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Dear Most Esteemed and Knowledgeable Kitties:

I am a beautiful long-haired black cat, and while that’s usually a great thing, summer is rapidly approaching and I don’t know if I’ll be able to take the heat. I stay indoors and we don’t have air conditioning, and on days like today when it’s close to 90 and rising, I have a hard time getting an appetite or having energy. Mama tries lots of different ways to cool me down, like rubbing me with damp towels, but is at work most of the day so she can’t be here all the time to do it. So mama was wondering if she should take me to the groomer and get me shaved. Not all the way down to the skin — I know she wouldn’t make me walk around completely naked — but just enough so that maybe I’d be more comfortable. I sure need something different, because I can sense a hot summer coming!

~ Sasha

I said a little off da top! Does dis look liek a little tu u?!?Siouxsie: Well, Sasha, it is fairly common for people to shave their long-haired cats during the summer months (or the winter months, in the southern hemisphere) to help them tolerate the heat.

Thomas: In fact, it’s so common that there’s a vast repository of “funny” cat pictures dedicated to the humiliation of furless felines.

Dahlia: Now, that’s just mean!

Siouxsie: But the good news is that there are a lot of ways to stay cool other than shaving your gorgeous fur.

Thomas: It’s quite natural for cats to become sleepy and not have much of an appetite when the weather is hot. The same thing happens to humans, you know. But do they go around shaving the fur off their heads to stay cool? No!

Dahlia: Well, Mama shaves her head-fur off  …

Siouxsie: Now, I’m not gonna come right out and say that Mama’s weird or anything — but let’s just say that most humans wouldn’t dream of shaving their own fur. Can we get back to the point now?

Thomas: If your mama doesn’t have air conditioning, does she have fans? One of those small “breeze machine” type fans could be very helpful: she can put it on the floor, it’s totally kitty-safe because you can’t get your paws in there, and it’ll send air over you, which will help cool you off.

Dahlia: Mama used one of those in our little apartment — which also didn’t have a/c — and they helped us to stay cool.

Siouxsie: There are cat beds that can help keep you cool, too. Elevated cot-style beds that allow air to circulate under you as well as over you can be helpful. Your mama can even buy little cooling cat mats to put on the floor (of course, some companies call them dog mats, but that’s just because they don’t know any better).

Thomas: Mama says we need to get the legal mumbo-jumbo out of the way, so here goes: The links above are only to give examples of the types of products we’re talking about, and the presence of these links should not be taken as an implied or explicit endorsement of the particular product or brand.

Dahlia: I think a fan plus an elevated kitty cot would be full of awesome cool-tastic goodness!

Siouxsie: Your mama should make sure she closes the curtains or blinds so that the sun doesn’t pour into your windows and make your home too hot. That’ll be good for her, too, because she won’t wilt when she gets home from work!

Thomas: Some people recommend putting ice cubes in cats’ dishes. It can’t hurt, I’d say, but we cats generally aren’t big water drinkers.

Dahlia: I’ve got to say I drink more water in the summer. I spend more time moistening my fur to keep myself cool, so I need to replace that lost moisture with water. Most cats do the same thing.

Siouxsie: If these measures don’t work and your mama does end up shaving your fur to help you feel better, remember that it will grow back and you’ll be back to your gloriously beautiful self in no time!

Thomas: Good luck, Sasha. Stay cool this summer!

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