Five summer healthcare tips for senior cats
Help your pet enjoy sunny days in safety and comfort
1. Provide plenty to drink
Cats are prone to kidney disease as they age, and any condition where a cat has an inability to concentrate urine will worsen if they become dehydrated. Keep your cat’s drinking bowls topped up with fresh, clean water throughout the summer months.
2. Watch out for sunburn
All cats love to sunbathe but years of sun exposure can leave light-coloured cats vulnerable to skin cancer on the tips of the ears. ‘Early signs include inflammation and crusting, and the bridge of the nose can be vulnerable, too,’ says Petplan Vet of the Year, Brian Faulkner. One solution is to use a sunblock approved for babies and dab it on the tips of the ears and nose. But if your cat insists on licking it off, you may simply have to keep your pet indoors on very hot days. If you spot anything on the ears or nose that causes you concern, have your vet check it out.
3. Keep bugs at bay
Most external parasites thrive with heat and moisture so be extra vigilant in the summer months, and keep your cat’s flea and worming treatments up to date. Stinging insects can be a nuisance, but most mature cats have learned from experience and are wise enough to avoid them. But if your cat is unlucky enough to be on the wrong end of an insect sting and appears to be in discomfort, contact your vet.
4. Protect heart health
If you know your cat has a heart murmur, be aware that increased temperatures can cause extra stress on the heart. Cats don’t pant in the heat like dogs, so panting is usually a sign of something serious and will require a trip to the vet.
5. Be prepared for shade
Cats cope better with hot weather than dogs and they’ll sensibly seek shade when temperatures rise. Make life comfortable for your pet by providing cool, shady places to rest and nap, both indoors and out. Canvas shade sails or plants like palms are good options for the garden.