10 Brightest Cat Breeds

1. Abyssinian

Not one to laze about, the Abyssinian keeps moving as she eagerly explores her indoor world. She’ll even allow herself to be leashed and walked by her owner if it means further investigation of the world outside. A great fan of both people and bird watching, adept at learning tricks, she much prefers playing to cuddling as her main form of social interaction.

2. Bengal

True to her “wild cat” appearance, the sharp-brained Bengal thrives on activity. Whether she’s outdoors running, playing and watching the birds or indoors leaping from counters and “climbing the walls”, keeping this kitty mentally and physically stimulated is key to keeping her happy. Use a clicker to teach her tricks, join her in puzzle playing, and this attention seeker is purr-fectly content.

3. Savannah

Part African Serval, adventure comes as naturally to the Savannah as her curiosity, and thanks to her magnificent leaping skills, takes her to the highest places, be it the top of the refrigerator or the tallest shelf in the room. She also reigns supreme when it comes to socializing with her people, loyally and lovingly shadowing them and even accompanying them on walks if they leash her.

4. Cornish Rex

Her head may be egg-shaped, but it’s certainly not empty. Extremely charming and exceedingly purr-sonable, the Cornish Rex relishes human attention and revels in tricks and puzzle games that involve both her and her devoted owner. She also LOVES being held, and with so little fur on her body, is winningly warm to the touch, making her the ultimate bed warmer on cold winter nights.

5. Balinese

Both inquisitive and entertaining, the Balinese loves being involved in whatever her owner is doing as much as she loves performing tricks. Add a touch of naughtiness to her niceness, and her sense of humor will keep her human not only “ooh”-ing, but “ahh”-ing in wonder. Given her druthers, she would cuddle all day, every day while whispering sweet kitty nothings in her chosen person’s captive ear.

6. Sphynx

Described as part monkey (due to her dexterity), part dog (due to her sociability), part child (due to her curiosity) and part cat (due to her intelligence and grace), the Sphynx is a sublime example of puss-in-boots purr-fection. Whether she’s defying gravity, mixing and mingling, exploring her world or showering her owner with love, she does it with elegance and poise.

7. Japanese Bobtail

Striking a splendid balance between social and solitary, the exotic Japanese Bobtail is one feline who fairly oozes confidence. Famously friendly and amazingly amiable, with a distinctive singsong “coo”, she’s exceptionally easy to train for performances in shows, and when she’s not nestling close to her owner for human companionship, she’s purr-fectly content to keep her own company.

8. Somali

Created, it seems, for mischief, the vividly colored Somali with her full, plumed tail and vixen-like cunning make her more fox than feline. With an insatiable curiosity that leaves no proverbial stone unturned, she navigates every nook and cranny of her inside world, wreaking havoc wherever she puts her paws. Fortunately, her good-natured sociability and easy lovability tip the scales in her favor.

9. Burmese

Boundaries don’t exist for the perpetually curious and enduringly playful Burmese. The world is her oyster filled with wonders that demand exploration, while her owner’s her own best friend whose moods she can read like an open book. As trusting as she is teachable (tricks come easily to her), she’s also fabulous fun to be around and can, with little effort, turn even the grayest day sunny.

10. Singapura

Addicted to admiration, the Singapura lives to be loved and to shine in the spotlight! Bristling with kittenish energy, this petite puss butts nosily into everyone’s business, earning her the title of “pesky people cat.” Known for her exceptional intelligence and effortless agility, she’s as nimble on her paws as she is at stealing hearts, making her endearingly lovable to those lucky enough to love her.


Millions of dogs go missing each year. Unfortunately, very few of them are ever reunited with their owners. Many of them become and remain strays. Others are taken to pounds or shelters, where they are all too often, euthanized. The luckier ones are saved by rescue organizations and ultimately placed in adoptive homes.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Lately, an increasing number of conscientious dog owners have begun to rely on a dual form of protection for their precious family pet. Included in this “protective package” are visible forms of identification – ID tags — and permanent ones — microchips.

