Fall 2016

Feline Hazards Heat Up in Summer

Tips for keeping your cat safe and happy

Previous Next

Illustration: Ward Schumaker

Keeping your kitty out of mischief is a daily duty, but owners have to be extra vigilant during the summer, when threats to your cat’s well-being generally rise with the temperature, says Michael Stone, a veterinarian who specializes in small animal care at Cummings School. He points out a few of the hazards and offers up some remedies:

Accidental poisonings. Fleas and ticks are abundant in the warmer months, and cats can get very ill when they’re exposed to antitick and antiflea products developed specifically for dogs. Cat owners should talk with their veterinarian about the safest preventive measures, especially if there are other animals in the home. Never apply a product that isn’t labeled safe for cats.

Antifreeze, a sweet-smelling liquid that’s very attractive to cats, tends to leak out of overheated automobiles during hot weather and puddle on driveways and garage floors. If your cat laps up ethylene glycol, the main ingredient in many antifreezes, it can cause serious damage to the kidneys, and if untreated, lead to kidney failure within 24 hours. Protect your cat by cleaning up spills immediately and fixing coolant leaks in your car right away.

Falls. A cat can sustain serious injury or be killed by leaping or accidentally tumbling from an open window or balcony. Make sure that all upper-story windows in your home are properly screened—and double-check that the screens are tightly fitted and closed.

Encounters with cars and other animals. Of all the warm weather threats to cats, none is more potentially fatal than being hit by a car. Also, bite injuries sustained in fights with other animals are a portal through which bacteria can enter and then multiply and cause a serious infection. Fatal diseases, such as feline leukemia, can be contracted through bite wounds. So play it safe and keep your cat indoors at all times.

Adapted with permission from Catnip: The Newsletter for Caring Cat Owners, published by Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. For subscription information, visit tuftscatnip.com or call 1.800.829.0926.

Top Stories

Back in the Saddle

A new world-class sports medicine complex at Cummings School keeps equine athletes at the top of their game

The Match Makers

How cutting-edge behavioral research is helping shelter dogs find their forever homes

From Classroom to Clinic

We asked five students from Cummings School’s Class of 2017 to tell us about the excitement, anxiety and pride of beginning their clinical rotations

Under Pressure

The first mental health survey of U.S. veterinarians paints a sobering picture: One in six has contemplated suicide. Why are these healers feeling so desperate? And what’s being done to help care for them?

Editor's Picks

A New Model for Vocational Ed

The nation’s first on-the-job veterinary assistant program trains high schoolers and vet students while delivering low-cost care

Betting the Farm

Fifty years ago, there were 1,600 dairy farms in Connecticut. Today there are 120. Those that remain are in a constant struggle for survival. Here’s the story of how one family farm, now in its fourth generation, is fighting to innovate and grow with the help of a Cummings School vet

Doggone DNA

All dogs and cats are at risk for inherited health problems. Understanding them can benefit animal and human health

Cardiac Repair Kits

People could benefit from stem cell studies of heart-valve disease in dogs

Drug Abuse and the Family Tree

Opioid use in adolescence may affect the health of the next generation and beyond

Gorilla Docs

Wildlife veterinarians work with their African partners to protect the endangered animals