Surviving the Summer Heat for your Cat

Congratulations, Calgary, summer is here!  To most of us these months mean patios, barbecues, and fun in the sun but the heat can be more troublesome for our furry friends.

I was personally reminded of this fact last summer on our first 30 degree day when my food-loving tabby Scout showed no interest in breakfast.  Now Scout is the type that would normally prefer three breakfasts so I was a bit concerned but figured maybe he was just having a bad morning.  However, when he seemed extra tired and uninterested in food again at dinner, I knew there was a problem.

Like many of us, my upper floor condo did not have air conditioning and I was fine just opening the windows (with properly fitted screens of course).  I don’t live in a fur coat though and I knew that the heat can have more of an effect on our pets, especially as they age.  Therefore I set out to find what seemed like the last available portable window unit air conditioner in Calgary.  Once I got the AC home and installed, it took only a few hours before Scout had perked back up and was eating with his usual gusto.  It was a stressful 48 hours though and I hope my experience can help you to be better prepared!

Some considerations:

–Older cats and/or cats with heart or lung concerns such as asthma are more likely to have trouble as it gets hotter outside.

–Early signs of distress are subtle: lack of appetite and lethargy may be all you see.

–During this early stage, cooling your cat’s living space and providing lots of fresh cool water may be all that’s needed to remedy the situation.

–If your kitty does not respond to the above measures or starts to show more severe signs of illness, please seek immediate veterinary care.

–Signs such as panting, refusal or inability to walk normally, or disorientation indicate an emergency and potential heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

–As you are likely aware, pets should never be left in cars even for the briefest of periods.