How to Keep Feral Cats Cool in the Summer
The summer months can be sweltering, making it tough not to get overheated when outside. This is especially true for feral cats who have to find ways to stay cool even though they're outdoors all the time. How do feral cats keep cool in the summer, and what can you do to help? Providing lots of shade and water is a great place to start.
Bring Feral Cats Indoors if Possible
Cats have a higher body temperature than people and can generally tolerate heat better. But feral cats aren't immune to the dangers of dehydration and heatstroke.1 So you'll want to help them stay cool, even if they're not tame enough to bring into your home.
If you have a safe area where the feral cats in your neighborhood can go to cool down, why not open it up during the hot summer months? Consider your garage or even an air-conditioned patio. If you don't have an option like this, there are still many things you can do to help them stay cool.
Give Them Shady Spaces and Raised Beds
Feral cats come and go as they please. During the hotter part of the day, they'll be looking for a cooler, shadier place to lay low. Make it easy for them to find that in your yard. You might want to put some cat beds in a gazebo or on a patio. Plant some trees or bushes that provide shade. Leave treats or food on your covered porch to encourage them to relax there. Don't forget to treat the area for fleas, since they're especially active in the summer.
If you decide to set up some beds for the cats to relax on, raised beds are ideal because they're off the hot ground. The Coolin' Pet Cot is an excellent choice in the summer because of its cooling center. You can also get a canopy to go over it to create extra shade. The Pet Cot House is another great option. This raised bed comes with side windows that can be opened for extra airflow while still providing shade.
Leave Out Lots of Water
Dehydration is a big concern when cats are outside in the summer, so leave out lots of water bowls for the cats in your neighborhood. A Coolin' Bowl keeps water cool for up to 15 hours when you freeze the bowl overnight.
If you're able to open up your garage, consider using the CleanFlow Filtered Water Bowl, which filters up to 130 times an hour. This water bowl can be ordered with a reservoir, which can help make sure your feral cats don't run out of water. Keep the bowls in a shaded space so they don't become too hot.
Leave Dry Kibble Outside
When you're setting up the water bowls, you should also make sure the cats' food is safe. Dry kibble will stay fresh longer than wet food during the summer, and it won't attract as many insects.2 Some bugs, like ants, might still be attracted though, so try putting the food in an ant-proof bowl.
Keep Their Paws Safe
Outdoor cats need places to walk other than a hot road, hot concrete, or hot sand. If you have a shaded area set up, make sure there's a nice dirt or grass path so the feral cats can reach that area without burning their paws.3
When it comes to feral cats and the summer months, the main words to keep in mind are "shade" and "water." If you provide both of these, you'll help to keep all those cats safe during the hottest time of year.
- Family Friends Veterinary. "Beat the Heat: Summer Care Tips for Cats." FamilyFriendsVetandKennel.com, https://www.familyfriendsvetandkennel.com/beat-the-heat-summer-care-tips-for-cats.html.
- Alley Cat Allies. "Summer Weather Tips." AlleyCat.org, https://www.alleycat.org/community-cat-care/summer-weather-tips/.
- Brunswick Central Vet Clinic. "Summer Safety for Cats." BrunswickCentralVet.com.au, https://brunswickcentralvet.com.au/pet-library/summer-safety-for-cats.