Ways to keep your pet cool during a heat wave

It’s July 2018 and Montreal is suffering through a 35°C heat wave.

We are all miserable.

Most Montreal buildings are old and lack air conditioning. We’re all dripping in sweat and irritable. As we eat an indecent amount of ice cream, drink gallons of cold beverages, and take many a cold shower, here are a few ideas on how to help keep your cats and small furry animals comfortable during the hot summer days.

Our pets can’t sweat or take cold showers, or say “gee, I’m feeling too hot right now, I need help!” It’s up to us to make sure they stay healthy and comfortable when it’s really hot outside and inside. Here’s a link to some information about heat stroke in cats:


And here are some tips on keeping your animal cool, especially if you do not have air conditioning:

  1. Ice water. When it’s hot inside a client’s home, I add ice to their cat’s water to help cool them down. The ice is usually all melted before the end of the cat visit. At home, I like freezing a sizable block of ice and adding it to the water bowl (my cats use a square casserole dish). A large block of ice will melt slower than a bunch of smaller ice cubes. Cats sometimes like to lick the ice or play with it. Here’s a video of cats licking giant balls of ice: https://youtu.be/iMhk6JNB1IA
  2. Shaving a cat might not make them cooler. Some people believe that shaving a cat will help them stay cooler in the summer, while others believe that fur is a natural insulator, and that shaving a cat will actually make them hotter in the summer.  Here are a few links regarding not shaving in the summer: https://www.thecatmamablog.com/single-post/2017/09/26/Should-I-Shave-My-Cat-What-You-Need-to-Know-Before-You-Do; https://www.catster.com/lifestyle/is-shaving-your-cat-okay; https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/general-pet-care/hot-weather-safety-tips
  3. Electric fans. Humans like them, and cats like them, too.
  4. Freeze a bottle of water and leave it out for the cat to lounge next to. Guinea pigs and rabbits sometimes like licking the condensation off the cold bottle, too. For smaller animals, you can chill a ceramic tile in the fridge for them to lounge on.
  5. Freeze cat-safe canned tuna (no added salt) into ice cubes, so they can lick the cold treat to help cool off.
  6. Pet cooling mat. Be careful of gel mats, as pets might accidentally ingest the gel.
  7. Keep the cage/habitat away from direct sunlight and windows. Make sure their cages are well-ventilated.
  8. Close curtains/drapes/blinds to keep inside temperatures cooler.


And, of course, fresh, cold water for all!