Pet ID tags are small metallic or plastic tags personalized with your name, address, and phone number, and attached to your dog’s collar. These tags are as close as your nearest pet supply store or online vendor, and if your dog ever goes missing, will immediately identify you as the owner.

Microchipping is a simple and safe procedure. A veterinarian injects a microchip designed especially for animals — the size of a grain of rice — beneath the surface of your dog’s skin between the shoulder blades. Similar to a routine shot, it takes only a few seconds and most dogs don’t seem to even feel the implantation. Unlike ID tags, a microchip is permanent and, with no internal energy source, will last the life of your dog. Your dog must then be promptly registered with the microchip company (usually for a one-time fee), thus storing his unique, alpha-numeric code in the company’s database.

Whenever a lost dog appears at a shelter, humane society or veterinary clinic, he/she will automatically be scanned for a microchip. If there is one, the screen of the handheld scanner will display that dog’s specific code. A simple call to the recovery database using a toll free 800 number enables the code to be traced back to the dog’s owner. But in order for the system to work efficiently, all owners are cautioned to keep their contact information up-to-date.

The most complete microchips comply with International Standards Organization (ISO) Standards. These standards define the structure of the microchip’s information content and determine the protocol for scanner-microchip communication. They also include the assignment of a 15-digit numeric identification code to each microchip; 3 digits either for the code of the country in which the dog was implanted or for the manufacturer’s code; one digit for the dog’s category (optional), and the remaining 8 or 9 digits for that dog’s unique ID number.

As with anything else, however, problems can and do arise. Not all shelters, humane societies, and veterinary offices have scanners. Although rare, microchips can fail, and even universal scanners may not be able to detect every microchip. Accurate detection can also be hampered if dogs struggle too much while being scanned or if either long, matted hair or excess fat deposits cover the implantation site. And because there are an ever-increasing number of pet recovery services, there is, as yet, no single database that links one to the other.

Since no method of identification is perfect, the best way owners can protect their dogs is by keeping current ID tags on them, microchipping them, and never allowing them to roam free.

Why You Should Spay/Neuter Your Dog

The problem of dog overpopulation is a global one and requires a solution on a global scale. But like every journey that begins with a single step, this particular journey must begin with every dog owner in every town and every city in the country. Those conscientious owners who act responsibly by spaying and neutering their cherished family pets.

Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog) and neutering (removing the testicles of a male dog) are simple procedures, rarely requiring so much as an overnight stay in a veterinary clinic. Because half of all litters are unplanned, and because puppies can conceive puppies of their own, spaying and neutering them before the age of 6 months can help break this cycle.

According to SPAY USA, an unspayed female dog, her unneutered mate and their offspring (if none are spayed or neutered) result in the births of a staggering 12,288 puppies in just 5 years.

The inevitable outcome? Hundreds of thousands of dogs being euthanized through no fault of their own. Why? Because they are the tragic, but avoidable, result of over breeding and overpopulation. Why? Because there are too few shelters to house them and too few homes to either foster or adopt them. Why? Because there are still too many dog owners unwilling to spay and neuter their pets.

The positive effects of spaying and neutering far outweigh the negatives. Females spayed before their first heat are much less likely to develop mammary cancer than those left intact. Early spaying is also their best protection against conditions like pyometritis, a potentially fatal bacterial infection of the uterus, as well as ovarian and uterine cancers. Early neutering of males protects them against testicular cancer, and helps curb both aggression and other undesirable behaviors. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association Task Force on Canine Aggression and Human-Canine Interactions, 70 to 76 percent of reported dog bite incidents are caused by intact males.

For years, reputable rescue groups have been spaying and neutering the animals in their care before even putting them up for adoption. More recently, in an effort to address at least part of this ongoing problem, various organizations — large and small, urban and rural, public and private — have been springing up across the country. From the ASPCA to local humane societies, spay/neuter clinics are opening and operating. Mobile spay/neuter clinics are reaching out to those unable to reach them. Many rescue groups now offer their own Spay Neuter Incentive Programs (SNIP), which provide assistance to low income households.

Imagine if there were more regional, local and mobile spay/neuter clinics. More Spay Neuter Incentive Programs. Imagine entire communities across the country, where every pet owner took personal responsibility for spaying and neutering their pets. Imagine what we, as part of the global community, could accomplish then.


