10 Ways to Keep Your Cat Cool in Summer Heat


Summer starts soon, and with it comes hot weather. Here are ways to protect your cat.

 For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, summer starts on Friday, June 21. That’s the longest day of the year and with it comes hot weather until the fall. During the summer heat, you can strip down to shorts and a tank top, but your cat has to wear a fur coat all year long. This can easily become a health issue. So what can you do to keep your feline friend comfortable during the summer? Here are 10 of my favorite tips.

1. Ice Ice Baby

If you’re going to be away all day and you know it’s going to get warm in the afternoon, drop three or four cubes into kitty’s water bowl before you head out.

2. Ice Ice Baby, Part 2

Fill a small soda bottle with cold water and leave it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap the bottle in a towel and put it in your cat’s favorite lounging spot. If she gets overheated, she’ll appreciate the kitty cooling room. Don’t fill the bottle to the top: Water expands when it freezes, and you could have a mess on your hands if you don’t leave some air space.

3. Elevate the Bed

Cloth-covered plastic frames with short legs will allow your cat to sleep in comfort during hot weather, and the air passing under her bed will help to keep her cool.

4. Give Her a Fan

Get a small box fan and set it on the floor near your air conditioner or an open window. If your kitty gets too hot, she’ll appreciate the breeze blowing through her fur to keep her cool. For extra cooling power during summer heat, put one of those frozen water bottles in front of the fan.

5. Shave and a Haircut

If your cat has long fur, consider getting her a lion cut to help ease her suffering on those hot summer days. But be careful: White and light-colored cats also have very pale skin and can be subject to sunburn.
Talk to your vet about whether giving your feline friend a shave could help keep her cool in the hot weather. Another option is to have only her tummy shaved: that way, she can get sun protection as well as cooling.

Hot cats will instinctively seek out cool places like tile floors.

6. Apply a Damp Cloth

Take a damp washcloth or paper towel and stroke your cat with it. Most cats don’t mind a little bit of moisture on their fur, especially when they notice how it can cool them off. In fact, one of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming, which is nothing more than wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.

7. Close the Curtains

Close the curtains or blinds in your south- or west-facing windows. Not only will it keep your kitty cooler, it’ll save you money on your a/c bills as well.

8. Avoid Cooling Gel Packs

Although gel cold packs are made with ingredients that are considered nontoxic for humans, the gel could be harmful to your cat if she happens to poke a hole in the plastic with her claw and ingest it.

9. Postpone Playtime

Even if your cat loves a rousing game of Chase the Mousie, it’s best to wait until the end of the day, when it’s cooler. Cats can get overheated pretty quickly by strenuous exercise on hot days.

10. Never, Never, Never Leave Your Cat in Your Car.

Not even for a quick errand. A closed car can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees in a frighteningly short time.
If your cat starts panting, drooling, or having trouble breathing, or she seems to be losing consciousness, get to your vet or the nearest emergency clinic right away. These are symptoms of heatstroke, and if left untreated, your cat could suffer from kidney damage, heart dysfunction, or other potentially fatal problems.


Meet the Pet FBI: A Group That Uses the Internet to Reunite Lost Pets with Their Families

When a black cat turned up on a woman’s doorstep in Worthington, Ohio, she did everything she could to find the lost kitty’s family. She contacted area shelters and put up posters around the neighborhood, hoping to hear from someone who was looking for their pet.

She also took her cat rescue effort online. Pet FBI, which stands for “found by Internet,” is a database dedicated to helping reunite pets lost and found in Ohio with their families. The woman had almost given up on finding the cat’s family when she got a call from a man in New Jersey. He had moved out of state from Reynoldsburg five months earlier, and he had lost his beloved cat, Midnight.

Pet FBI helps reunite lost pets with their families. 

The man, too, had almost given up when he found a description of Midnight on the Pet FBI website. After seeing a photograph, he drove 500 miles to retrieve his lost cat.

“It is still a mystery how Midnight ended up in Worthington after wandering away from home in Reynoldsburg,” says Maresa Fanelli, Pet FBI founder. “If only they could talk.”

