All year long, we can’t wait until the weather is warmer and the sun shines brightly. Chances are your cat feels lighter and happier during the summer months as well. If you are tempted to let Kitty go outside to enjoy the weather, you may want to think about an Armarkat Play pen instead. With zipped-in security, she can still enjoy the great outdoors!
However, if yours is not one to stay inside catios or playpens, then now is the time to be especially vigilant. With summer, danger can be found around every corner; from UV rays to heatstroke, from reptiles and insects that bite, to stray animals. Here are some summer dangers you may not have thought about:
Shedding: That fluffy winter coat gets abandoned come summertime. The result can be shedding and hairballs which can lead to vomiting or dangerous blockages that require the care of a vet. It has been shown that felines can ingest up to a third of the amount of hair they shed. Cat grooming, which includes combing, bathing, and daily brushing can help control much of this. With regular grooming, you can avoid the development of mats which are not only uncomfortable but can lead to overheating and even more matting. If mats have developed to this point, it is best to have them removed by a professional groomer who can trim the fur and help with preventive maintenance. This goes for both indoor and outdoor cats but is especially important for long-haired cats.
Sun Screen: We all know by now the importance of sunscreen for humans, but did you know that it is not as important to your fur family members? Unless you have a very white cat with light eyes or one of the hairless varieties, the average indoor cat is not at risk for skin damage by the sun. However, if you are concerned about feline solar dermatitis, try to limit Kitty’s exposure through sunny windows or doors during the peak hours of the day, before and after midday. For those with either hairless cats or white cats with light eyes, outdoors is simply not recommended. Cover them up if you must take them outside, or talk to the vet about non-toxic, feline friendly sun blocks.
Heatstroke: Too much heat is as uncomfortable for cats as it is for humans, though it may a harder to decipher. Panting is a sure sign since cats don’t breathe through their mouths. Difficulty walking is another sign. If the cat is lethargic, you should get him to the vet right away. Like dogs, cats do not sweat to cool down, but you may want to turn the fan on. Even if the cat seems to act normal after being overheated, you may want him examined to be on the safe side. Especially at risk are kittens and older animals that cannot regulate their temperatures well, or cats with health conditions like asthma or kidney disease. More signs of heatstroke include temperatures above 104 degrees, rapid pulse, stumbling, vomiting, or damp paws.
Bites and Stings: Outdoor pets are exposed to parasites, viruses, and bacteria. Access to certain plants, stray animals, and wildlife of all kinds can bring on unforeseen conditions that should be brought to your vet’s attention. Also, make sure your cat is on a good flea control program. Change the cat’s bedding and vacuum regularly to help control fleas. If you think your cat was bitten by an animal, seek immediate veterinary intervention to help curtail pain and potential infection. Do not treat with topical human ointments as cats can be allergic and lick them off. With stings, cats can also have allergic reactions. Any swelling of the face, paws or legs is a sure sign to go promptly to the vet.
Obviously, it’s safest to keep them inside with the air conditioner running and plenty of cold water to drink. But, with the right precautions summer can still be enjoyable for both you and your fur family.
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