Summer Comfort: How to Keep Kitty Safe

Summer is a great time for people and their pets. Whether you leave your screened windows open for your cat to enjoy a breeze, or take her with you when you go on vacation (safely crated while traveling, and harnessed and leashed when outside), there are many ways for two- and four-footed creatures alike to enjoy the season. But summer also means that people need to take some extra precautions with their animal companions.

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the nations largest animal-protection organization, has some tips for ensuring that summer is fun and safe for your cat.

Nancy Peterson, companion animal issues specialist, notes, Protection from the heat and parasites are some of the issues that, while important year-round, need extra attention during the summer months.

Safe Fun in the Sun
 Keep your cat indoors. Though your feline friend may wish to explore the outdoors, cats that are permitted to go outside are at an increased risk of disease and injury from vehicles or other animals.

 It is important to make sure that your cat has protection from heat and plenty of fresh water. Heat stroke can be fatal for cats and their human companions.

Parasite Patrol
 Take care in choosing flea and tick control products, as some can be harmful to pets and children. For a list of chemicals and products to avoid and alternatives to pesticides, visit the HSUS Web site at

 Cats, like dogs, are at an increased risk of contracting heartworm during the summer. Transmitted by a bite from an infected mosquito, heartworm disease can be fatal if not treated. Check with your veterinarian for the best schedule for heartworm testing and preventive medication for your cat.

Cats and cars
 Never leave your cat unattended in a parked car. On warm days, the temperature in your car can rise to 120 degrees in minutes, even with the windows slightly open. Also, an animal left alone in a car is an open invitation to pet thieves.