Melting snow, slush-filled puddles, and rainy weather forecasts can only mean one thing: Spring is almost here! With the telltale signs all around us, we can’t help but want to bring out our spring wardrobe, anticipating the time when we have to keep cool and not warm. We can only be so lucky! But what about our pets? Most dogs have the luxury of running around outside and feeling the cool breeze on their faces during the warmer months. Indoor cats, on the other hand, have to find other ways to keep cool under their fur.
What’s right for you?
We’ve put together some important points to consider when deciding the best way to keep your kitty cool and comfortable as we head for warmer weather. Keep in mind that every human and cat is different, so weighing out all of the options that work best for both of you will prove to be useful.
1. Crack the window open. Open windows can provide a breeze, and if your cat is the type to sit on a sill and creep into your neighbor’s windows – we’re betting that he is! – the wind will be able to provide some cool air. Screens are obviously a must and if you don’t have one, then make sure the kitty won’t be able to slip out. Some sneaky felines may even be able to slip their arm through, forcing the window open. So make sure to be extra careful when leaving a window slightly open.
2. Keep the shades closed during the day. The shades will keep the sun’s heat out during the hotter daytime hours. If your cat really wants to have a clear view out the window, most will be able to find their way to the other side of the curtains. In the meantime, the house will be protected from the heat outside and also be better able to keep the cooler air trapped inside.
As pet owners, sometimes we have to get creative to provide more ideal living conditions for our animal babies.
3. Cool, cool tiles. Leaving the bathroom door open gives a warm cat the option of sprawling out on the colder tile floor or even inside of an empty bathtub. If you have a cat that enjoys a good deal, you’ll find them catching the two-for-one special: lying on the tiles while leaning up against the bottom of the toilet bowl.
4. Miniature air conditioning. As pet owners, sometimes we have to get creative to provide more ideal living conditions for our animal babies. A sealed bag of frozen veggies can be hidden in your cat’s favorite hiding place. The frozen veggies emit cool air and can be used for an hour or so. You can always refreeze and reuse. We suggest keeping a designated bag as a private air conditioning unit and marked to not be eaten. This way the bag stays sealed and you’re less likely to eat mushy vegetables for dinner.
5. Groom the cat. We aren’t talking about helping lick your cat’s fur to help them during bath time (in fact, we hope you don’t do this). Instead, why not bring your cat to get a shorter haircut during those intense heat waves? Of course this would only apply to medium- or long-haired kitties. Although cat fur naturally helps to regulate their body temperature, some of us may opt to shorten their hair. As cute as they may be with a new ‘do, the actual reason for opting to get them in for a summer makeover can include helping them cool off even more or even to prevent excess shedding.
Proceed with caution if you are thinking of doing this yourself. Even the most well behaved cat will squirm and scratch if pushed out of their comfort zone – particularly when approached with a pair of loud buzzing clippers. Moreover, cats have loose skin, which makes nicking them with a pair of clippers easy to do and puts them at risk for infection. Unless you know what you’re doing, hand them off to a groomer and let the professionals do what they do best.
Being a parent requires the ability to read your baby well, especially when the baby can’t communicate their discomfort in words. Be attentive and see which remedy works best for you and your feline. Mother nature built our cats to be clever, so don’t worry if these options don’t work out as well as you would like. Your cat will appreciate the effort and send you those kitty kisses no matter what.
For more tips for pets (and their owners) in the neighborhood, check out Park Slope for Pets.