Keep cats cool in summer with these tips + products

April 16, 2024 - 8 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.
Summer products for cats

Cats tend to take care of themselves, but they need a little help when summer rolls around. Sunbathing may be the height of feline relaxation, a fired up feline needs a place to cool down. And let's not forget the catio crowd, whose kitties can do their sunbathing in the great and toasty outdoors.

This is where summer cat toys and other products come in. There are plenty of tools to help you keep your feline friend cool as a catcumber. Read on to learn about some product essentials, from cooling mats to hydration stations.

Importance of keeping cats cool in summer

Cats have sweat glands, but unlike humans, they can only sweat in a handful of hairless areas, including their lips, chin, and paws. Cats who get too hot are at risk of heatstroke, which can be fatal. Sunburn and skin cancer are risks as well.

If you see any of these symptoms, your cat needs to cool down:

 In severe cases, cats may experience:

  • Seizures

  • Trembling

  • Collapse

  • Unconsciousness

  • Disorientation

  • Red gums

If you observe the less severe symptoms, give your your cat a space to cool down and chill with ample water. (If you see the more severe ones, get to an emergency vet clinic right away.)

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

A lot of this depends on your cat’s breed. Long-haired and flat-nosed breeds, like Persians, struggle in the heat more. But all cats need somewhere to cool down and relax. Speaking of which...

Cooling mats and pads

Cooling mats give your cat a place to rest while absorbing a cat’s body heat, providing a cooling effect. They don’t require any energy, and your best bet is to put one down in a shaded, cool area or in their bed.

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: 

  • Gel-based cooling pads: These pressure-activated pads contain a non-toxic gel that remains cool without refrigeration. 

  • Water-filled cooling pads: These pads need to be filled with water and often require refrigeration before use. 

Highly-rated cooling mats and pads

Here are some products that get high marks from cat parents:

Elevated cat beds

Cats love their vantage points, but it isn’t just because they’re nosy. An elevated position provides more air circulation, which means an elevated bed can help cool your cat down in hotter temperatures.

Advantages of elevated beds

  • Better mental stimulation

  • Cooling effect

  • Possible stress relief

  • Promotes better sleep

Raised beds aren't the best idea 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

Highly-rated elevated cat beds

Here are some highly-regarded high cat beds:

1. PawHut Hooded Rattan Wicker Elevated Cat Bed (4.2/5 stars): Features a rotating basket that can be adjusted to provide either a secluded hideaway or an open lounging area.

2. Feandrea Cat Scratching Post and Bed (4/5 stars): Integrates a sisal-covered scratching post with a spacious perch, creating a multifunctional space for your cat.

3. FUKUMARU Wooden Cat Hammock (4.6/5 stars): Suitable for both indoor and outdoor use, with washable and breathable fabric.

4. MEWOOFUN Cat Couch Bed: (4.6/5 stars): This 5-inch-high pet sofa bed keeps pets cool and ventilated in hot weather by allowing air to flow underneath.

5. POMESEA Glow in the Dark Elevated Cat Bed (4.5/5 stars): Features a deep-pocket design that provides a sense of security for your cat, while the detachable, machine-washable cover makes it easy to clean.

Hydration stations

stainless steel cat water fountainDifferent hydration stations appeal to different cats. Some cats might do well with traditional water bowls. Others might prefer automatic water dispensers that refill the bowl as your cat drinks. And some cats go ga-ga over water fountains, which signal freshness by providing 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. 

Importance of hydration for cats

Water is the stuff of life for all mammals. But when it comes to cats, getting them to drink can be surprisingly difficult. Cats can concentrate their urine, meaning they can adapt and survive on smaller volumes of water. This can lead to dehydration, and dehydration can lead to serious feline health issues, including urinary tract infections and kidney problems.

Feral cats get most of their water through food, but domesticated cats need a water source and/or wet food. That's why it's critical to keep your cat hydrated and happy with an enticing water source.

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

Highly-rated hydration stations

Here are some water-dispensing wonders to keep your kitty going to the well:

  • PetSafe Healthy Pet Water Station (4.5/5 stars): With a 64 oz (1/2 gallon) capacity, this station features a removable stainless steel bowl that resists corrosion and stains, which is great for hygiene.

  • PetSafe Drinkwell Platinum Pet Fountain (4.4/5 stars): Features adjustable water flow settings, allowing pets to drink from the bowl or the flowing stream. 

  • Petkit EverSweet Solo 2 (4.2/5 stars): An ultra-quiet water fountain designed for cats and small dogs. With a 70oz (2L) capacity, it offers several advanced features, including app control. 

  • Cepheus 360 Ceramic Pet Fountain (4.1/5 stars): A heavy-duty water fountain that allows multiple cats to drink simultaneously without feeling crowded.

  • Dr. Catsby’s Water Bowl (4.3/5 stars): A simple, elegant water bowl–durable, easy to clean, and resistant to corrosion. Its wide and shallow design also helps prevent whisker fatigue.

