Summer Tips For A Bay Area Cat
Summer in the Bay Area can mean a lot of different things in terms of weather. Within a single day, temperatures can soar to heatwave levels and then drop to the high 50s. At noon, you might need lots of sunscreen and a popsicle or two to keep you cool. But don’t be surprised if, by 3:00, you’re zipping your jacket up to your chin! Some days, the sun is blocked by clouds or an impenetrable fog layer. That is what you can expect from a Bay Area summer—in other words, the unexpected. For example, Morgan Hill, the home of Town Cats, averages a high of 88°F for the month of August, whereas San Francisco averages a breezy 67°. These temperature variances are prominent throughout the Bay Area cities, and you’re likely to encounter microclimates that could mean a five- to ten-degree difference just from walking a few blocks. One of the most common pieces of advice given to Bay Area tourists and transplants is to learn how to layer up: never underestimate the power of a scarf and always bring a sweater, just in case. With cats, however, the very attempt to dress them in a sweater is not likely to end well—for you or the cat. When taking care of animals, Bay Area residents need to be prepared for anything. Here are a few tips to help your cat weather anything the Bay Area can muster.
Hot Summer Days (It’s Hot!!!)
Cats are not like dogs, in that you can’t just give them an ice cube and expect them lick it. They are more likely to bat it across the kitchen floor and under the fridge. Instead, offer them plenty of water: have their usual water bowl, and put a few extra bowls in places that you know your cat will go so that they might take a drink. One common weather feature in both Morgan Hill and San Francisco is that they receive little to no rain throughout the summer, so making sure that your cat is hydrated should be priority #1. A lot of cats like the heat, even if they are feeling dehydrated. Keeping up on your cat’s grooming will be key to giving them the best chance to navigate hot days. Not all cats will like it, but rubbing a cool, damp cloth on their fur can work wonders. If you have wood or linoleum floors, try to keep those spaces clean and available for your cat to walk and lie on to beat the heat. Since air conditioning is rare, especially in the cooler parts of the Bay Area, keep curtains closed and windows open to try and keep your room a little cooler than the outside. Also, keep in mind that light-colored cats are especially susceptible to sun damage. Keep them indoors, if possible. If your cat must go outside, then apply a non-toxic sunscreen to their ears to help prevent them from being sun-damaged, which can lead to skin cancer and even the loss of their ears. Also, for those with trees and branches that need trimming, maybe hold off on that until the summer heat has passed. Remember how nice that shade can feel to your four-legged family members!
Cold Summer Nights (Brrrrrr!)
Hydration is still key when the temperature drops, despite the comfort offered by a breezy summer night. Morgan Hill’s average high is 88°, but its average low is 55°. Such a temperature change can shock the system. When temperatures suddenly rise or fall, wind increases and can make those cool nights feel unseasonably cold. Even for a cat that prefers being outdoors, the offer of an indoor refuge is very tempting and equally important—when the wind blows, most cats would prefer a warm, cozy area to cuddle with their people or curl up and sleep. Your cat might appreciate warm nooks to hide in and warm up in, so don’t hesitate to get creative with blankets and smaller spaces in your apartment that aren’t good for much else. Your cat might have a sudden burst of energy, having spent the day feeling lax in the heat. Playing with your cat will help keep him or her warm and potentially rest easier at night after lying around in the sun all day. Again, don’t forget: hydrate, hydrate! Fill a few (or more) water bowls with cool, fresh water and leave them where your cat can easily access them at night. When all else fails, if you feel the need to help your cat warm up more, remember how warm the human body can be and how cats love to snuggle against a warm body. Make yourself available, and you might yourself with a lapful of kitty! Sharing your own warmth with your cat is one of the simplest ways to keep your cat comfortable on a cold summer night, and probably the most fun!
Written By Eric Mueller
Edited By Rena Henderson