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While we’re out cooling our heels by the pool, frosty drink in hand, it’s easy to forget that cats have to contend with the summer heat just as much as we do. With a body covered in fur and a natural propensity to drink minimal water, cats can suffer heat-related illness just as quickly as people and other pets.
Here are some ideas to help your cat beat the summer heat:
1. Make a cooling bed. Cats naturally gravitate to the most comfortable sleeping area they can find. A bed that’s comfortably cool can really hit the spot. Place a packet of frozen peas under a blanket or cat bed cover to provide a cooled zone that conforms to your cat’s contours.
2. Keep your cat well-hydrated. Many owners swear by automatic drinking fountains, such as the Drinkwell, to entice their cats to drink more water. The aeration and filtration provides cool, clean water that cats are drawn to like a favorite faucet. If you really want to make it inviting, float an ice cube or two in the bowl.
3. Wipe your cat down with a cool, wet paper towel or washcloth. Since cats only sweat through their feet, they don’t get the nice sheen of sweat we humans produce to aid in heat dissipation.
4. Know the signs of heat stroke: panting, staggering, very red gums, restlessness and/or vomiting. If any of these signs develop, your cat should get to the vet as soon as possible.
Dr. Jessica Vogelsang is a small-animal veterinarian from San Diego. When she's not at work or with her family of two and her four-legged creatures, you can find her blogging about life with pets at PawCurious.com. Dr. Vogelsang's blogs have previously appeared on The Daily Cat.