The best way to protect your cat from danger? Shut the door and block up the cat flap. But cats, as any cat-parent knows, see a barrier as an opportunity. Tell them to keep away from the front door, and you can bet your life they’ll find a convenient little window to make their escape from. But don’t despair. Even if you can’t stop your cat from making a break for freedom, there’s plenty you can do to keep them safe and sound when they do. Here are five summer dangers your cat might come across… and how to protect them if they do.
People aren’t the only creatures that can suffer from sunburn. As iheartcats.com notes, cats, especially those with white or light-colored hair (or even no hair at all), and pale ears and noses, can be just as susceptible to too much sun as we can. If you notice any sudden redness or irritation, it could well be your cat’s been burned. As sunburn can lead to wounds, infection, and even skin cancer, prevention is always going to be better than cure. Keep them safe by keeping them indoors during the hottest times of the day (typically speaking, this will be between 10 am and 4 pm), and, if possible, using a UV film on your windows or shutting the curtains while the sun is at its peak.
We all get hot and thirsty when the temperatures start to rise, and cats are no exception to the rule. Unfortunately, cats aren’t quite so prone to shedding their clothes and jumping in the pool to cool off as we are. So it’s down to us to find other ways to help them beat the heat and keep the very serious consequences of overheating at bay. The number one way of helping cats keep their cool is by ensuing constant access to clean, fresh drinking water. It stands to reason that you should keep a cool bowl of water indoors, but if your cat’s in the habit of spending most of their day in the garden, be sure to scatter a few bowls around the yard as well – and of course, make sure to regularly top them up with a fresh supply.
Some cats are reluctant drinkers – if yours is one, you might need to get a little creative about how you keep their hydration levels topped up. Water fountains are a great way of getting water-shy kitties interested, although you’ll need to make sure to clean it regularly to keep any debris from building up. Senior Cat Wellness has some great tips on how to increase hydration in other ways, including swapping kibble for wet food (which will naturally up hydration without your cat even realizing it), and swapping tap water for bottled – yep, it’s a little more expensive, but it’s a great way of avoiding the whiff of off-putting chlorine that tap water can give off.
The heat isn’t the only weather condition you need to be wary of in summer. Thunderstorms are all too frequent in the hotter months and can be just as dangerous (not to mention frightening) to cats as heatstroke can. Watch for any signs of destructive or unusual behavior when they hear thunderclaps or other loud noises – not only will they need to be comforted and reassured, they’re also likely to need you to take some pro-active steps to help them in the future. If their reaction is extreme, it may be beneficial to have a chat with your veterinary. Depending on the general condition of your cat, they may be able to prescribe a treatment to help them maintain their cool during stressful times. If you don’t want to go the pharmaceutical route, take a look at some of the non-prescription remedies that could help – Feliway and other natural stress relievers can be a great help in calming frayed nerves. As Cat Time recommends, you might also want to try desensitizing your pet to loud noises by using storm recordings – although be sure to use a gradual approach to avoid causing any unnecessary stress.
One of the biggest summer dangers for cats is parasites. Fleas, ticks, worms… the list goes on. Even more worryingly, your cat doesn’t need to set a single paw outside to be vulnerable to attack. Parasites are just as happy to hitch a ride on your clothes or footwear as they are to make the journey themselves – and once inside, be sure they’ll waste no time in making your pet’s life a misery. Keep them safe from harm by checking your clothes and skin for any signs of creepy-crawlies before you go inside, especially if you’ve been in a wooded area or have brushed against any long grass. Speak to your vet about the best flea and de-worming programs, and make sure to keep up with their recommendations. Upping your pet’s grooming during summer can also help. Use a fine-toothed comb to separate their fur and inspect for any signs of flea or ticks. If you do notice the signs, act quickly – and don’t forget that as well as treating your cat, you’ll also need to treat your home in case the infestation has spread.
Summertime is the season when the garden comes into bloom. Lovely though this looks, it can spell big trouble for your cat… especially if you decide to bring the outdoors indoors with some new house plants. Although many plants are perfectly harmless, others can be toxic, possessing dire consequences for your cat if ingested or even brushed against. Before you introduce any new greenery into the house, take some time to investigate whether it’s considered pet-friendly or not. And don’t think you can get around the problem by simply placing the plant on a high surface. Cats, as we know, are excellent climbers and jumpers. Even if you think that plant is well out of reach, you can count on your cat to prove you wrong.