A tall glass filled with ice cubes and water is a welcome sight after spending some time under the summer sun. But can you give ice to your cat to help him keep cool?
Is ice bad or good for cats?
As with most things, there are no black and white answers. True, there are a few benefits to giving your pets ice cubes. However, there are also a few downsides associated with giving felines ice cubes.
Before you decide on this matter, you should hear what each camp has to say.
Pros of giving cats ice cubes
Here are some of the benefits of giving your pet ice cubes, especially during summer.
1. Encourage your cat to drink more
Cats are finicky about a lot of things, including the placement of their water bowls and the quality of the water you give them. While others simply do not drink enough.
One way to coax your pet to drink more water, especially during summer is to give him ice cubes or place these in a bowl filled with water. Lots of cats prefer drinking cold water and putting a few ice cubes in his drinking bowl might be the trick you are looking for.
2. Entertain your cat
Instead of putting ice cubes in your cat’s drinking bowl, you can put these on a clean floor.
You will be able to hit two birds with one stone. First, your cat will get his fill of moisture as he licks the ice cubes. Second, you can keep him entertained for a few minutes as he plays with the ice cubes.
Cons of giving cats ices cubes
Despite the benefits mentioned above, some cat owners will not give their pets ice cubes, even during summer.
1. Teeth damage
While most cats will lick ice cubes, there are a few inquisitive ones that bite into the cubes.
Biting into an ice cube can cause a few dental problems, including chipped or broken teeth, and even mouth pain.
2. Stomach discomfort
If you place the ice cubes in a bowl filled with water, the ice can make the water too cold for your cat. Cold water can sometimes cause stomach discomfort in cats. Worse, icy water slows down a cat’s metabolism.
3. Brain freeze
Like humans, felines can suffer brain freeze when they lick on ice cubes too fast. Brain freeze can be uncomfortable or even downright painful for the affected cat.
How to make ice cubes safer for your cat
If you want to give ice cubes to your feline but are afraid that these can hurt them, there are a few ways to minimize the associated risks.
First, make sure that you use clean water in making ice cubes. If you are not going to use that water for your cat to drink, you should not use it to make ice cubes.
Instead of giving the ice cubes directly to your cat, you can place these into his water bowl. You can also break off the cubes into smaller pieces to decrease the likelihood of your feline biting into hard chunks of ice.
Ice cubes for cats alternatives
If you are wary of the potential risks involved in giving your pet ice cubes, there are a few alternatives you can try to keep your cat cool, especially during summer.
1. Invest in a cooling mat
You can buy cooling mats that can be placed under your cat’s blanket. These products can be placed in a freezer to cool. Afterward, you can wrap these in your cat’s blanket. You can then place the blanket in your pet’s favorite spot.
Alternatively, if you do not have a cooling mat available in your home, you can use frozen vegetables instead.
2. Use a wet towel
One easy way to cool off your cat during a sweltering summer afternoon is to dab a wet towel all over his body.
Although most cats hate getting wet, your pet will appreciate getting wiped with a wet towel if the temperature is too hot.
3. Pay attention to your cat’s grooming
During summer, you will notice that your pet grooms himself more than usual. Your cat’s saliva can help him cool down.
However, this may not be enough. As such, you can give your pet an extra hand by grooming him daily. This allows you to remove dead hair which can hamper his comfort by trapping body heat.
You can also ask your vet about trimming your cat’s fur in some areas of his body.
4. Give him cool treats
Open a can of wet cat food and place chunks into an ice cube tray. During the middle of the day when the temperature is at its warmest, give him a few pieces of these treats.
Preventing heatstroke in cats
Heatstroke can be life-threatening for felines. If you ignore the signs of heat stress, your pet’s condition can deteriorate rapidly to the point that his organs stop to function.
Although all cats are at risk of succumbing to heat stroke, there are a few risk factors that increase the likelihood that a cat will fall ill due to high temperatures.
- Breeds with short snouts
- Obese cats
- Cats with cardiac issues
- Cats with breathing issues
- Cats with thick fur
- Young and old cats
- Dehydrated cats
Signs of heatstroke
Sometimes, the signs of heatstroke in a cat can be subtle. And if you do not know these symptoms, you might not recognize the fact that your pet is already suffering from heat stress.
Here is a list of the symptoms to watch out for:
- Red tongue
- Discoloration of gums
- Rapid heartbeat
- Breathing difficulties
- Muscle tremors
- Low urine volume
First aid for heatstroke in cats
Heatstroke is an emergency situation. If you notice signs that your pet is in distress due to excessive heat, you have no other option but to go to the animal clinic as soon as possible.
Before bringing your pet to the vet, there are a few things that you can do to cool him down.
- First, move him to a cool area in your home.
- Spray cool water on his fur and skin. However, do not use ice water as this can create another set of problems.
- Alternatively, you can wet an area in your home and allow your cat to lie down there.
Giving ice cubes to your feline
While ice cubes can help keep your cat cool, you should also be aware of the inherent risks involved. Weigh the pros and cons carefully before making a decision. More importantly, you should be aware of the signs of heatstroke and reduce your cat’s vulnerability to this.
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