BETHESDA, MD –As summer sets in, Alley Cat Allies is providing anyone who cares for cats outdoors with simple steps that can make the cats more comfortable in the coming heat.
“Cats are well-adapted to living outdoors,” says Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies. “But when temperatures rise, outdoor cats can use a helping hand. There are a few easy things people can do to keep cats well-hydrated and cool on hot summer days.”
Whether they live outdoors or just like to spend time in the backyard, use these tips to keep cats cool in the summertime:
· If you feed cats outdoors, try not to leave the food out for too long. After about 30 minutes, bugs will start to show up; picking up uneaten food after roughly 45 minutes (giving time for the slow eaters) will help to prevent that.
· Feed cats dry food in the summer—it attracts less insects.
· Many companies make “ant-proof bowls” designed specifically for feeding cats outdoors. Some have moats of water or other complications that make it hard for the ants to get to the food.
· You can also create your own “ant barrier” by surrounding a cat’s food bowl with a line of food-grade diatomaceous earth without chemical additives (available at some natural food stores and pet supply companies).
· Find more tips for feeding cats outdoors at alleycat.org/ColonyCare-Feeding.
· Cats can dehydrate quickly, so when it’s warm out, extra sources of water are helpful.
· Dropping a few ice cubes into a water bowl can keep the water cool (if the cats are not bothered by the ice!).
· Pet water fountains give a constant stream of water, inspiring cats to drink even more.
· Keep water bowls out of the sun, saving water from quickly evaporating in the summer heat.
· Finding a shaded area for water bowls will keep water from evaporating too fast. The same goes for a narrow, deep bowl—as opposed to a wider, shallower one.
· Like anyone, cats know how to find places to escape the sun. Provide easy access to shaded places, like under a deck, for them to rest and eat.
· Try your hand at building an outdoor cat shelter on the cheap with supplies easily found at any hardware store. Alley Cat Allies has easy outdoor cat shelter instructions, including a shelter that can be built in less than 30 minutes, at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery.
· All cats should be spayed or neutered. But some outdoor cats—known as community or feral cats—won’t allow people to touch them, and so to best care for these cats, they need to be humanely trapped and brought to a participating clinic or veterinary office. After they’re neutered, vaccinated and eartipped for identification, the cats are returned to their outdoor home.
· If you’re trapping in the summer months, it’s important to be extra careful. It can be dangerous for cats to stay in traps in the heat too long—making heatstroke, which can be deadly, a possibility. For the safety of the cats, once they’ve been trapped, keep them in the shade or in an air-conditioned space, and do not leave them in the car while trapping additional cats.
· Placing traps on surfaces that absorb the sun’s heat can also be dangerous—making the metal traps hot enough to burn cats’ paws.
Find more information about summer weather safety for outdoor cats: www.alleycat.org/SummerWeather
About Alley Cat Allies
Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Founded in 1990, today Alley Cat Allies has over half a million supporters and helps tens of thousands of individuals, communities, and organizations save and improve the lives of millions of cats and kittens nationwide. Its website is www.alleycat.org.