Article by Nomi Berger

Why Foster A Dog?

“Fostering a dog is not a lifetime commitment, it is a commitment to saving a life.”

This is the watchword of rescue groups everywhere.

To foster a dog is, quite simply, to save that dog’s life. A foster home provides that same dog with a safe, temporary place of refuge until he is ultimately placed in a permanent, adoptive home.

Most rescues rely solely on a network of dedicated, volunteer foster homes, and could not survive without them. And rescues NEVER have enough foster homes.

Why? Because there are more dogs in need than there are foster homes available to meet that need.

There are many benefits to fostering, many pleasant surprises and many unexpected rewards. Foster parents, past and present, describe it as one of the most memorable and gratifying experiences of their lives.

Fostering is both a way of enriching the lives of the dogs and people involved, and a constructive way for people to give back to their communities. Fostered dogs can provide hours of entertainment and love for their humans, and provide valuable life lessons for adults and children alike.

By taking a deserving dog into their homes, fosters increase that dog’s chances of being adopted. Foster families have the time and the ability to transform their foster dog, through one-on-one contact, exercise and training, into a pet any person or family would be proud to call their own.

Fostering provides a needy dog with a stable environment, coupled with love, attention and affection. While the foster family provides the food, the rescue usually provides everything else, including payment of all medical costs to ensure the dog’s ongoing health and wellbeing.

Fosters are the essential eyes and ears of rescue. By spending every day with their foster dog, fosters will learn all they can about his particular personality. They will be able to identify any behavioral issues that need to be addressed, then work on addressing them.

If fosters already have a dog – either their own or another foster — in residence, all the better. The more animals their foster dog meets, the more socialized he will become, the more easily he will handle stress, and the more relaxed he will be around strangers. And it’s a simple matter to add another warm, furry body to their own dog’s daily walks, meal and potty schedules.

For those who have never owned a dog, fostering provides them with the unique opportunity of seeing if they themselves are suited for permanent pet parenthood.

But fostering a dog is NOT a form of trial adoption for that particular dog. There is even a term for it: foster failure. The most successful fosters are those who, despite being emotionally invested, know that they are a stepping stone towards their foster dog’s future. And that as one successfully fostered dog leaves their home, another needy and deserving dog is waiting to enter it.

Ultimately, then, fostering a dog saves not just one life, but two.

Article by Nomi Berger


A note from a STARelief foster home: “Fostering is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done. I’ve seen the transition of a lost, scared dog to a happy one who understands what its like to be loved. It’s amazing to know you had a part in that, and you have a part in them finding their happiness in a forever home. The dog and new family are almost always so thankful and you can see the positive effect on both of their lives. It’s great knowing you didn’t just save a life, but also added joy to another.”



Why adopt a rescue pup or dog? Why not buy one from an ad on the Internet or from a pet store? Why not buy one from a breeder? There are many reasons — all of them humane.

The growth of the Internet has spurred the growth of ads selling pets. But it also provides anonymity to a more insidious growth: that of puppy mills and so-called “backyard” breeders. It helps them avoid accountability when they sell unhealthy or mistreated pets to unsuspecting, over-eager buyers. And it only serves to confirm the axiom: “buyer beware.”

Each time a dog is bought from an ad on the Internet, a homeless dog is left without a home.

Many pet stores rely on both puppy mills and “backyard” breeders. Like the Internet, they rely on impulse buying. A child ogles a playful puppy through a pane of glass, and that old song, “How Much Is That Doggy in the Window?” begins. Few parents can refuse the insistent “Please! Please! Please!” of their children.

Each time a puppy is bought from a pet store, a surrendered dog languishes in a shelter.

There may be thousands of legitimate breeders throughout the country but there are just as many unscrupulous ones. There are no laws regulating who can and cannot breed. There are no inspections of their facilities. Even a certificate from a recognized kennel club means only that the breeder has “agreed” to its code of ethics. A piece of paper is simply that: a piece of paper.

