It’s important to keep your cat healthy all year round, but summer brings some particular situations that need specific action on the part of the pet owner. Here are some tips to keep your cat healthy this summer.

1 – Indoors or Outdoors?

If you keep your cat indoors all the time in an air conditioned home, there probably won’t be much of a problem with heat stroke. Fleas and ticks may not be as problematic on indoor cats, but not necessarily. Many cats, though, are miserable if they are kept indoors all the time.

If you choose to let your cat outside, make sure he has access to a shady area and a bowl of cool water. (More on summer water availability below.) If possible, allow your cat to have access to the indoors (even if it’s just the garage) as well as the outdoors so she can come in out of the heat.

2 – Water

Water is important all year round, but in the summer, it needs special attention. It’s hard to keep water cool in the blazing sun, and it evaporates quickly.

One idea is to put a block of ice in your cat’s outdoor water bowl. Simply freeze a plastic container (such as a margarine tub) full of water, then turn that block of ice out into the water bowl. Pour water over and around the ice block. The block will slowly melt during the day, providing a steady source of cool water.

Another idea is to freeze a plastic 2-litre bottle full of water. Then use wire to hang the bottle (cap off) over a bowl. The ice will melt and drip cold water all day.

3 – Hairballs

Summer is shedding season, and shedding means extra hair-swallowing as cats groom. Help prevent hairballs by grooming your cat daily with a brush specifically made for collecting hair, such as a slicker brush.

You can also give your cat an oil-based hairball preventative in the summer. These preventatives come in a tube and are smeared on the cat’s paw; the cat then licks it off. Hairball prevention formula cat food and treats may also help.

4 – Fleas and Ticks

Even indoor cats need flea and tick prevention, and sometimes treatment. Flea eggs and adult ticks can easily be carried indoors on shoes and clothing. Outdoor cats will need to have preventative treatment too, and for your outdoor cat, look for flea and tick medication that repels mosquitoes as well.

Whether you go natural or chemical, start your flea prevention measures early in May, experts recommend. It’s easier to stave off an infestation than effectively treat one.