Summer is right around the corner. And while it may seem that dogs grab most of the summer attention, it is important to remember cats need extra care as well. Cats are just as susceptible to heat stroke as any other species and often need help cooling down during the long, hot days. In addition, their dietary needs change and they tend to require fewer calories. There is also the all-important pest control issue that plagues all pet owners during warm days.
Keeping a cat safe during the hot summer months often means monitoring weight, keeping them indoors and learning to identify the often subtle signs of heat exhaustion.
Lead a Cat to Water
Ensuring that cats have a clean source of water that appeals to them is of critical importance, especially during summer. Cat fountains are appealing because they keep water moving and attract cats who prefer to drink running water. Not only do fountains keep water cooler, but they also keep it cleaner with carbon filters such as those from Drinkwells or the NatureSpa Premium Pet Fountain, which uses UV Light Purification to eliminate bacteria and microorganisms. The water stays illuminated by LED light to entice cats that embrace their crepuscular nature.
“Stainless Steel Wicker Dolce Diners from Loving Pets not only compliment your home decor and help keep a cat’s water cooled down, but the stainless steel also helps keep water and food fresher longer by offering bacteria resistant and veterinarian recommended stainless steel interior,” said Eric Abbey, president and founder of Loving Pets.
Hydration is crucial to a cat’s health and retailers can educate customers on ways to keep cats hydrated. A clean water source is very important, but so is providing a high-quality diet.
“Ideal for promoting hydration from the inside out, Evanger’s Exotic USA Game Meats for cats such as 100-percent USA made and sourced Rabbit & Quail, Holistic Pheasant and Duck give cats premium nutrition through highly nutritious and delicious meats that cats love,” said Holly Sher, owner of Evanger’s Dog and Cat Food Company.
Remember that during the hot summer months, most cats also require fewer calories. Leaving food out for long periods of time is not only unsanitary, but it can also attract insects. For slow eaters or homes with multiple cats, retailers suggest an automated feeder. The SureFeed Microchip Feeder uses RFID technology to make sure each cat is eating the proper amount of food. It also helps keep food fresh when not in use.
Pests become another challenge around food bowls, but natural products can help keep ants at bay.
“DERMagic Diatomaceous Earth Dust is made with USDA food-grade diatomaceous earth,” said Steve Cady, vice president of sales for Mendota, owner of DERMagic Skin Care for Animals. “The handy sprinkle-top makes it easy to safely apply it to your cat’s bedding, carpet, and furniture or around food bowls. Diatomaceous earth helps keep ants and other pests out of food, but is completely safe for pets.”
Catching Some Rays
For cats who prefer to soak up the sun in milder summer climates, an outdoor enclosure can be a big benefit for pet owners. There are dozens of new enclosures designed specifically to help pets enjoy the great outdoors without becoming a target for wildlife.
“All of our enclosures are self-enclosed and can either be used indoors or outdoors,” said Scott Russman, owner of CDPets. “Each of our units comes with two to three lounging shelves so cats have plenty of opportunity to soak up the sunshine or lounge in the shade.”
Cooling mats can also help cats better regulate their temperature in extreme climates. The Green Pet Shop Cool Pet Pads are pressure-activated, needing no electricity.
“The Cool Pet Pad is a great product for both cats and dogs, especially during the summer,” said Brian Wright, vice president of The Green Pet Shop. “Even though cats typically tend to gravitate toward warmth (which is one of the reasons we’ve also brought on the Achy Paws Warming Mats), the cooling pads offer a cool sensation for your cat to help prevent overheating and dehydration. As the spring and summer season approaches, your cat needs this safe and reliable solution to protect itself from the heat.”
Harnesses and leashes are another way to provide outdoor access. Crazy K Farm created the Kitty Holster, a secure cat harness that utilizes Velcro to keep a cat secure. For those with cats who react badly to the sound of Velcro, Sturdi Pet Products offers a lightweight vest made of microfiber that snaps closed. PetSafe’s nylon Come With Me Kitty Cat Harness & Bungee Leash is another option for taking cats out in the sun.
Outdoor play sessions in the heat, grass, pollen and other allergens can cause skin irritations and a dull coat. A grooming wipe may alleviate these problems.
“A great item to stock for in-line grooming section as well as point of purchase clip strip or at the register, QuickBath Cat Grooming Wipes from International Veterinary Sciences are formulated with gentle yet effective cleaners that remove bacteria and odors from a cat’s sensitive paws and skin,” said Ara Bohchalian, the company’s CEO. “Indoor cats track dust and bacteria from their litter box, and outdoor cats bring in allergens and dirt from the yard, so choose a convenient wipe that contains vitamins A and E and aloe vera, which promote an overall healthy skin and coat while leaving your pet clean, shiny and prevent them from tracking a mess all through your house. Quick Bath Wipes are pH neutral, alcohol-free, extra thick and heavy duty.”
Summer should be a time for owners to have fun with their cats, both indoors and outdoors. However, their felines must be protected from the risks that can accompany outdoor play. Fortunately, the pet industry has made it very simple to keep them safe year-round.