As the weather gets warmer, seasonal care if you’re a cat owner is needed. There is a way to plan a summer of fun with your cat and ensure they are safe, healthy, and happy! To do that, you will need to know the seasonal conditions worth preparing for. You can also check out activities to keep you and your kitty entertained.
If your cat is an outdoors one, it’s crucial you anticipate and prepare for the risks that exist whenever he or she goes out to play. Even if they’re an indoor cat, there is the possibility they may decide to stop lazing about and rush outside when a door opens or when an open window invites them to find freedom.
Ideally, it’s best to raise your cat as an indoors one so that the risks of being outside can be avoided altogether. However, if your cat insists on enjoying the warm weather outside and there’s little to no traffic around, prepare yourself and your cat for the call of the wild:
- Teach them their name. Use it often and always when you call them for dinner. Cats can be hyper aware of the sound of dinner preparations—the noise of the can opener, the crinkle of the dry food bag, and the clatter of silverware tapped against their food bowl—so you should call their name whenever you go to get their food so they connect their name with the pleasure of eating. Also, call them at various times and have a treat for them in your hand. They’ll catch on so when they’re outside and hear their name being called, they’ll probably come.
- Make sure your cat has received the vaccinations they need such as rabies and de-worming preventatives so they can play outside without risk.
- Equip your cat with an ID collar. If he or she has not had preventative flea treatment from his veterinarian, get treatment right away and then put their ID on an easily detachable collar. If he or she gets lost, anyone who finds them can contact you, and the collar will prevent them from being caught in a dangerous situation.
- Have an ID microchip registered with their name, your name, and your phone number embedded under their skin. This is a simple, painless procedure that your veterinarian will be happy to perform at your cat’s next checkup or if you call ahead before an appointment. Shelters and animal hospitals always scan for microchips when lost or injured cats are brought to them and they will contact you.
- If you are travelling with your cat, don’t leave them alone in the car. Take them with you in a travel case even if it is awkward to carry. You probably don’t need another reminder of why you must do that, but here is another one anyway: if you leave your pet for only a minute and circumstances turn that into an hour, your beloved pet may be trapped in a dangerously hot car, and possible heat stroke can occur.
- If your cat is in accident, a fight with another animal, or shows unexpected symptoms of illness or poisoning, take them to a cat clinic or hospital as soon as possible. Have the phone number and address handy at home, or on your phone so there will be no delay.
Make sure you know the common symptoms of problems, illnesses, or poisoning for which you need professional help. It’s a good idea to be familiar with basic first aid too, such as how to keep a frightened, injured cat from biting you, and how to transport an injured kitty to a cat hospital or clinic.
Remember that cats will try and conceal pain because it shows weakness to their enemies in the wilds and makes them targets for attack. This instinct is so strong that they will not show their distress to their loving owners either. Be alert. If your cat comes into the house and immediately hides, or if an indoor cat hides and won’t come when called or to eat, they may be in pain. Examine them carefully and give them whatever help they need.
Keep Kitty Cool Indoors and Out
Cats love warm weather but older cats and kittens are less tolerant of the heat and sun. Watch out for conditions that could cause heat stroke or dehydration for cats of any age.
- Water – Keep your cat’s water bowl full and check it often as they will need more water than usual when the weather is warm. It is a good idea to have more than one bowl of water available. Check out our blog post if you’re not sure just how much water your kitty will need.
- Sun – Your cat is better off inside on very hot days or during the hottest time of the day (between 10am and 3pm). Once the temperature has lowered and he or she insists on going outside as usual, make sure a water bowl goes outside with them, and make sure there is shade they can reach when they want to get out of the sun. A cardboard box on its side can do the trick.
- Inside the House – When your cat is indoors, make sure they’re not trapped in a room that gets too hot for comfort. Cool tiled floors, open screened windows, fans and air conditioning, and closing blinds and curtains and windows during the heat of the day can all help keep kitty cool inside.
- Walks – If you take your indoor cat outside for a walk, choose the coolest time of day, and stay off the hot pavement and sidewalks. Test these with the back of your hand for five seconds, and if the surface is too hot for your hand, it’s too hot for your cat.
- Cooling Suggestions – Try putting cold water in a hot water bottle or cool a towel in the freezer and put it on their bed so kitty can lie on it. You can also put an ice cube in their water bowl to give them something to play with while also staying cool.
Healthy Cat Checklist
- Pest Protection – Keep your cat safe from outdoor pests, even if he is an indoor cat. Fleas and other parasites can be carried indoors on footwear and clothing and if other pets are visiting. Even indoor cats can suffer from flea allergy dermatitis. Check outdoor cats carefully for ticks when you are grooming them and bring them to a vet ASAP if you find any that have latched on! Make sure your pets are protected from all parasites with regular treatments from your vet. Check out our blog post on the subject if you’re looking for prevention tips.
- Vaccination Schedules – As we mentioned before it’s a good idea to keep your cat’s vaccinations up to date. Diseases don’t take a vacation and your outdoor or indoor cat needs his booster vaccinations for protection. Your kitty may also need booster shots for non-core vaccinations (e.g., leukemia) if they are receiving them. Don’t let vacation plans interfere with their healthcare!
- Cat Disease Safety for Humans – Be alert for diseases that can spread from cats to humans, especially if you have children in your house. Caution them against touching cat feces, touching cat litter (and be careful yourself!), or playing in sandboxes that are not covered. Keep your cat off of surfaces in your home where food is prepared or eaten.
- Hairball Problems – Cats develop hairballs more frequently in the summer months because they lick themselves in an attempt to stay cool, and when playing outside, they want to keep themselves clean. You can cut down on the hairball problem with daily brushing and combing, and feeding them food that is high in fiber, often called “hairball formula.”
Let’s Have Some Fun!
- Toys – Cats love toys that appeal to their hunter instincts such as mice, bugs, and birds. You can attach a toy to a length of string and take your cat on a merry chase. Use a laser pointer to skip along on the floor like a bug does. Expect your cat to get bored quickly and be ready with another toy to replace it. Let them catch something now and then and put a treat someplace where the toy or the laser takes them in order to keep them entertained. An empty box provides amusement for a long time!
- Training – Take time in the summer to train your cat. Work on having them come when you call, teach them to stay off furniture (like the table where you eat), or to stop scratching couches or climbing curtains.
- New Experiences
- You can take your indoor cat on walks using a leash.
- Try to help your cat adjust to riding in the car by letting them get used to their travel carrier in the house. Put some toys or treats inside it so they can go in and out and get used to it before taking them out to the car. When you take kitty out on a ride, give them a treat just before you start the engine.
- Blow bubbles from a non-toxic solution outside in a safe area where your cat can jump, chase, and catch them.
- Show your cat a treat and place it under a plastic cup so they have to figure out how to knock it over.
With some preparation, you can have a fun summer with your cat while making sure they stay safe, healthy, and happy, and in turn make your summer more enjoyable, too!
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