Each time a dog is bought from an unscrupulous breeder, an abandoned dog moves closer to death in a pound.

Why, then, adopt a rescue dog?

There are tens of thousands of healthy, happy and balanced dogs available from thousands of rescue organizations across the country. Contrary to popular belief, they include purebreds as well as crossbreeds and mixed breeds. And for people intent on a specific breed, there are rescue groups devoted exclusively to a single breed of dog.

Adopting a rescue dog is saving that dog’s life. Rescue organizations are usually the last refuge for abandoned and abused dogs, surrendered and senior dogs. They are often a dog’s only escape from a puppy mill, shelter or pound. These rescued dogs are placed in loving and experienced, volunteer foster homes, where they are socialized with people and other animals.

They are spayed or neutered, de-wormed, updated on all of their vaccinations and microchipped. They receive whatever veterinary care they need, and are either trained or re-trained before being put up for adoption. And everything is included in the rescue’s modest adoption fees.

It is said that saving a dog makes that dog doubly grateful. By extension, then, anyone who saves a dog will be doubly blessed.   

What better reasons could there be to adopt?


And if you didn’t know already, we have some great dogs up for adoption from STARelief!

Please email heather@starelief.org or shamika@starelief.org if you are interested in adding a new four-legged member to your family!





Annabelle is a super sweet and goofy girl. She is ~1.5 years young, great with people, and good with small dogs – NO CATS.  Annabelle is house and crate trained, up to date on vaccines, spayed and mircrochipped.
Annabelle loves to go on long walks, play with other dogs, lay by your side, or on your lap (she thinks she’s a lap dog).
Annabelle knows her basic commands and listens really well.
If you are looking for a way to increase your happiness, and add some zest to your life, please adopt Annabelle.





JACK- Pint-sized Perfection

Jack is eight years young, up to date on vaccines, neutered, house and crate trained. Jack is super great with other dogs, not good with cats. He loves to lay on your lap, or in a soft dog bed by your side. Fetch and short walks are two of Jack’s favorite things to do. He is super gentle and sweet.

Jack would do best in a home with another dog. 






MICKEY- Mellow Fellow

Mickey is nine years young, up to date on vaccines, neutered, house and crate trained. Mickey is great with dogs and good with cats. He is super mellow and sweet. Mickey loves to cuddle with you, or just lay on your lap. He also loves playing fetch! Mickey just had a full dental done so he likes to show off his new smile.

Mickey would do great in a home with children or another dog.








Article by Nomi Berger

Doggy Dental Care

Did you know that 80% of dogs over the age of 4 have some form of dental disease?

As with people, the main culprit is a build-up of plaque, which eventually hardens into tartar, leading to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontal disease.

The result? A bacterial invasion of the gums and tissues supporting the teeth, damaging them and ultimately causing tooth loss. This bacteria can also invade the bloodstream, potentially damaging the lungs, heart, kidneys and liver. 

Did you know that, as responsible owners, you can lower your dog’s risks by following a program of conscientious oral care.

Before you start, have the vet examine your dog’s mouth for signs of hardened plaque and/or dental disease. If your dog suffers from either condition, once the dental disease is treated and/or the plaque professionally removed, your home care program can begin.

Ideally, you should begin caring for your dog’s teeth while he’s still a puppy. Brushing his teeth is the most effective way to control plaque by breaking it up before it hardens into tartar.

Choose only those toothbrushes, tooth pastes and oral gels designed especially for pets. For the more difficult ones, there are “rubber finger brushes.” If your dog refuses to accept any of these “tools,” use your own finger. It’s the act of brushing or rubbing which provides the most benefit.

Brush your dog’s teeth at the same time every day. Begin slowly, praising him often, stopping if he becomes agitated, then beginning again. Increase the amount of brushing time slowly, day by day.

If your dog absolutely refuses to have his teeth cleaned, add specially formulated antiseptic oral rinses (although they’re more effective when combined with cleaning) to his water.

Dogs love to chew, and this has the added benefit of helping to keep their teeth clean. There are dozens of specifically formulated oral care products for them, including dental chews, chew toys and treats.

