertilizers and pesticides you put into your lawn just in case you decide to let your cat out for a little bit. However, you might forget to do the same when you take the cat out to the park or your neighbor’s lawn. Cats love to play in the grass, and it’ll be difficult to stop them from rolling all over it once they get outside. Even public parks use different varieties of fertilizers and pesticides to maintain their greens. It might become a hassle to have to contact the local public parks authority just to get information on which chemicals are being used in the parks. You might have better chances of just taking your cat to an actual pet park, where it is less likely that anything poisonous might have been used in the grass and plants. It also never hurts to ask your neighbors or friends what they use in their lawn before you decide to let your cat play in them.
Summer is a great time to spend more time outdoors with your cat, especially if you’ve been cooped up in your home majority of the winter because of the cold and even the spring because of allergies. Whatever the reason may be, everyone tends to spend more time outdoors during the summer. If ever you decide to take your cat out on a stroll or even out on vacation, make sure the walks and various other activities you do with your pet are manageable. Don’t plan a walk that will be too far for your cat to handle or plan an activity that will be too tiring. Take breaks as needed; cats need breaks too. You wouldn’t want to cause your cat exercise exhaustion. Moderate to mild activity should be enough for most feline friends.
In many places throughout the world, particular natural catastrophes happen during the summer. This might include all types of storms such as hurricanes and monsoons. If you’re in an area that’s likely to experience a natural catastrophe as such, make sure you have information at hand regarding any evacuation facilities in the event that you need to evacuate from where you live or wherever you’re staying for vacation. Not all human evacuation facilities accommodate for pets, and you might have to make separate evacuation accommodations for your cat. This is something that we all would rather not have to deal with, but it does happen. It’s better to be prepared than to be stuck last minute and not have any idea what to do when such a time arises.
More party precautions
We’ve discussed a couple of party precautions previously, but there should be at least one more. It shows you just how much you should just keep your cat at bay if ever you decide to throw together a gathering. You should be aware of any alcoholic beverages that are beings served and maybe even left around by your guests. Cats may decide to have a sip here and there from whatever spill or abandoned drink they might find. Alcohol can be poisonous to your cat. It’ll cause intoxication depending on how much is ingested. But what’s worse, alcohol in cats can also cause depression, comas, or even death. Keep the cat away when you’re having a party, so you can keep it safe from all party harms.
Don’t forget humidity
Most of us only pay attention to the heat index and the temperature for the day. Whether it’s too hot or too cool might make the difference of whether we stay indoors or go outdoors. Cat owners should not forget to pay attention to the humidity also. When the air is too thick due to humidity, your cat will have difficulty evaporating moisture into the air. This will get them hotter even faster during the summer time, which will cause heat stroke. If you know you’re going to be outdoors, check the humidity and prepare for it. Have a thermometer that you use just for your cat and bring it along wherever you go. Take your cat’s temperature if you’ve been out in humidity or heat for too long. If it gets close to 104 degrees, your cat might be close to having a heat stroke. Work to get high temperatures down by helping your cat cool off.
Apart from all of these tips, the last tip is to just use your common sense. Even as a new pet owner, you’ll have even a little bit of instinct on what will be best for your cat. If you think it can be bad, just don’t do it. If you think it’s going to be too hot even for summer, just keep your cat indoors. If you think your cat might need a drink right about now, just give your cat a drink. Trusting and listening to your instinct might make a difference in your cat’s safety. If you feel that you just don’t have a good instinct in general, educate yourself so you’ll know what to do with your cat in different situations and you can be prepared for whatever may come along the way.