Experiements in Keeping Feral Cats Cool

Chicago is coming out of yet another heat wave today. Yesterday topped out at 99 degrees! I worry so much about my feral cats, so many hot days in a row must be taking a toll on them. Last night I looked out to check on them, see if they had eaten their dinner and I noticed my little Mama sprawled on the deck panting. Panting is a sign your cat is over heating, and requires immediate action. Mama is so feral that I knew she was never  going to let me bring her inside, or God forbid trap her and bring her to a vet. She already had a bowl of clean, cool water to drink from. We actually saw her taking a long drink from it, since I never ever see her drinking I also took this as a sign she was over heating.

While I was trying to come up with additional ways to keep her cool, I hit on a genius idea. I know that some people will leave cool, damp towels out for their cats to lay on during the heat. I didn’t think my girls would go for that, but I did have some of those rice packs that you can freeze or put in the microwave for injuries. I pulled a few of those out from the freezer, covered them with a blanket and put them outside for the girls. I sprinkled just a tiny bit of catnip on them so the cats would be attracted to them, but not enough to get them too high, I figured the last thing they needed when over heating was their hearts racing even more!

They loved it! As you can see in the pictures below Mama had a blast. She threw herself on the ice pack on the left, the one under the purple towel. She had half her body hugging that towel and rice pack. Most amazing of all, she wouldn’t let Little Black have any of it either.  You can see from the pictures below a little of how popular these rice bags were.

the-girls-5   the-girls-4

Mama seemed to be panting less after rolling around on the rice bags. Whether that was from the catnip or because she was cooled down, I am not sure. Either way she seemed more relaxed, a little less over heated. Which was the goal of this little experiment. I will try this again this evening, minus the cat nip this time.


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