Friday, July 11, 2014

Helping cats to beat the heat

napping Russian blue cat in the summer sun
We're having some unseasonably hot weather in Oregon. My poor garden plants are both wilting and burning, and the dogs are spending the majority of their time in air-conditioned spaces. Normally, my cats love this kind of weather, and they even follow the sunbeams as they move, catching the rays while they loll about on their backs.

But this weather has been much too hot for even my sun-loving cats, and as it's likely to get even hotter next week, I'm pulling together some plans to keep them healthy and happy as the weather heats up.

For the outdoor cats, this means ensuring that they have shady, cool spaces to nap in. They're experts at finding shade, of course, but I've also started misting the grass in their favorite napping spots, so those spaces will be just a little humid and cool when the afternoon rolls around. I'm also on a three-time-per-day watering schedule, ensuring that these cats have icy cool water to sip on throughout the day.

blind cat in her cat bed
The indoor cats also need water, of course, but they also seem to enjoy having access to spaces they are normally barred from. At the moment, this means basement bedrooms. The basement always stays much cooler than the upper levels of the house, but the cats sometimes use these spaces to stash toys, shred plants and otherwise raise a little hell. Normally, I keep them out as a result. But when the weather is this hot, I open the doors wide and let them come on in.

Cooling mats (like this one:  K&H Pet Products Cool Bed III Medium Blue 22" x 32") can also be a blessing for indoor pets, especially if you're lucky enough to have a basement. I keep my mat downstairs during the night, so the water inside the mattress picks up the cool from the air, and I bring that mat upstairs in the evenings for cool cat naps. My cats tend to sleep next to it, rather than on it, but it does seem to cool them.

Russian blue shelter cat

I've been a little worried about cats like Cleopatra: One of the sweeties I've been working with at the Willamette Humane Society. But when I went in this week, the air conditioning in the shelter was working just fine, and all of the cats were resting comfortably. However, I'd bet these guys would love to rest in a home, not a shelter. Cleopatra (and many others) are adoptable, and the shelter is running a pretty nifty special on senior cats. If you have any space in your home on these hot days, these senior cats would appreciate your help, I'm sure.

****Update: Cleopatra has been adopted! But there are many others like her that still need you.****

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