How to Keep an Outdoor Cat Cool in the Summer

Updated March 6, 2019
Kitten Lying On Sand At Beach

With summer days sometimes reaching temperatures in the 90s and even 100s, it's essential to know how to keep outdoor cats cool in hot weather. You can protect the health of your outside kitty or the stray or feral cats in your neighborhood by using these helpful tips as the weather warms up.

How to Keep Outdoor Cats Cool in Summer Heat

Cats are highly intelligent, and they can stay cool on their own if you give them the proper resources. Here are just a few ways to help your cat escape the heat.

Keep Them Hydrated

  • Put out two bowls of fresh water. One bowl should be fresh and cool, and the other frozen. The frozen bowl will melt slowly and provide cool water later in the day.
  • Throw ice cubes into a water bowl to cool it down and draw the interest of your cat. This may encourage her to drink more liquid.
  • When temperatures reach over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you should refill the bowls every couple of hours.

Ways to Stay Cool

  • Take a damp cloth and wipe it over your cat. If your cat will tolerate water, wet her with a spray bottle. Most cats will tolerate the damp cloth better.
  • Hold a cold compress around your cat's neck to help her cool off a bit more.
  • Wrap a towel around a bag of frozen peas, or a frozen bottle of water, and place it in her outdoor bed so she can lie on it to cool off.
  • Use a cooling bed specifically made for pets and place it outside.

Stay Out of the Sun and Heat

  • Place a comfortable bed in a shaded area, such as a porch or under some low-lying shrubs.
  • Do not tie or confine your cat to an area with asphalt or concrete because these surfaces really hold the heat on a sunny day.
  • Provide them elevated places to rest so they stay off hot surfaces, such as a raised pet bed or an outdoor cat house.

Groom Them Regularly

  • Brush your cat daily to allow the air to move freely through her fur, particularly if your cat has long hair.
  • Discuss with your veterinarian or groomer clipping your cat's hair during the summer to provide some relief from the heat.

Create the Ideal Outdoor Shelter

Even if your cat is an outdoor cat, consider bringing her inside during the hottest part of the day, which is typically from about 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. If you absolutely cannot have a cat indoors due to allergies or another reason, consider getting the cat an insulated cat house. The house stays cool in the summer and warm in the winter and offers your cat a place to escape extreme cold and heat.

Signs a Cat Is Overheating

Cats left inside vehicles on hot days are the most common heatstroke victims. Temperatures inside a closed vehicle can reach about 104 degrees within about 15 minutes. Elderly cats, kittens and obese cats are more likely to suffer heatstroke. Signs that your cat might be overheating include:

What to Do if Your Cat Overheats

When a cat shows signs of overheating, you need to act quickly to protect your cat.

  • If you suspect your cat may be overheating, take her temperature. The normal temperature for cats is between 100.4 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • If your cat's temperature is above that range, take steps to cool her off. The quickest way to cool kitty down is to wet her fur. Put her in a sink or bathtub with a couple inches of room temperature water, or wet her down with a garden hose.
  • Phone your veterinarian for further instructions once you have wet her down. The vet may want to see your cat, depending upon how high her temperature is and which symptoms she exhibits.
  • A temperature of 104 degrees is serious. A temperature of 106 to 107 means your cat is dangerously overheating and this may cause permanent damage or even death.

Watch Your Cat Carefully

If you must leave your cat outdoors during the sizzling days of summer, keep a close watch on her. By spotting the signs of an impending heat stroke, you can take steps to minimize the damage. Do your best to find or create a cool place for your cat to rest during the hottest times and keep him or her hydrated. With a little planning and knowledge, your cat will make it through summer as healthy as when the season started.

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How to Keep an Outdoor Cat Cool in the Summer