Cats, like people, have different thresholds of what they’re willing to tolerate when it comes to temperature. Purrsonally, I cannot stand the heat and would rather be cold. I can only take off so many layers of clothing and still be legal but I can layer, layer, layer! Plus, boots, chunky sweaters, scarves and sweats are so comfy! Many others in my life are the complete opposite; they would much rather be drenched in sweat than be cold. Some cats love to burrow under blankets, some tolerate clothing, some lay on heaters, some lay in windows and some won’t let you cover them with a blanket if they were frozen in a block of ice (this is my cat).
A key component of making sure cats stay happy and healthy is temperature regulation.
Whether you’re someone who prefers hot or cold, we can all agree that there’s a general range where comfortability lies. If it’s hot and humid outside, it will be even hotter in the home. (This is exactly why no one should ever leave an animal unattended in a car in the summer time! If you ever see this, contact your local authorities immediately.) Plus, unless they are a hairless cat, they are wearing a fur coat constantly. During your meet and greet, be sure to ask if there is a temperature that is comfortable while the parents are away. Most parents will automatically show you where the thermostat is but sometimes, it slips their mind. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask. The last thing you want to do is have the cat overheat on your watch.
Some ideas to do when it’s warm out:
- DO keep the home’s temperature regulated by AC or fan
- DO check sunshine exposure via windows. Afternoon sun can easily overheat a small home
- DO give the kitty cold water every visit
- DO ask the parents if the cat likes ice cubes. They can be added to water for maximum chilliness or they can be a fun thing to play with as well as be used to cool down (just be sure to clean up the water when they’re done playing!)
- DO brush the kitty often (if they like being brushed) especially if they have the Furminator. Brushing helps pull all of the dead fur out and keeps their coat thinner. The Furminator pulls out the undercoat which is what keeps them warm.
The same goes for when it’s chilly outside. If it’s an indoor/outdoor cat and goes outside on your watch, ask if the cat has any clothing or boots you should put on him or her. If it’s a strictly indoor cat, ask about temperature and whether or not the cat likes to burrow under them.
Some ideas to do when it’s cold out:
- DO make sure the home is warm and there isn’t a chill or draft
- DO ask if there is a favorite bed or blanket and make sure it’s easily accessible
- DO ask if there is kitty clothing they should wear
- DO ask what temperature the thermostat should be at
If you live in a city where there are true winters and it is known that there are outdoor or feral cats in the area, be sure to check around your car to make sure they aren’t hiding there. Feral cats will often find heat underneath cars, on top of tires in the wheel wells and sometimes even under the hood. I personally know a few people that have saved cats that were living under hoods of cars simply by checking before starting the car.
These may seem like silly things but they are things that will keep your clients (human and cat!) happy and safe.