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by: Susan Stokes

Alley Cat Allies offers summer safety advice for outdoor cats

Posted by SusanStokes on July 13, 2014

As summer continues, Alley Cat Allies is providing anyone who cares for cats outdoors with simple steps that can make the cats more comfortable in the summertime heat and humidity.

Here is what Becky Robinson, president and founder of Alley Cat Allies, had to say in her recent press release:

“Cats are well-adapted to living outdoors. But when temperatures rise, outdoor cats can use a helping hand. There are a few easy things people can do to keep cats well-hydrated and cool on hot summer days.”

The following advice should be noted for any cats outdoors, whether living outside full time or just enjoying the backyard on a limited basis.



Remember to pick up any uneaten food outdoors after about 45 minutes to prevent bugs and insects invading the plate or bowl. Dry food is a good option to wet food outdoors because it attracts less insects.

Shop for ant-proof bowls designed specifically for feeding cats outdoors. Some have moats of water or other complications that make it hard for the ants to get to the food.

You can also create your own “ant barrier” by surrounding a cat’s food bowl with a line of food-grade diatomaceous earth without chemical additives (available at some natural food stores and pet supply companies).


Cats can dehydrate quickly, and extra sources of water are helpful when the outdoor temperature rises. Keep water bowls out of the sun to slow evaporation. Try using narrow, deep bowls and drop a few ice cubes in to keep the water cool longer. Consider pet water fountains that give a constant stream of water, inspiring cats to drink even more.


Outdoor cats look for places to escape the hot sun. Help them by providing easy access to shaded places such as underneath a deck where they can rest comfortably and even eat.

Try building an inexpensive outdoor cat shelter using supplies found at any hardware store. Alley Cat Allies offers easy instructions, including a shelter that can be built in less than 30 minutes, at alleycat.org/ShelterGallery.


All cats should be spayed or neutered. But some outdoor cats - known as community or feral cats - won’t allow people to touch them.  To best care for these cats, they need to be humanely trapped and brought to a participating clinic or veterinary office. After they are spayed or neutered, vaccinated and ear tipped for identification, the cats can be returned to their outdoor home.

If you are trapping in the summer months, it’s important to be extra careful. It can be dangerous for cats to stay in traps in the heat too long, putting them at risk for heatstroke. For the safety of the cats, once they have been trapped, keep them in the shade or in an air-conditioned space, and never leave them in the car while trapping additional cats.    

Remember, placing traps on surfaces that absorb the sun’s heat can also be dangerous. Hot metal traps can burn cats’ paws.

Find more information about summer weather safety for outdoor cats: www.alleycat.org/SummerWeather

Alley Cat Allies is the only national advocacy organization dedicated to the protection and humane treatment of cats. Alley Cat Allies was the first organization to introduce and advocate for humane methods of feral cat care, particularly Trap-Neuter-Return, in the American animal protection community

Susan, Taurus and Gemini