Summer means more fun, more outdoor time and more opportunities for kitty trouble. Here are some cat supplies to get your kitty–and yourself–ready for the hotter months.
1. Cat Window Seat
Once the weather gets warmer, your indoor cat will probably start enjoying the breezy evenings by sitting on your balcony or window sill–but that comes with its own set of dangers.
“It is not uncommon for them to lose balance (especially if they are sleeping) and fall out of the window,” says Dr. Robert Trimble, DVM, co-founder and head of veterinary services at Fuzzy, which provides in-home veterinary care for a monthly fee. “This is a concern especially for those of us who live on upper floors.
“Screens are important even if you do not live on an upper floor,” he continues, “as an open window is a welcoming invitation for a housecat to perch on, and perhaps take an adventure outside where he can encounter dangers such as cars, wildlife and other unfriendly critters who can harm him.”
A screened window can also protect the local wildlife.
“Having a reinforced screen in a window that a cat spends time in will not only prevent him from escaping or falling out the window, but also helps to keep your backyard bird population healthy,” says Dr. Katy Nelson, DVM, who hosts thepetshow.tv.
If a reinforced window screen is not an option, keep the window closed and offer your cat something like K&H Pet Products’ cat window sill. It’s a platform that hangs off of a closed window so your cat can still enjoy the sun and a view without the risk of falling. It can hold more than 100 pounds, allowing for more than one kitty to cozy up on it, and it’s designed to fold up so you still can use your window blinds, curtains and shades.
2. Cat Harness
Some cats actually enjoy going for a walk outdoors, and cat harnesses make for a safer experience. Expect to spend some time preparing your cat for the adventure initially.
“The ability to be walked outside truly depends on the personality of your kitty,” Dr. Nelson says. “If you have a “Nosey Rosie” who wants to meet everyone he sees on the street or a fearless guy who wants to take the world by storm, these kitties are perfect for learning about the harness and going on a jaunt. However, if you’ve got a shy guy or an older kitty with compromised health, these kitties will benefit from staying in their calm, quiet and controlled environment.”
If your cat seems like a good candidate for an outdoor walk, the most important step is to find a cat harness that will fit him properly, Dr. Nelson says.
“A loose-fitting or improperly fitting harness is a danger to your cat as he can easily shrug out of it and perhaps get away from you altogether,” she says.
PetSafe’s kitty harness and leash set offers cats the feeling of freedom while keeping pet parents in control. Its dual adjustment points give a snug fit, and the bungee leash design offers “give” to eliminate tugging.
Make sure that you slowly introduce your cat to his harness. When putting the harness on, do it at a time when your cat is relaxed and comfortable. Offering him cat treats at this time helps him develop a positive association with his harness.
If you’re going to take your cat outside, make sure his vaccines are up to date, including Feline Leukemia, Dr. Nelson says. “
While you may be able to limit most interactions, you can’t control everything, so keep them safe with proper prevention,” she says.
3. Flea Treatment for Cats
While fleas and ticks definitely are annoying, Dr. Nelson says they also can cause major illness in pets.
“Fleas can carry tapeworms and even the plague, and ticks are well-known for spreading Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,” Dr. Nelson says.
Because of this, summer tick and flea treatment for cats is equally important for indoor and outdoor cats, even if they only spend time outdoors occasionally.
“While your cat does not go outside, the fleas will come inside to find them,” Dr. Trimble says.
“In areas with a flea season, it’s important to start when the weather starts to warm up and not wait until summer has arrived so you don’t get caught off guard,” he says.
There are several different types of cat flea treatment products. Advantage II’s flea treatment, for example, is a monthly topical option for cats, while Seresto’s flea and tick collar offers eight months of prevention of cat fleas.
If you live in a state with a warm climate year-round, then flea season is all the time and you will need regular preventatives to avoid fleas and ticks on cats.
4. Cat Brush
Another essential for your summer cat supplies is a good cat brush.
“Long-coated cats are very prone to getting matts if not brushed regularly,” Dr. Trimble says. “Shorter-coated cats are less likely to become matted but many enjoy being brushed, and it helps with shedding, especially in the warmer months.”
Even if your cat isn’t shedding, brushing removes loose hairs or the undercoat and keeps the coat shiny and in good condition. The KONG Cat ZoomGroom multi-use brush is one option for both long and short-hair cats that is designed to massage skin to help natural oil production.
5. Water Fountain
Your cat needs shade and cool, fresh water always available in the warmer months, especially if you have a balcony or other outdoor space where kitty can sun himself during the day.
“A kitty water fountain is a great addition to keep available water fresh and cool when things heat up,” Dr. Trimble says.
Drinkwell’s 360 pet fountain is designed to provide fresh, filtered, flowing water to pets 24/7. Also, the stainless-steel construction resists bacteria and makes the unit dishwasher safe.
With these five summer essentials, you and your feline friend will be completely prepared for a hot and happy season.
Diana Bocco is a full-time writer and adventurer who has written for National Geographic, DiscoveryChannel.com, Yahoo! and Marie Claire. Diana has lived in five countries and taken her rescued dogs along to each one of them.
Featured Image: Via iStock.com/Beo88