Summer is outdoor time for people and pets. Cats might get excited about summer. Unsure if indoor cats really feel the need to wander outdoors in the good weather (or if that’s what their pet parents think they feel.)
Either way, if you let your kitties out for some fun in the sun, be aware of those summer dangers: Bug bites, UV exposure and parasites.
Bee stings, parasites, tics and fleas await your cat when they spend time outdoors. She can be exposed to bacteria and viruses from wildlife and outdoor plants. Other dangers include snakes, neighborhood cats and dogs and strays.
Ask your veterinarian about a flea control program. Off-the-shelf products may be toxic and ineffective. Also vacuum and change your cat’s bedding to help control fleas.
First aid advice: Avoid treating cuts and wounds with ointments or topical antibiotics. Your cat might be allergic to some ingredients and will lick the ointment and irritate the wound.
And cats can have an anaphylactic reaction to insect stings. If your cat has swelling of her face, paws or legs, take her to the veterinarian immediately.
Be aware of any changes in your cat’s behavior and talk to your veterinarian.
Hot temperatures can make anyone uncomfortable. Heatstroke is scary. If your cat is panting, similar to a dog, call your veterinarian immediately.
Or if you notice difficulty walking or lethargy, call your veterinarian right away.
You can cool down your cat with warm water (not cold) on her ears, paws and belly, then use the fan to mimic sweat.
According to Dr. Heather Loenser of the American Animal Hospital Association adds, “Cats, like dogs, don’t sweat to cool down, so this method of cooling by a veterinary team or pet owner will be appreciated by the cat. No matter what, go to your veterinarian for further care, even if your cat seems to be acting normally after being overheated.”
Animals at risk for heatstroke:
- Cats with kidney disease or asthma.
- Young kittens and older cats because they can’t regulate their body temperature.
Signs of heatstroke:
- Rapid pulse
- Body temperature above 104 degrees Fahrenheit
- Sweaty feet
Cats shed their winter coat in warmer weather. It means more hairballs and grooming. Cats can ingest up to a third of the amount of hair they shed.
Grooming can result in vomiting and blockages and your pet might need veterinary care. But you can be proactive. Give your cat a bath, and remember to comb or brush him regularly.
Regular grooming helps remove some of that excess hair before it’s ingested. You can prevent a build up of hairballs.
One thing to avoid in the summer: Shaving your cat. Indoor cats don’t need haircuts because they live in temperature-controlled areas. Again, brushing can remove tangles and excess hair.
But if your cat is matted, get a professional groomer for preventive maintenance.
In any season, indoor or outdoor cats need regular brushing and grooming to keep them comfortable.
Remember that cats spend about 50% of their time grooming themselves. For this reason, you should avoid any sunscreens that are left on the skin.
There are sunscreens for dogs, but no products for cats. Ask a cat veterinarian before you apply any sunscreen to your cat.
You want to make a safe choice and not make your kitty sick. Ask about non-toxic sunscreens for your cat.
Hairless cats should avoid going outside because of sun exposure. They have no protection from branches, sticks and other sharp objects.
Indoor cats are not at risk for skin damage – just keep them away from doors and windows with peak sun exposure.
Remember to keep your cat safe all year round. Safety is indoors.
Keep plenty of fresh water and shady spots even for indoor cats. And leave the air conditioner on when you go out.
Keep your cat safe and cool all summer!
source: 4 Summer Dangers for Cats
Thanks to all you cat moms and dads!
Dr. Pet Mom
“A meow massages the heart.”