For those cats who live an indoor-outdoor existence — or even an exclusive outdoor life, despite its many dangers — there are extra hazards to keep in mind during the warm weather months. There is an increase in cat fights, dog bites and road traffic accidents.
There are also accidents associated with BBQs, including burns and the ingestion of forbidden foods. But below are the most important factors to consider when letting your cat outside this summer.
- Provide fresh food and water. Be sure that your cat has fresh water available at all times, and doesn’t need to rely on an unsafe water source instead. It’s important not to let food linger and attract unwanted insects and spoilage. Remove uneaten food promptly after she has finished eating.
- Be sure that if you have a swimming pool or a pond on your property that there is an adequate escape route for any pets who fall in.
- Cats love to sunbathe, so be sure that she can’t get locked into a greenhouse or a hot car. Never leave a cat in its carrying case during the hot weather, even with a window open. Heatstroke can kill an animal quickly. The signs are obvious: Your cat will be restless, pant excessively and drool. If your cat is not treated quickly, she could collapse and fall into a coma. If you suspect that your cat is suffering from heat stroke, you can lower her temperature by bathing her in cool — not cold — water and seek emergency veterinary attention. Do not delay!
- White and light-colored cats are susceptible to sunburn and you should apply animal-safe sunscreen to her ears and nose. Excessive sun exposure can lead to cancers of the nose and ears in cats.
- Fleas and ticks are more prevalent in warmer months, so it’s important to discuss with your veterinarian a safe and appropriate protocol for your pet. Remember: Never use a product intended for dogs on your cat! The result can be deadly.
- Be observant about insect stings, especially bees. If your cat is stung near its mouth or even in its throat, it can cause the airway to swell and restrict breathing. Additionally, some cats may be allergic to bee and wasp stings. If you suspect your cat has been stung, contact your vet immediately.
- During the warm months, it’s not uncommon for garages and sheds to be left open — so it’s especially easy for cats to wander in and step in chemicals, which they may later lick off. If you suspect your cat has been accidentally poisoned, do not delay! Contact your vet immediately.