The dog days of summer are just around the corner, and cats are just as susceptible to some of the dangers of hot weather as dogs and humans. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, you’ll still want to take some precautions, especially on those really hot days, to protect her from the heat.

The following tips can help keep your cat comfortable:

Air conditioning and fans

Many people turn up the thermostat or turn the air conditioning off altogether if they’re gone from home all day. Keep in mind that during really hot days, your cat may be uncomfortable if the temperature gets too high, so adjust your settings accordingly. If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans to cool things off. Keep ceiling fans running. Get additional tower, box or table-top fans. Make sure that the fans can’t tip over. I don’t recommend leaving tower, box or table-top fans running when you’re not at home.

Make sure your cat can get to the cooler spots in your home

Basements are usually cooler than upstairs bedrooms. Hardwood or tile floors are cooler than carpet. Some cats may even hang out in the bathtub or sink during hot weather.

Open your windows to let the cool breezes in

If it cools off enough at night to open the windows, open them to get a cross breeze going, but always make sure that screens are secured.

Brush frequently

It seems contra-intuitive to us that fur would help keep your cat cool, but a well-groomed coat without tangles and mats will do just that.

Fresh cold water

Make sure your cat has access to fresh, cool water. A fountain is a great way to offer this. Periodically add some ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl.

Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Even though heat stroke is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, you’re still going to want to watch for symptoms: panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse are all warning signs. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Don’t ever leave your cat in a parked car

If you have to travel with your cat, make sure that you don’t leave the carrier in a parked car, not even for a minute. Temperatures inside a car rise to dangerous levels very quickly, even with the windows cracked.

By using common sense and keeping these tips in mind, you and your cats can enjoy a safe and happy summer.

Do you have a tip for keeping cats cool during the summer months? Share it in a comment!

This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.

Photo by Fabier Bellanger on Unsplash