There are also special dental diets shown to reduce plaque and/or tartar build up. They work by physically cleaning the teeth more efficiently than regular kibble (theirs is less likely to crumble upon chewing) or by the addition of chemicals to prevent the hardening of plaque into tartar.

Weekly inspections of your dog’s entire mouth can also help avoid both dental disease and costly and invasive medical procedures in the future. Ensure that your vet includes a thorough examination of your dog’s mouth, gums and teeth in each annual check up.

Be alert to such problems as bad breath, drooling, red or puffy, bleeding gums, yellow tartar crusted along the gum line, discolored, broken or missing teeth, bumps in the mouth, and changes in chewing or eating habits.

If you’ve been neglecting your dog’s dental health up to now, it is never too late to start.


Article by Nomi Berger


A single bite from a single infected mosquito can cause an otherwise healthy dog to develop heartworm disease and potentially die.

A heartworm is a parasitic worm (Dirofilaria immitis) that lives in the heart and pulmonary arteries of an affected dog. The worms travel through the bloodstream, damaging arteries and vital organs as they go, before arriving at the lungs and heart approximately six months after that initial mosquito bite. Several hundred worms can live in a single dog from between five and seven years, and if left untreated, can prove fatal.

The best protection against this insidious disease? Prevention. Prevention is both safe and effective, whereas treating the disease itself is complicated, costly, and can, like the disease, have serious, even fatal, effects on the stricken dog.

Preventives work by killing the heartworm larvae before they can grow and mature into adult heartworms. Although a variety of preventives are now available to conscientious pet owners everywhere, the first step in the prevention process is a visit to the vet.

Most vets recommend yearly testing for heartworm in dogs older than 6 months, usually in late spring. If your dog is heartworm negative, inexpensive, chewable pills are available with your vet’s prescription. The pills, which are palatable to most dogs, must be given to your dog monthly, and are manufactured by several companies. These pills can also be given to dogs under 6 months of age without a blood test.

Besides pills, there are specially designed, chemical preventive products that you apply directly onto your dog’s skin. Application of these topical preventives should begin June 1st and continue for six months. Some heartworm preventives contain additional ingredients that will control other parasites, such as roundworms or hookworms, while the topical preventives prescribed by your vet will protect your dog against fleas and ticks as well.

If you choose the vet-prescribed pill, you can opt to give it to your dog only during mosquito season (from spring through the first frost), but the most recent recommendation from the American Heartworm Society is to keep giving them all year round. And remember, although your dog may not go outside, mosquitoes can still get INside.

For those preferring to NOT use either the pill or the topical preventive, homeopathic

veterinarians advise testing your dog for heartworm twice yearly.

In short, consult with your vet. Protect the dog you love against these invasive, potentially fatal parasites, and this summer, all of you can rest, assured.


Article by Nomi Berger

Just A Minute


Sadder words were never spoken.


Because an errand meant to take that proverbial minute is 60 seconds too long when a dog is left unattended in a hot car.


Because, even on mild summer days, with a car parked in the shade and the windows cracked, the INSIDE temperature can rapidly reach dangerous levels.


Because a car acts like a greenhouse, trapping and magnifying the sun’s strength and heat. Both the air and upholstery temperature can rise so rapidly that a dog can’t cool down.


Because a dog’s normal body temperature is about 102° F. Raise it briefly by only two degrees, and heat exhaustion, brain damage, even death may occur.


Because, unlike humans, dogs don’t sweat. They can only cool themselves by panting and releasing heat through their paws.

Despite repeated warnings in the media, flyers distributed by animal welfare groups, and word of mouth, countless animals still die needlessly each year from heatstroke. Despite the axiom that one person can’t make a difference, in this type of situation, one person can make ALL the difference. And that person may be YOU.

If you see a dog in distress inside a car parked on the street or in a parking lot, note the make and model of the car, as well as its license plate number. Call the police, your local ASPCA branch, Humane Society or animal control immediately.

Watch the dog for the more obvious signs of heatstroke: exaggerated panting (or the sudden stopping of panting); an anxious or staring expression; restlessness; excessive salivation, tremors and vomiting. While waiting for help, you may – wherever possible – choose to act on your own.

