Summer cat toys: how to keep cats cool in summer

16 April 2024 - 5 min read
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s care, treatment, or medical conditions.
Domestic bengal cat lying on the sofa in the sun

Cats tend to take care of themselves, but sometimes, they need a little help. This is especially true in summer – when temperatures rise, cats love to sunbathe. But this naturally means they also need a place to cool down and relax. 

This is where summer cat toys and products come in. From cooling mats to hydration stations, there are plenty of tools to help you serve the ruler of the house.

Below, we discuss how to keep cats cool in the summer heat, some product essentials and how they work. 

Importance of keeping cats cool in summer

Cats love the sun. But, much like how it affects us, too much exposure can harm them. Sunburn, heat stroke and skin cancer are all possibilities from too much sunlight. 

Generally, these symptoms mean your cat needs to cool down: 

  • Agitation or anger 

  • Excessive drooling

  • Hot skin

  • Increased heart rate

  • Panting

  • Rapid breathing 

  • Vomiting

  • Weakness

 In severe cases, cats may experience:

  • Seizures

  • Trembling

  • Collapse

  • Unconsciousness

  • Disorientation

  • Red gums

Since cats are prone to heatstroke, it's essential to be proactive: giving your car space to cool down and chill with ample water is the best way.

Risk factors that increase a cat’s chances of overheating are: 

  • Age (young and old)

  • Cardiovascular problems

  • Coat length

  • Excessive exercise

  • Hydration levels

  • Neurological issues

  • Obesity

  • Respiratory disease

But a lot of this depends on your cat’s breed. Long-haired and flat-nosed breeds, like Persians, struggle in the heat more. 

All cats need somewhere to cool down and relax, which is where summer cat beds and toys come in. 

Cooling mats and pads

Cooling mats provide somewhere for your cat to rest while wicking away heat. It absorbs a cat’s body heat, giving a cooling effect. 

They don’t require any energy, and we recommend putting one down in a shaded, cool area or in their bed. Your feline friend will naturally associate it with comfort and instinctively go there when getting too hot. 

Benefits of cooling mats

  • Better, more restful sleep

  • Cools cats down 

  • Comfort 

  • Easy cleaning and maintenance

  • Reduces stress 

  • Portability 

  • Supports older cats

There are no cooling mat studies, but anecdotal evidence suggests pets find them useful on hot days.

Types of cooling pads available

Typically, cooling mats fall into two categories: 

  • Pressure-activated – kicks in when pressure (like your cat laying down) hits it. It takes heat and puts it into the ground or recycles it through the air.

  • Water – you fill these with water, and the temperature naturally cools your cat. 

Read our in-depth review of cooling mats and vests for more.

Elevated cat beds

Cats love their vantage points, but it isn’t just because they’re nosey. Having an elevated position increases air circulation, meaning it can cool down your cat in hotter temperatures. 

Advantages of elevated beds

  • Better mental stimulation

  • Cooling effect

  • Possible stress relief

  • Promotes better sleep

We wouldn’t recommend raised beds if your cat’s older or has problems with arthritis. Put the bed in a safe place, away from windows, steep falls and any hazards. 

Hydration stations

stainless steel cat water fountainHydration stations provide a steady, constant stream of water. Some cats prefer them over a water bowl, and the more hydration they can get in hot weather, the better. 

Some cats are very fussy when it comes to drinking water; cats want the temperature, location and amount just right. 

Importance of hydration for cats

Cats need water, like all mammals. Wild cats get most of their water through food, but domesticated cats need a water source and/or wet food.

But getting them to drink can be difficult. Cats can concentrate their urine, meaning they can adapt and survive on smaller volumes of water – this means they can reach states of dehydration when it’s concerning, like during kidney disease or a urinary tract infection. 

That's why it's essential to keep your cat hydrated and happy with their water source. Hydration stations can help with that. 

Hydration station advantages 

  • Helps a cat drink more water 

  • Provides a consistent, fresh water supply

  • Keeps water cool 

  • Different sizes to suit size, breed and taste

  • Easy to clean 

  • Keeps water cool 

Sun protection

curious maine coon cat lying on side scratching sofa looking at camera in sunlight

The sun isn’t just about heat; UV radiation is also a factor. 

