Caring for Cats in the Dog Days of Summer

Cat under car (small)As we can tell from the success of our feral cat trap and release, spay and neuter program our community is bursting at the seams with feral cats and generous community members willing to help them. In addition to these community cats we also know that many owned cats spend time outside and could use a little extra TLC during these brutal summer months. In order to help you continue to provide the best care for your furry friends we have complied a list of tried and true tips for getting outdoor cats through the dog days of summer.

The Best Part of Waking up, is Dry Food in Your Cup

In order to ensure that these cats receive the freshest food you may want to consider switching to dry food for the summer months if you haven’t already. Feeding dry food will help prevent spoilage and will be less likely to attract insects. Placing the food dish inside of a larger shallow tray can also deter insects. Filling this tray, such as one you would use under a flowerpot, with an inch of water will help prevent pests from climbing into the food bowl. Additionally, you can place a ring of baking soda around your food bowls to deter insects from walking toward the food bowls.

Especially during these hot months it is a great idea to stick to a “30 minute rule” when feeding cats outdoors. By placing the food out for only thirty minutes before rechecking it you are making sure that they are receiving fresh food and that you aren’t attracting any unwanted visitors to your yard.

Let’s Head on Down to the Watering Hole

Just as we need more water as the temperature climbs, so do our feline companions. Cats are naturally prone to dehydration and aren’t as ready to drink as their canine counterparts so providing plenty of water sources will help encourage them to stay hydrated when they need it most. Using deep, narrow bowls and placing them in the shade will help decrease the rate of evaporation and ensure that these cats have plenty of water to help cool them down.

Home is Where the Hammock is

When it comes to thermoregulation, cats really got the short end of the stick. Imagine sitting in your back yard on a hot summer day, wearing a fur coat, and only being able to sweat through your palms and the soles of your feet. You’d overheat easily and maybe even dangerously so if you didn’t find a shady spot quickly. Any extra shade you can lend to these cats will be graciously appreciated. While bushes and trees provide excellent spots to get out of the sun, a patio umbrella, hammock, or canopy will do the trick as well. Any increase in shade will help decrease potentially life-threatening conditions such as dehydration and heat stroke for your feline visitors.

Safe and Timely Trap and Release

We love that we are able to offer cost effective spay and neuter surgeries for our community’s feral cats and greatly appreciate our community members that help us by trapping, releasing, and caring for these cats. In order to make this endeavor as safe as possible for all parties this summer we suggest you trap these cats in the late evening or early morning before your appointment to ensure that they do not get too hot while inside of the trap. Also being conscious of the surface on which you are placing the trap will help to ensure a safe experience for both you and the cat. Placing traps on surfaces that heat easily, such as asphalt, may result in burned paws and increase their risk for heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

We appreciate your help in controlling the population of and caring for the community cats of Kalamazoo. We hope that these tips will help you to continue to provide the best care to your feline friends.


The Kalamazoo Humane Society can take in feral cats on Thursdays from 7:30-8:00AM.  For $40.00, each cat will be altered, get a 1yr Rabies vaccine, and be ear-tipped.  For more about this program, please visit our website here.

KHS Blog Authors

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