Making summer cool for cats

It's easy to assume that your cat has a wonderful life in the summer. After all, it's a time when they can stretch out in the grass and bask in the sun. But there are reasons why summer might not be all that great for your cat.

Sensible in the sun

You wake up in the morning and the sun is beaming through the curtains. Your cat's probably already outside, settling down in her favourite summer spot for a bit of sunbathing. You may think she'll be happy there for the rest of the day, but you'd be wrong. She may look okay, but cats really aren't very sensible when it comes to heat. In fact, she'll probably stay in the sun for far longer than she should and could end up hurting herself. Watch out, for instance, if you have a patio, as they can get hot enough to burn a thinly furred belly.

Greenhouse blues and cat colouring

Got a greenhouse? Then make sure you keep that door shut! If she gets stuck in there during the summer months she could suffer from heat exhaustion. Also, if she decides that sunning herself on the roof is a good idea, her added weight and the hot sun could cause the glass to crack.

Her breed can be a problem (or a blessing) in the sun too. If she has a light coloured coat (and particularly if she's white with a pink nose or skin), you'll have to be a little more careful. The lighter her colouring, the more likely she is to get sunburn.

Coping with a sun-loving cat

So what can we do to stop our cats being frazzled by the sun? First, find out her favourite sunbathing spots, and try to set up some shade. Cats love cardboard boxes and will happily sleep in them. A cardboard box turned on its side makes a great shelter that'll give your cat a comfy sleeping place out of the sun.

Of course, if she was only hanging out in those spots because they're the sunniest, she might start looking for a new hot patch with no pesky cardboard sun blockers stopping her from topping up her tan. If so, you'll probably have to keep her inside when the sun is at its strongest - say between 11am and 2pm.

Bring out the sunscreen

If you don't have the heart to spoil her fun in the sun, then you can use sunscreen to protect the parts of her that tend to burn – her ears. She won't enjoy it at first, and will probably try to wipe it off, so make sure you use a non-toxic variety.

So there you have it: the key to a happy cat during the summer is to let her enjoy the warmth but make sure you protect her against the sun.

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