Cat Summer Safety Tips: 6 Dangers to Avoid

Cat Summer Safety Tips: 6 Dangers to Avoid

Ah, summertime…The sun is shining. There’s not a cloud in the sky. And danger is probably the last thing on your mind, especially when it comes to your cat. 

But warmer weather can usher in some unexpected hazards for our feline friends. The heat, the sun, and even the change in routine can all impact your cat’s health and well-being. And it’s not just your outdoor cat you need to worry about. Summertime dangers can affect indoor cats, too.  

To help you and your cat enjoy the sunny days ahead, here are six potential summer hazards to watch out for this summer, plus practical prevention tips to help you keep warm weather threats at bay.   

So, let’s dive in and learn how to keep our feline companions safe, cool, and happy, no matter what the season brings.

How to Protect Your Cat From Top Summer Hazards 

Nothing ruins fun in the sun like an unexpected pet injury, illness, or emergency trip to the vet. So here’s a list of six common summer dangers and how to best defend your cat against them.

Heatstroke

Depending on where you live, warmer summer weather could spell bad news for your kitty. While cats are generally good at regulating their body temperature, extreme heat could overwhelm their natural cooling capabilities and cause heatstroke. 

Heatstroke in cats can occur when their body temperature rises above 104°F (40°C), usually as a result of exposure to excessive heat. It can lead to serious health complications if not addressed promptly.

“Did you know that heatstroke is a leading cause of death in cats during the summer?” warns UK-based veterinarian Dr. Alex Crow, MRCVS. “It’s crucial to recognize the signs, such as rapid breathing, panting, and restlessness, and take action to cool them down.” Other signs to watch out for include lethargy, drooling, rapid heartbeat, and unusually red tongue and mouth.

Though outdoor cats may be more likely to develop heatstroke in the summer, indoor cats are at risk, too, especially in homes that tend to get overly warm (over 90 degrees).

To prevent heatstroke in cats, always make sure your cat has a cool, shaded area they can retreat to — both indoors and out — to escape the heat. And when summer temperatures rise, it’s a good idea to limit outdoor cat activities to the cooler parts of the day, such as early morning or late evening.

If you detect symptoms of heatstroke in your cat, move them to a cooler place immediately, try to get them to drink water, and contact your vet immediately.

Dehydration

When temperatures rise, cats can become dehydrated faster than you’d expect. This is especially common in senior cats or those in poor health. Dehydration in cats can cause a range of other health issues, from kidney problems to urinary tract infections. 

To help prevent dehydration, it’s best to keep an eye on rising temps and provide plenty of opportunities for your cat to drink throughout the day. Consider placing multiple water bowls around the house or yard, using a cat water fountain, or switching to wet cat food to increase their daily water intake.  

Monitor your cat’s water bowl closely during hot weather. If you notice they’re not drinking as much as they should or detect signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, dry mouth, lethargy, or weakness), contact your vet right away for guidance. While very mild cases of cat dehydration can be treated at home, severe cases require immediate veterinary treatment. 

Parasites

Summer is the high season for many dangerous parasites, including fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and worms. Not only are these pests annoying to pets and people alike, but they can also transmit diseases to your cat. 

Remember, that threat applies to both indoor and outdoor cats. While outdoor cats face a higher risk of encountering parasites, there are plenty of ways these tiny interlopers can hitch a ride into your home. 

In many cases, it only takes one bite from a pest to infect your cat, so effective, year-round parasite prevention is your best defense against this peak summer hazard.

NexGard Combo Topical Solution for Cats

Parasite prevention comes in a wide range of forms, from topical treatments, to collars, to oral medications. Talk to your vet about what prevention medication offers the best defense for the parasites in your region. And to make sure you never miss a dose, sign up for a free GreatPetCare account for medication reminders, easy access to your pet’s medical records, auto-shipping, and more.

Sign up for a free GreatPetCare account today!

Toxic Plants and Chemicals

Got a green thumb? Summer may find you puttering in your outdoor garden or nurturing your indoor plants. But be aware that what you’re growing (and how you’re growing it) could pose a hazard to your cat.

Common outdoor plants, like lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums can be toxic if your cat ingests them. And most garden chemicals, like fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, are dangerous whether ingested or exposed to your cat’s skin. 

To keep your cat safe, always check the plants in your home and garden for toxicity and either make sure they’re off-limits to your cat or swap them for cat-friendly alternatives. Consider using pet-safe fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Store hazardous gardening chemicals behind locked doors. And keep your cat from rolling in recently “treated” areas…including your neighbors’ yards.

If, despite your best efforts, you suspect your cat has been exposed to a toxic plant (or are in doubt), contact your veterinarian as soon as possible to ensure quick, effective treatment. You can also call ASPCA Poison Control (888-426-4435) or the Pet Poison Helpline (855-764-7661) for guidance. But be aware that both services charge a consultation fee. 

Fireworks and Loud Noises

Summer celebrations are great. However, if they include fireworks or other loud noises, you may find yourself with a frightened feline on your hands. Not only can these scary stimuli cause stress and anxiety in cats, but they may also trigger dangerous attempts to escape. 

To keep your cat calm during noisy summer celebrations, try to create a safe, quiet space for them to retreat to in your home. You may also want to consider using calming solutions like pheromone diffusers or anxiety wraps to help them stay calm. If you know your cat is prone to anxiety, ask your veterinarian if your cat could benefit from prescription calming medications to ease the stress caused by loud fireworks.

Box of Feliway Classic Cat Calming Diffuser
Box of Purina Pro Plan Veterinar Care calming supplements for cats
Bottle of Gabapentin Flavored Mini-Tabs (compounded)

Sunburn

Don’t let the fur fool you. Just like humans, cats can get sunburned, too. They’re especially at risk anywhere their fur is sparse and their skin is exposed. And, much like people with fairer skin, felines with light-colored fur are extra vulnerable to the sun’s damaging rays.

To protect your cat from painful sunburns and long-term health risks like skin cancer, it’s best to keep them inside when the sun’s UV rays are strongest — generally mid-morning to mid-afternoon, even on cloudy days. And if they’re going to be outside, apply pet-safe sunscreen to areas where their skin is most exposed, like their ears, nose, and belly.

If your cat does get sunburned, don’t panic! Most mild sunburns can be treated at home with some expert guidance from your vet. Depending on how much discomfort your cat is in, your vet may recommend cold compresses, pain relievers, or anti-inflammatories to ease the pain and heal your cat’s burned skin. For more severe sunburns, however, or if the skin is broken or blistered, immediate veterinary treatment is best.

Summer is a wonderful time of year, but it’s important to be mindful of the unique dangers it can bring to our feline friends. By remaining aware of these potential hazards, taking proactive steps to prevent them, and setting up your free GreatPetCare account, you will help your feline friend stay safe and enjoy all the best this sunny season has to offer. 

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