(In 16 states now, the Good Samaritan Law prohibits keeping animals in hot, unattended cars).

If a window is opened or a door unlocked, extricate the dog cautiously and carefully — either alone or with assistance. Then, get him into an air-conditioned car or nearby building. Otherwise, lay him down in a cool, shady place. Wet him with cool water, but never apply ice to his body. Fan him vigorously to speed the evaporation process, which, in turn, will cool the blood and reduce his temperature. Give him cool water to drink or even ice cream to lick.

Hopefully, by now, help will have arrived, and you may have saved some neglectful owner’s pet.

A gentle reminder: don’t YOU become that same neglectful owner.

Remember there’s no such thing as ”just for a minute.“


Article by Nomi Berger

The ABC’s of Cat Behavior

Whether their behaviors are amusing, bewitching and charming or aggressive, bothersome and cantankerous, living with cats is always adventurous, seldom boring and occasionally challenging.

Whatever cats do, they do it for a reason, THEIR reason, while humans come along for the ride: to watch, listen and learn. Listed below are some feline behaviors (some naughty, some nice) that may sound oh-so-familiar to you.

Kneading you with their paws.

When cats knead you as if you were dough, they are demonstrating their love for you (often accompanied by melting expressions, purring, even drooling), and returning instinctively to when, as kittens, they kneaded their mothers’ nipples to stimulate them into releasing the milk in order for them to suckle.

Slowly blinking their eyes at you.

This usually signifies a state of supreme serenity and extreme contentment. Many feline guardians will respond by slowly blinking back, assuring the cats that they are loved, safe, and secure. The happy result? More often than not, they will close their eyes completely and luxuriate in a long, soothing nap.

Rubbing their heads against you.

Cats have special scent glands beneath the skin on their chin that release facial pheromones (often called “happy hormones”). By rubbing against you, they are “marking” you with their scent, affectionately claiming you as theirs, while showing that they, in turn, are in a loving, peaceful and contented mood.

Collecting and storing small objects in a safe place.

Certain breeds are more prone to this instinctive hunting and retrieving behavior. While some indoors cats will be satisfied chasing and catching feathered cat wands, some relish gathering up their own toys, string, or small items like their owners’ jewelry, and keeping them all together in a spot all their own.

Preferring running water to a water bowl.

Like humans, cats prefer fresh to stagnant water, and the very motion of water streaming from a faucet appeals to their sense of hearing, sight, and possibly smell. Even the cleanest water bowl (always use stainless steel) loses oxygen and begins collecting bacteria when left standing, if only for a few hours. Smart kitties!

Being overly active at night.

Cats in the wild hunt at night, and inside cats who scamper about instead of sleeping haven’t been sufficiently “played out” during the day. The solution is a pre-bedtime ritual involving interactive toys such as wands, feather toys or Whirly Birds. If all else fails, a second feline companion can help yours burn off that excess energy.

Meowing or constantly making noise.

Some cats are natural “chatters”, but if yours is suddenly vocal, there are reasons for it, including hunger, loneliness, litter box issues, environmental changes and pain. The first step is to see your vet, and if medical problems aren’t the cause, pay close attention to each potential source of the problem and ensure it’s resolved.

Scratching on windows.

There are three ways to look at this. One: your cat is testing to ensure there’s a protective barrier between the world and them. Two: they’re literally trying to get closer to what they see, from caterpillars to cars. Three: they’re frustrated because that same barrier is blocking them from the many temptations outside.

Chattering teeth at birds.

This is another instinct from their days in the wild when chattering preceded their swift kill bite of small prey. The distinctive sound, which is often accompanied by a twitching or puffed up tail, may be caused for one of two reasons: your cat’s excitement at seeing potential prey or frustration at not being able to reach it.

Trying to bolt through an open door.

Once tempted by the sights, smells and sounds outside, they simply want more. To combat this, make the inside more appealing by installing cat trees, a hammock style bed near the window, leaving toys strewn about and the TV on when you’re gone. Or if possible, build a small, securely enclosed area outside your back door.

