Last Updated on: July 20, 2023 by Crystal Uys
Caring for feral cats in the summer can be tricky. You don’t see these cats often since they run from the slightest human interaction, so it’s hard to tell if they’re thirsty, hungry, or hurt unless you trap them. That said, there are some simple acts of kindness you can do to keep the feral cats in your community healthy during the scorching summer.
Top 12 Ways to Care for a Feral Cat in the Summer:
1. Provide Water
The most important thing you can do for feral cats in the summer is to provide water. Offering a few watering stations will help these kitties stay cool without needing to go far for hydration.
2. Leave Water Bowls in the Shade
Sunshine warms and evaporates water. The feral kitties won’t have as much water, and you’ll have to refill the water bowl often. A quick fix is to leave the water in the shade.
3. Use Narrow, Deep Bowls
Shallow water warms faster because the light reaches the surface of the container. For this reason, use narrow, deep water bowls to help the water stay cool and last longer.
4. Provide Shade
If you don’t have a large tree to share, you can provide some shade with an umbrella, an awning, or a table. You can even plant some foliage or trees to provide natural shade. Ultimately, a plant or structure that provides consistent shade is best because it will offer deep shade during the hottest time of day.
5. Leave Garage Windows Open
During the summer, people like to work on outdoor projects that often require equipment from the garage. There’s always that one cat that likes to wander inside and become stuck. To avoid being stuck in a hot garage, leave the doors or windows cracked with some water.
6. Water the Lawn
Don’t let your grass turn brown and dry if you have a lawn. A watered lawn is refreshing and cool during the hottest time of day, even for cats.
7. Feed a Small Amount at One Time
Cat food spoils quickly in the blistering heat. Leave enough food out to last for 30 minutes and that’s it. You can always place more food outside later.
8. Offer Dry Food Instead
Although wet food helps kitties stay hydrated, it attracts nasty flies and dries to the bowl. Offer dry food instead to avoid insect infestations.
9. Offer Cool Treats
If a feral cat is warming up to your interactions, try offering cool treats like berries or cold chicken. Remember, you don’t want to leave fresh food out for too long, so offer these treats at dawn or dusk when it’s coolest.
10. Don’t Leave Traps Out in the Sun
Don’t leave traps out in the sun if you’re part of the TNR (trap-neuter-release) program. It may be best to avoid trapping altogether during the year’s hottest days. Otherwise, the cat will suffer heat stroke.
11. Don’t Leave Trapped Cats in the Car
Trapped cats should never be left in a car during the summer. Take trapped cats indoors where they can be cool.
12. Don’t Leave Traps on Hot Surfaces
Even in shade, the warm summer days will heat hard surfaces because of thermal mass. If you must trap, do so in the shade in grassy areas.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion in Cats
Keep an eye on your feral cat community by learning the signs of heat exhaustion:
- Restless behavior
- Sweaty feet
- Excessive grooming
Feral cats are wild and know how to care for themselves, but a little help doesn’t hurt, especially when the bare necessities may be scarce. Providing water, shade, and fresh food goes a long way for the colony.
Featured Image Credit: ivabalk, Pixabay
About the author
Cat mom to Ivy – a feisty little rescue kitten that is her one and only child. For now! Throughout her life, she has been introduced to the special love that can be found in the bond with a cat. Having owned multiple felines, she is more than certain that their love is unmatched, unconditional and unlike any other. With a passion to educate the public about everything, there is to know about felines, their behavior, and their unique personalities, Crystal is devoted to making sure that all cats and their owners know the importance of conscious living – and loving!