Sun protection

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

Heat isn't the only risk factor emanating from the sun; that pesky UV radiation can be a problem, too.

Risks of sun exposure for cats

Excessive sun exposure can lead to painful sunburns and increase the risk of skin cancer, especially in cats with light-colored or thin fur.

Ways to protect cats from UV rays

There are three main ways to help protect cats from the sun:

Pet-safe sunscreen

Specially formulated sunscreen for pets can protect against UV radiation. Make sure you pick one made for cats and avoid using human sunscreens, which contain ingredients (like like zinc oxide) that are toxic to cats. 

Shaded areas

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. Be warned, your cat may not be a fan. 

Highly-rated for sun protection

Here are some tools to make your cat's day a little less sun-drenched:

Importance of grooming in summer

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

Regular grooming is important 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, when it's most prone to damage. A well-groomed coat also allows for better air circulation, which can reduce the risk of overheating.

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

Grooming tools

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

Make sure you have the right brush type. Your options include:

  • 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

  • De-matting ones, which deal with matted fur

Highly rated for grooming

Using the right grooming tools can go a long way toward keeping your cat comfortable. Here are some well-reviewed possibilities:

Summer-friendly toy options

Interactive toys are a great way to keep your cat active and entertained during the hot summer months. Some of them even have cooling features. 

Summer cat toys can include: 

  • Catnip 

  • Cold snacks 

  • Climbing frames 

  • Hammocks 

  • Water-based toys 

  • Window perches 

For more, read our guide on how to pick safe kitten toys.

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 be careful, as window perches can be unsafe if you don't set them up properly.

Advantages of window perches

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. 

  • Make sure your windows are secure. If the perch is near the window, make sure it’s closed, or use a screen.

  • 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. 

Your best bet is using curtains over blinds or shades, as your cat can cause damage when trying to get behind them. 

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

Highly rated toys and perches

Here are some well-regarded perches and playthings for your kitty friend:

- Catstages by Nina Ottosson Buggin' Out Puzzle & Play Cat Puzzle Game (4.4/10 stars): This invigorating and interactive treat puzzle is designed to provide mental stimulation for your cat, perfect for hot days when catio time is limited. 

- Robo Alive Robo Fish Robotic Swimming Fish by ZURU (4.1/5 stars): These robotic fish come to life when dropped into water, enticing cats and kids alike. 

- Petstages Fresh Breath Mint Stick Dental Cat Chew Toy (4.5/5 stars): A top-rated choice for cat owners seeking a fun and functional toy to help maintain their pet's dental health. It also provides a cooling effect, making it an ideal choice for warm weather.

- AMOSIJOY Cordless Cat Window Perch (4.6/5 stars) Cordless to reduce tripping hazards, with a fold-up design that allows for easy operation of window blinds without needing to remove the perch.

- Zakkart Orthopedic Cat Perch (4.8/5 stars): Features a cozy lip around the platform, providing a comfortable edge for your cat to rest their head.

Travel essentials

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

Summer means traveling, and sometimes that means bringing your cat with you, especially if they’ve had leash training. (Check out our cat travel guide for more pointers!)

Importance of travel safety for cats

Cats often usually like traveling, so you'll need to make it as safe and stress-free as possible. If you’re traveling 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.

Highly rated travel tools

Here are some well-loved products to help your kitty travel in fine style:

1. Petseek Extra Large Cat Carrier(4.5/5 stars): Perfect for larger cats or those who need extra space while traveling.

2. Petmate Two Door Top Load Dog & Cat Kennel (4.7/5 stars): Features a top-load design that’s particularly beneficial for cats who are hesitant to enter through the front.

3. Sherpa Original Dog & Cat Carrier(4.6/5 stars): An airline-approved carrier that includes a cozy sherpa bed to keep your cat comfortable, and mesh windows that provide ample ventilation in hot weather. 

4. lesotc portable water bottle(4.5/5 stars): Effective for both dogs and cats, this portable water dispenser combines convenience and functionality.

5. Necoichi Portable Stress Free Cage Carrier and Litter Box (4.5/5 stars): This carrier and litter box combo is perfect for summer travel, not to mention emergencies.

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.

An attentive orange tabby cat wearing a black harness and leash is perched on a car seat, gazing out of the vehicle window at a park setting.

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David Teich
Lead Editor

David oversees content strategy and development at ManyPets. As Lead Editor, he focuses on delivering accurate information related to pet care and insurance. David’s editorial background spans more than a decade, including a pivotal role at Digiday, where he wrote content and managed relationships with media and tech companies. As an Associate Editor at Cynopsis Media, David wrote the Cynopsis Digital newsletter and interviewed executives and digital marketing experts in the TV industry. His background also includes film journalism. His diverse experiences in journalism and marketing underpins his role in shaping content within the pet care industry.