I'm a cat expert and here are 10 ways to keep your feline cool during the hot summer weather

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While many humans are aware of how the heat can affect their canine companions, fewer are aware of how hot weather can affect cats.

According to holistic cat groomer Katie Gwilt, who runs The Kat Lady grooming business in Liverpool, says she regularly sees cats in the Summer who need cooling down.

Despite their reputation for being independent, cats can struggle with high temperatures says Katie - especially cats with long hair or flat faces (brachycephalic) like Persians.

According to the feline expert: 'Cats aren't like dogs in the sense that they are much more independent, and it can be difficult to spot signs that they are struggling. So that is why I have put together these tips, to help keep our cats cool during the summer months. 

'From considering a belly fur trim, to freezing a treat...for a cooling snack, your cat will really thank you as the weather heats up.'

Cat expert Katie Gwilt (pictured) has shared 10 tips on how to keep your feline feeling cool in the hot weather

Cat expert Katie Gwilt (pictured) has shared 10 tips on how to keep your feline feeling cool in the hot weather

Cat expert Katie Gwilt (pictured) has shared 10 tips on how to keep your feline feeling cool in the hot weather

1. Provide shade outdoors   

According to Katie: 'I have visited a few homes recently where they have shaded areas outdoors set up for the cats in their family. 

'One had a cooling tent and others had boxes or outdoor cat houses set up where their cat can escape the sun's rays if they want to but still enjoy the outdoors.'

She recommends giving your  cat the choice of having some sunny and some shaded spots, so they can regulate their own temperature as needed throughout the day.

Katie added: 'It's especially important if you have a patio that you have some areas that are out of direct sunlight.'

2. Leave out extra fresh water 

While you should always ensure your cats have access to plenty of fresh water, it's even more important in the hotter weather - you don't want them to dehydrate so put down some extra water sources.

'Leave some outside too in a shaded area for other wildlife as well as your own cats,' advised Katie. 

'If you pop a small stone in the middle of the bowl it will give any insects a spot to rest and drink safely from so they don't drown. I've spotted a few bumble bees struggling in the heat recently.'

Cats may have a reputation for being independent, but they can use a helping hand in the hot weather too

Cats may have a reputation for being independent, but they can use a helping hand in the hot weather too 

3. For cats with fluffy tummies consider a belly trim 

It is widely known that cats don't sweat through their skin the way humans do. 

Instead, they sweat through their paw pads (and sometimes their noses). According to Katie, you often see cats lying flat out on a cool floor when they are trying to cool down.

She noted: 'The skin on their bellies is very thin (1-2mm) so they can absorb the cool from places like bathroom or kitchen tiles this way. 

'Seeing your local cal groomer to give their tummies a trim can help those cats with extra fluffy tummies at this time of year and enable the skin to soak up the cool from these types of surfaces.'

4. Pop some ice cubes in with your cat's water 

'To help cool your cat's water you can add a couple of ice cubes to one of the bowls whilst leaving another ice cube free,' said Katie.

'This way your cat can choose which water they want/need depending on their mood, time of day and the temperature. Some cats also like the texture of licking the ice cube, but it isn't to every cat's taste.'

5. Try freezing treats for your cat 

According to Katie, some runny cat treats (like liquid-based treats sold in sachets)  can be put straight in the freezer for a couple of hours to make a popsicle for your cat. 

She continued: 'You can also use a food processor and an ice cube tray to freeze some of the meatier ones too.

'Using a lick mat (usually promoted for dogs not cats) with frozen goodies on it for your cat is a way to keep them entertained and enriched as well. Experiment and see what your cat likes best. 

'You can put the mat in the freezer for a couple of hours and then leave it out for your cat to investigate. You can also get fun shaped ice cube trays to give your cats fish shaped homemade treats etc.'

6. Buy a cooling mat or make your own 

Cooling mats can be bought online, in pet shops and supermarkets. 

These are described as 'great to put out' by Katie, who says doing so will 'give your cats the choice of where they lie on hotter days'.

However, she noted: 'Some don't like the texture of the mat itself so you can experiment putting a thin blanket or towel over it to make it more comfy for your cats. 

'Also try leaving out a damp (not wet) tea towel or towel for your cat to lie on if you don't want to buy a mat.'

Among her tips for helping your cats in hot weather, groomer Katie Gwilt suggested using cat specific sunscreen and leaving cooling mats around

Among her tips for helping your cats in hot weather, groomer Katie Gwilt suggested using cat specific sunscreen and leaving cooling mats around

7. Leave a fan on 

As the expert notes, indoors can be just as hot as outdoors, sometimes hotter - especially upstairs rooms at night time.

'If your cat is indoors only in particular, consider getting a fan and putting it out for the cat,' Katie advised.

'Not all cats like them, but it is worth trying if you are going to be out a lot and have to keep the windows closed for security and safety.'

8. Cat specific sun cream 

'Like us cats can get skin cancer and sunburn,' Katie warned.

'You can't use human sunscreen on cats as it is toxic to them, but you can get cat-specific ones from your local pet shop or online.'

Sunscreen is especially recommended for cats with pink ears and noses as they are at a higher risk of UV damage from the sun similar to lighter-skinned humans being at a higher risk of sunburn. 

'They will soon get used to having to wear a little and it could save their life,' said Katie, who noted that that is 'especially applicable to white cats or those with white faces and ears'.

9. Shorten playtime 

In hotter weather try to keep play time shorter. You don't want to wear your cat out in the heat and cause them health issues from over-exertion. 

'Short, sharp bursts are much healthier with rest breaks as needed,' said Katie.

'If you see your cat starting to breathe heavily or pant then stop the session straight away and give them some recovery time.'

Persian cats (pictured) can be particularly susceptible overheating, according to groomer Katie Gwilt (stock image)

Persian cats (pictured) can be particularly susceptible overheating, according to groomer Katie Gwilt (stock image)

10. Check for heat stroke 

Cats can get heat stroke, so Katie advises making sure you are aware of the symptoms. 

She said: 'Look for signs of agitation, rapid breathing or sometimes panting, the cat being in extreme distress, skin that is hot when you touch it, glazed eyes and vomiting and drooling. If in any doubt give your local vet a call and take their advice.

'In the short term look at cooling the cat slowly perhaps putting a damp (not wet) towel out for them. 

'You don't want them to go into shock so always do this at a slow pace and don't douse the cat with cold water. Always seek professional medical help if you are concerned.'

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