I am so glad the heat has finally broken, even if only for a day, or half a day. It will be enough to help my girls cool down (or maybe just enough for my anxiety about them to cool down). As most of you know Chicago has been in the grips of a mighty powerful heatwave, the likes of which have not been seen since 1995. As someone who is always cold I don’t mind the heatwave as much as most, except for my concern for the cats. I have spent the past five days anxiously trying to come up with ways to keep them cool–trying to provide extra shade (which they didn’t use), constantly refilling their water bowls with cool water (which they hardly touched), spraying the grass with water to provide a cool spot to nap (they didn’t touch that either). I even tried putting ice packs out under blankets for them but to no avail. Despite my best efforts the cats were hot. Very, very hot. In typical cat fashion they were just too stubborn for their own good.
There is something about the sight of two cats sprawled on a deck panting heavily that is just beyond heartbreaking. The best I could come up with was to give them wet food with extra water added three times a day. I figured this way they would at least be getting some moisture in their bodies. Well that seemed to work, the first time I did it Little Black was seen ignoring the food and drinking the water around the edges. I don’t know how much the watery food helped them, but it helped my anxiety and at the very least made them happy (they love their wet food!).
The sun appears to be making a comeback as I write this, which means the temperatures are probably going to start climbing again. After a morning of heavy storms I suppose a bit of sun isn’t such a bad thing, but it was nice to have temperatures in the 70’s this morning instead of the 90’s. Hopefully it won’t warm up too fast. I am glad that my cats are *hopefully* ok and have made it through, all the stories on the news about body temperatures and the body core overheating and reading too many articles about cats overheating just about did me in from anxiety and feelings of helplessness; I should know by now that they are smart girls, they survived years of summers and winters; Blizzard of 2011, now they will survive the Heatwave of 2011. Nevertheless I am glad that I took the extra steps to try and keep them cool. While they may be smart and have survival instincts my house cats don’t have, they still need occasional help from people.
If you have feral cats and need to keep them cool try the following things:
- Provide plenty of shady spots
- Provide plenty of water, as many bowls as possible. Some cats even enjoy having ice in their water.
- Try leaving out bags of ice or ice packs wrapped in blankets for the cats to lay against.
- Dampen the grass, some feral cats love lounging in cool, moist grass!
- Cats aren’t big water drinkers so if you see your ferals aren’t drinking water add just a teaspoon of water to a plate of moist food, and mix it together (this is a great idea to do in the winter too, when the waterbowls freeze over so quickly).