Summer tips for cat owners
Summertime usually means time off for most people. Even for the cats, the routines typically change, and there are new things to take into account. Here are a few of our tips for getting ready for the summer holidays – from training the cat to walk in a harness to what to do if you need to get a cat sitter.
Cats are family members and may need a little extra care during the summer to feel good. If the owners plan and think ahead, many risks are easily preventable and increase the chance of a beautiful summer together.
Cats out in nature
During the summer period, many indoor cats get a chance to get out into nature. Some come along to the country, on the caravan holiday and even in a boat. Keep in mind that an indoor cat does not have quite the same tuned instincts as the outdoor cat and does not really know what they should be suited for when they are outside. A leash with a harness is a good investment, but don’t tie the cat up. Remember that cats that stay outside can be exposed to snakes, insect bites and, not least, ticks.
Just like for dogs, it is important to protect your cat against ticks. Feel the cat daily, and if any ticks are found, immediately remove them. Another risk that you need to be aware of is if your cat brings ticks into the home and spreads them onto people or other pets. It is very rare for cats to suffer from diseases resulting from tick bites. If a cat becomes infected, it is from Anaplasma bacteria, formerly called Ehrlichia. To prevent this from happening, choose an over-the-counter tick repellent at the pharmacy. Be extra careful that you choose a tick repellent that is specifically intended for cats, as tick repellents for dogs can be directly fatal for cats.
If necessary, take a stool sample from an adult cat and check for any reasons to deworm. Luckily, cats that only live indoors rarely need to be dewormed. Signs that the cat may have worms are diarrhoea, emaciation, dull fur, vomiting and coughing. In some cases, worms can be seen when vomiting or around the anal opening. Kittens should be dewormed before leaving their breeder.
Update the cat’s vaccinations! Cats must be vaccinated against parvo every three years. In normal cases, the same time interval applies to cat flu, but consult your vet for your cat’s needs.
Veterinary Ireland recommends that pet cats are neutered from 16 weeks of age once they are in good health. Neutering is an essential part of responsible cat ownership. It is critical for population control, and it is vital to neuter cats before they are sexually active. Neutering your cat will prevent the perpetuation of many diseases which are found in the feral cat population.
Make sure the cat always has access to shade and coolness. Never leave the cat in the car on hot days. The first signs of heat stroke are that the cat becomes anxious and stressed. If the cat is also panting and drooling, it must be cooled down. Cover the cat with wet towels. As it begins to recover, make sure it rests in a dry, cool place.
Sunscreen for the cat
Cats can get sunburned if they can’t seek shade on really hot days, although most seek shade or stay indoors. In general, the risk is greater for white animals and animals with thin fur. Exposed areas are the ears, nose and stomach. Help the cat by using perfume-free sunscreen on particularly exposed areas if necessary.
On the balcony
More and more indoor cat owners put nets around their balconies and patios to give their cats a bit of a summer feel. This is something we recommend, but before you get a net, remember not to buy too sparse and low a net so that the cat gets stuck with its head in the grid or escapes. Make sure that there is always a shady place for your cat when it is outside and that there is fresh water to drink. Unfortunately, injuries caused by falls from balconies and windows open for ventilation are also more common during the spring and summer when the heat sets in. Regarding fall injuries from balconies and windows, it is, of course, necessary to net windows and balconies carefully and with a net of good quality in accordance with current legal requirements.
How do we get the cat to walk in a harness?
If you don’t have a balcony, feel free to buy a harness for your cat and take it out for walks. Train the cat by putting that harness on a little from time to time. It is not uncommon for the cat to crawl along the floor, back up and act very strange the first few times. Also, don’t be surprised if the cat finds the grass scary to walk on. It will pass. Get used to it for shorter walks. After a while, you have a faithful walking companion!
Before the holiday trip
Travelling away for a period often presents the cat owner with the choice of taking or leaving the cat(s) at home.
Some cat owners take the cat with them when they travel on vacation, while others leave the cat behind. Cats react differently to a change of environment – some adapt quickly, while others do not thrive at all. Feel what your cat likes best when you make your choice.