Just like you may want to embrace the summer, the warmer months offer a lot for your cat to do and explore outside. With a landscape teeming with activity, your cat may be eager to explore the world around them.
You wouldn’t think of heading outside to enjoy a hot summer day without a water bottle and sun protection, but that’s because you understand how summer weather can impact you. Cats, on the other hand, rely on you to protect them from danger.
This post helps you anticipate and prepare your cat to face the top dangers summertime brings, so they can enjoy romping around, investigating, and playing with their cat toys outside this summer.
Dangers Cats May Encounter in the Summer
You may think that taking your cat outside for a few minutes doesn’t give them enough time to run into danger, but even a few minutes can put them at risk if you’re not prepared. So be aware of these potential dangers your cat may come across during the summer months:
- Heatstroke: Your precious cat is susceptible to heatstroke, especially if they're exposed to high temperatures. Obviously staying outside in the heat too long can be an issue, but you must also avoid leaving your cat in hot cars or areas without proper ventilation. Signs of heatstroke include excessive panting, drooling, weakness, vomiting, and collapse. So always provide cats with shade, fresh water, and a cool environment during hot weather.
- Dehydration: Cats can become dehydrated quickly, especially when it's hot. Ensure your cat has access to clean, fresh water at all times, and consider providing multiple water sources in different locations. If you suspect your cat is dehydrated (signs include dry gums, sunken eyes, and lethargy), consult a veterinarian.
- Sunburn: Cats with light-colored fur, thin hair, or exposed skin areas are prone to sunburn. It's important to limit their sun exposure, especially during peak hours. If necessary, use pet-safe sunscreen recommended by your veterinarian, but avoid human sunscreens as they can be toxic to cats.
- Parasites: Fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes are more prevalent during the summer months. These parasites can cause various health issues for cats, including skin irritation, allergic reactions, and the transmission of diseases. Consult your veterinarian about appropriate preventive measures, such as flea and tick control products.
- Toxic plants: Many common plants and flowers found in gardens or homes can be toxic to cats if ingested. Lilies, for example, are highly toxic and can be fatal. Research the plants in your environment and remove any potentially harmful ones. Keep your cat away from areas where toxic plants are present.
- Accidental ingestion: Cats may come across unfamiliar substances, chemicals, or toxic substances during outdoor excursions. Keep an eye on your cat and ensure they don't consume anything harmful, such as antifreeze, pesticides, or other toxic substances commonly found during summer.
- Open windows and balconies: Open windows and balconies pose a risk of falls, especially if they are not securely screened. Cats are naturally curious and may attempt to explore open spaces, which can lead to accidents and injuries. Ensure your windows and balconies are secure or use appropriate cat-proofing measures.
Every cat is unique, and the location in which you live results in unique dangers as well. So if you aren’t sure what your cat may encounter in your area, consult with your veterinarian. Your vet will know the common dangers to be aware of based on your area and can offer specific recommendations based on your cat's health, breed, and individual needs during the summer months.
Tips for Enjoying the Outdoors with Your Cat This Summer
Although your cat may face dangers outside, you can still safely explore the outdoors together. While some cats may prefer romping around indoors, your cat may crave the excitement of the outside where they can explore new environments. So if you want to take your cat outside this summer, just consider these tips:
- Know your neighborhood. While your vet may know what to expect in your general location, you can become the expert in your immediate area. Outdoor environments can present a range of risks to cats, including traffic accidents, encounters with aggressive animals or stray cats, exposure to diseases, and the potential for getting lost or stolen.
Consider the safety of your neighborhood and the specific risks your cat may face. You may also discover that certain times of the day are better for outdoor playtime than others. While you may want to avoid the heat of the day by participating in an early morning adventure, several nocturnal animals who may be interested in your cat are still out, making their way back home, and the traffic can be heavy from people leaving for work. So knowing what to expect in your area throughout the day helps you create a safe plan for outdoor excursions.
If you’re outside playing with your cat, your playtime may look exciting to children in the neighborhood. So be sure you know how best to introduce your cat to others. While a flying bird cat toy looks like fun to the toddler next door prepare yourself introduce your cat to little ones and other adults should that child come scampering over.
- Provide shade and fresh water. High temperatures and extreme weather conditions can be dangerous for cats. They are more susceptible to heatstroke and dehydration, so if your cat ventures outside, ensure there are shaded areas both to relax as well as play in and fresh water
- Supervise your cat’s outings. Accompany your cat during outdoor excursions and keep a close eye on their activities. This allows you to intervene if any dangers arise.
- Create a catio. You can construct an enclosed area that offers a compromise between indoor and outdoor living. Just like you might enjoy a screened-in porch to feel the breeze but keep the bugs out, you can set up a space that provides access to fresh air and sunlight and stimulating cat toys while minimizing risks your cat may encounter outdoors.
- Customize a cat garden. If you want to give your cat full outdoor access, create a customized garden just for your cat. You can enclose it and fill it with cat-friendly plants, plenty of shade, and flowing fresh water.
- Consider harness and leash training. Some cats can be trained to walk on a leash. This allows you to take them outside while maintaining control and reducing potential hazards.
Although summer is fun for some cats, some may turn up their noses to the outdoors. However, even if your cat is a permanent indoor cat, they can still lead fulfilling lives indoors when provided with proper mental and physical stimulation. Ensure your indoor environment offers feline enrichment with interactive cat toys to keep your cat engaged and entertained.
Keeping in mind the dangers of summer for your favorite feline can help you prevent issues like dehydration, accidents, or getting into substances that could harm your cat. So prepare yourself—and your cat—for a fun-filled summer together. By stocking up on the best cat toys from Leo’s Paw, you can enjoy the outdoors together and discover why being a pet parent is so rewarding.