Just goes to show that when looking for a lost pet, persistence pays off. Since Fanelli founded the nonprofit organization in the late 1990s, Pet FBI has helped thousands of lost pets find their way home. The database allows people to report and post descriptions of lost

or found pets. It is searchable by time frame, type of animal, and location. Since 1998, more than 39,000 reports have been submitted. Approximately one-third of the dogs and one-fourth of the cats have been reported as reunited.

“Sure enough, it was a match,” Fanelli says. “Just around that time, the Internet was taking off, and I thought, what a perfect application! Why not set up a database for lost and found pets?”Fanelli was inspired to take the traditional “lost pet” posters approach online after she witnessed a chance reunion between a lost cat and family. Her neighbor had been feeding a stray cat for several months when, by chance, her son saw a poster in another part of town with a picture that resembled the cat.

The holding time for strays at some shelters might only be a couple of days, so even after you’ve reported your cat missing, check back early and often.

Through her work with Pet FBI, Fanelli has learned some hard truths about animal rescue — and about the animals who end up in shelters. She did not realize that many of the cats and dogs in shelters were not merely lost but that many of them never had homes at all. She was also shocked to learn that a high percentage of these animals — particularly the cats and kittens — would never be given a chance at life.

“When I first founded Pet FBI I had some pretty naïve notions,” Fanelli says. “I thought that all the dogs and cats in shelters were strays and that someone somewhere was desperate to find them.”

When Fanelli learned the dire consequences of pet overpopulation, she expanded Pet FBI’s mission. In addition to reuniting pets with their families, Fanelli and the group’s dedicated volunteers also work to provide spay/neuter assistance to disadvantaged people and caretakers of feral cat colonies.

Since starting the spay/neuter program in 2002, Pet FBI has implemented or subsidized approximately 9,000 surgeries. Fanelli would like to do more, but acquiring enough funding and resources to meet growing needs remains challenging.

“The need is so great and the resources are so limited, and there are never enough trappers, foster parents, or homes for all the kittens,” Fanelli says.

When searching for a lost pet, persistence pays off.

Based on feedback from Pet FBI users, when looking for a lost pet, Fanelli recommends taking the search into the community as well as online. Posters are effective — but “they should be highly visible and there should be many of them.”

“Unfortunately, there is no one single source of information, so if you lose a pet you should be very aggressive and very persistent and avail yourself of every possible resource,” Fanelli adds.

This includes regularly checking in with local shelters. Many shelters are understaffed, so they might not rush to contact you even if you’ve reported your pet as missing. This is not because they don’t care, but simply because they cannot keep track of all the animals that enter their facilities. The holding period for strays may only be one to two days at some shelters, so it pays to visit early and often.

Also, Fanelli says people should not assume their lost pets will just find their way home on their own. Touching stories of lost pets randomly turning up at home are often reported in the news, but they are the exception rather than the rule.

“Do not assume that if your pet is lost it will come running to you,” Fanelli says. “This is especially true of cats, but dogs will also keep a low profile out of fear if they are stressed.”

10 Surprising Cat-Care Tips


10 Surprising Cat-Care Tips


In his latest book, “Your Cat: The Owner’s Manual,” Dr. Marty Becker offers his expert advice for new cat owners.  From his tips on how to prevent health problems to how to stop cats from scratching the furniture, this book covers any cat-related question you might have.  Check out Dr. Becker’s top ten surprising cat-care tips from his book below.

Cats Dig Running Water
A pet drinking fountain is one of the best investments you can make in your cat’s health.  Cats find cool, running water to be appealing — it’s a natural behavior, because stream water is less likely to be contaminated than a stagnant pool.  Cats tend to be chronically dehydrated, and feline fountains are proven to get cats to drink more water. Many feline health problems can be aided with proper hydration, and it’s more efficient than leaving a faucet dripping to entice your cat to drink.