Pottying outside the litter box.

This behavior may mean something is amiss INSIDE the box. Perhaps your cat no longer likes the feel or smell of the litter or the type or location of the box. Perhaps your cat is ill or in pain or stressed by changes either in routine or in the environment. If your vet finds your cat healthy, address the litter box itself. Then, hopefully, once the cause is determined and the matter resolved, your cat will return to “business” as usual.

Sudden hissing while being petted.

You may think your cat’s enjoying every one of your pets, but a sudden hiss or even an attempt to scratch or bite you proves otherwise. Cats know their own limits, and although you assumed your stroking was a comfort, sometimes it’s an irritant. And when it is, hissing is your cat’s way of saying this particular session is over.

Attacking your ankles as you walk by.

This usually means a cat is bored. The solution is more stimulation in the form of cat furniture, scratching posts and climbing toys. Stuffy toys to drag about or place in a cat bed. Increased playtime with you. If this doesn’t solve the problem, another cat to wrestle, romp and run with can turn your cat’s boredom into satisfaction.


Article by Nomi Berger.

Cool (Cats) For The Summer

Picture yourself on a sweltering summer day wearing a long fur coat. Are you hot yet? Itchy? Thirsty? Desperately searching for shade?

Now picture your cats on that same summer day. And you’ll have some idea of how THEY feel.

Keeping cats cool and comfortable is essential to keeping them safe INside. Protecting them from the hot sun, hot air and hot ground is essential to keeping them safe OUTside. All it requires is common sense and some advance planning.

If you have air conditioning, cool down your place as much as possible before you leave for work/play/the day. Draw blinds/curtains and leave the air conditioning on low.

If you don’t have air conditioning, place fans in the windows and run them on “exhaust” to circulate the air without sucking in the hot air outside. Keep blinds/curtains drawn.

Freeze a bottle of water and place it IN your cat’s bed or place a package of frozen peas UNDER the covering of the bed.

Feeling extravagant? Purchase a cat bed that stays cool through low voltage electricity.

Store small plastic containers of water in the freezer overnight. Place the now-iced containers around your cat’s other favorite cuddling/napping spot(s).

Keep your cat’s food and water bowls out of any direct sunlight, and fill the water bowl with ice cubes to help it remain chilled for hours.

Keep activity to a minimum and discourage your cat from playing.

For those with a screened-in patio that their cat enjoys, put up shades on the sides that face the sun, set out several bowls of iced water and check on them throughout the day.

If gone for the day, consider keeping your cat in the bathroom to lie on the tiled floor or counter top or to curl up in the bathtub or sink.

If going on a road trip in a car without air conditioning, place a wet towel over your cat’s carrier or attach a small battery-operated fan to the outside of the carrier.

Fill the food and water cups inside the carrier with crushed ice for extra cooling, and use a spray bottle of cold water to occasionally wet your cat’s coat.

If traveling in a car WITH air conditioning, keep it on and ensure that the airflow reaches your cat’s carrier.

Never leave your cat tethered outside in the shade. As the day progresses and the light shifts, your cat will be directly exposed to the sun’s harmful rays and heat.

Never shave your cat’s fur as it offers SOME protection against sunburn. Pale and light-skinned cats MUST stay out of the sun because their ears and the tips of their noses are prone to skin cancer.

Never leave your cat in a parked car (even with the windows cracked) for even a few minutes. (Leaving the A/C on with the motor running is an environmental no-no). The inside of a car heats up quickly, making it much hotter than the air outside and can lead swiftly to heat stroke.

The symptoms of heat stroke include rapid panting, difficulty breathing, increased heart rate, erratic/wobbly walking, and redder than normal gums.

Should you observe any of these symptoms, wrap your cat in a cool, wet towel, and get to your veterinarian or to an animal hospital immediately.

Being a responsible cat guardian means being an informed cat guardian.

The list of safety rules may seem long, but the hot days of summer are even longer.


Article by Nomi Berger


GuideStar Exchange


STARelief and Pet Assistance
P.O. Box 3035
Stamford, CT 06905
Phone: 203-636-0971
Fax: 203-883-0325
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