Risks of sun exposure for cats

As mentioned, sun exposure can cause issues ranging from heat stroke to skin cancer. See above for a list of symptoms.

Ways to protect cats from UV rays

There are three ways to help protect cats from UV rays: 

Sun cream 

Specially formulated suncream for pets can protect against UV radiation. Make sure you pick one made for cats and avoid using human sun creams. Ingredients in our sun creams, like zinc oxide, are toxic to cats. 

Test the sun cream first to check for adverse effects or allergies, then apply it to areas that are most likely to get burnt, like areas with thin fur.


Ample shade means cats can avoid the sun when their instinct kicks in. You can also try to keep your cat indoors during the hottest, sunniest parts of the day. 

Protective clothing 

Pet-safe clothing is a recent invention which protects your cat from UV rays. It’s still a pretty niche to use this, and some cats aren’t a fan. 

Importance of grooming in summer

two photos side by side of a brown Persian cat being brushed by a hand

Regular grooming is essential all year round, but summer is probably the most important time to keep on top of it. 

Promoting healthy shedding keeps your cat’s coat healthy in the dry, hot part of the year. Their coats are prone to damage at this time. 

A proper, healthy coat helps with temperature regulation, too.

Similarly, ticks and fleas are more of a menace in the hot weather, and a well-groomed coat reduces the chance of infection. 

Grooming tools

You’ll need whatever’s part of your usual grooming routine, like: 

To note, make sure you have the right brush type. All in all, there are: 

  • Soft bristle and pin brushes, which help spread natural oils and keep your cat’s fur looking healthy

  • Slick brushes, which pull out dead hair and are good for long-haired cats

  • Dematting ones, which, as the name suggests, deal with matted fur

Summer-friendly toy options

Summer cat toys can include: 

  • Catnip 

  • Cold snacks 

  • Climbing frames 

  • Hammocks 

  • Water-based toys 

  • Window perch 

For more, read our guide on how to pick safe kitten toys, and our Christmas gift guide is still a good place to start.

What’s a window perch?

A window perch is where your cat can sit near a windowsill. It gives a vantage point and an opportunity to cool down.

It also gives them a chance to take in the great outdoors. But we advise you to be careful, as window perches can be dangerous. 

Advantages of window perches

  • Allows your cat to cool down

  • Provides a comfy spot for your cat to unwind, lowering stress

  • Promotes good sleep

  • Prevents boredom if your cat can see nature, especially if they’re deaf and going outside is too risky

Tips for setting up a safe perch

Cats can lose balance and fall from the perch, so make sure it’s never near a steep fall or balcony. 

If it’s near the window, make sure it’s closed, or use a screen. The most important point here is making sure your windows are secure.

Secondly, make sure the perch is secure enough to keep your cat safe – you don’t want one that isn’t sturdy enough for its size. 

We also recommend using curtains over blinds or shades, as your cat can cause damage when trying to get behind them. 

Finally, observe your cat to make sure they’re not overstimulated – sometimes, the birds, the sun and all that noise outside can be too much. 

Travel essentials

Cat peeking out of the transport box, traveling in the car

Summer means travelling, and sometimes, that means bringing our cats with us, especially if they’ve had leash training.

We recommend reading our cat travel guide if you've not taken your kitty on a trip before.

Importance of travel safety for cats

Cats don’t usually like travelling, so you need to make it as safe and stress-free as possible. 

If you’re travelling somewhere nearby, your cat will be safe in their usual carrier. Just make sure your car is cool enough, with plenty of water and toys close by. 

Don’t leave any treats or food with them, just in case they choke.

Keep them protected from spring until winter

Cat insurance can help you prepare for the unexpected, keeping your feline friend safe, no matter the season.

A cat with its arm on a woman, they are looking at each other

All our policies cover conditions that ended at least two years ago.

A cat with its arm on a woman, they are looking at each other