Pick a Pretty, Allergy-Easy Kitty
While no cat is guaranteed to not be an allergy trigger — and people with life-threatening reactions are better off without a cat — it’s possible to pick a pet who might be less of a problem.  Black, unneutered males are purported the worst choice for people with allergies, since they typically have higher levels in their saliva of FelD1, the protein that triggers sneezing and wheezing. Some breeds of cat, most notably the Siberian, have a high number of individual animals with low levels of FelD1. If you’re paying for a  “hypo-allergenic” cat, insist on saliva testing. If you’re choosing a kitten, choose a light-colored female, and get her spayed.

Panting Is a Problem
Dogs pant up to 300 times a minute to cool themselves, but if you see your cat panting it may be a medical emergency. While sometimes it can just be from extreme anxiety, it can also be a sign of respiratory or cardiovascular problems, warranting an immediate call to the veterinarian.

Canned Cat Food Is Preferred
Veterinarians recommend feeding canned cat food over kibble. Canned foods have a higher percentage of protein and fat than dry foods and are significantly higher in water content than kibble (70 percent vs 10 percent). Also, canned foods tend to be more palatable to cats that are finicky, elderly or have dental problems.  Better health for your cat can start by closing the all-day kitty kibble buffet and feeding measured amounts of a good canned food. Talk to your veterinarian.

Want a Cat to Love You? Look Away!
What can you do to get a cat to come to you? Avoid eye contact. Cats don’t like eye contact with strangers, so will almost always go to the person who’s not looking at them. This also is the answer to the age-old mystery of why cats always seem to go to the one person in the room who doesn’t like cats. It’s because she may be the only one not “rudely” — in the cat’s view — staring.

Tale of the Tail
You can tell a cat’s mood by watching his tail. Tail upright, happy; tail moving languidly, keep petting me; tail low, twitching erratically, I’m on the prowl; tail swishing rapidly, beware and leave me alone. If you’ve ever been surprised when a cat you’re petting suddenly grabs you angrily, you missed a tail tale: The unhappy twitch of the tail tip would have told you to stop petting, now.

Surprising Signs of a Cat in Pain
Chronic pain is not uncommon in cats, especially as they age. Cat-lovers miss the signs of a pet in pain because cats are good at hiding it. Any cat observed as being hesitant to jump up or climb, not using the litter box, not able to groom themselves as well, more aggressive or more withdrawn need to see the veterinarian. These are classic signs of discomfort, and need to be addressed.

What Litter Do Cats Really Prefer?
Forget the people-pleasing scents. Forget special formulas or alternative ingredients. Your cat is more likely to prefer unscented clumping litter, according to preference tests. And if you want to keep your cat using “the bathroom,” be sure to keep it clean, place it in a quiet, cat-friendly place and don’t use any liners in the box — cats don’t like them. None of these changes will address a cat who has stopped using the box because of illness. Urinary tract infections and other health issues need to be addressed by your veterinarian before box re-training can commence.

How to Prevent a Finicky Cat
Feed your kitten a few different foods so he or she will experience different textures and flavors of food. Just as people typically stick with the toothpaste they start with as youngsters, cats who are only exposed to one type of food will be less likely try other brands and kinds. That can be a real problem if the favored food goes off the market, or your cat needs to eat a special food for health reasons. So mix it up on your kitten.

Don’t Toss That Ratty Scratching Post
When a post starts looking worn is when a cat starts liking it best. Get a new one and your cat may switch to the arm of the couch. Instead, refresh your cat’s post by adding some coils of fresh sisal rope — it’s cheap, easy to add and cats love to dig their claws into it.

Polydactyl Cats, aka “Cats with Thumbs”

Not all animal lovers know that there are cats prowling all over the world with four paws and a set of thumbs. These kitties with extra digits are what’s known as “polydactyl”. This is basically a fancy term for “one step closer to world domination.”

Ernest Hemingway was one of the more famous lovers of polydactyl cats, after being first given a six-toed cat by a ship’s captain. Upon Hemingway’s death in 1961, his former home in Key West, Florida became a museum and a home for his cats, and it currently houses approximately fifty descendants of his cats (about half of which are polydactyl).