Published by: Ingrid King. Last Updated on: February 1, 2023 by Crystal Uys
During the hot summer months, it goes without saying that you need to take precautions for your outdoor pets to protect them from heat stroke and other heat related problems, but even indoor cats require special attention, especially if you’re trying to save on cooling costs by turning the air conditioning up when you’re not at home.
TXU and the SPCA of Texas recommend that pet parents set thermostats no higher than 78-80 degrees, and advise against turning off the air conditioner altogether. If your cat has a health condition, be sure to check with your vet on a good temperature setting. A programmable thermostat can make controlling your indoor temperature easy. With some models, you can even control your thermostat via your smartphone.
TXU offers the following tips to save energy during the summer and still keep your cats safe and comfortable:
Turn off lights
To avoid wasting electricity, turn off lights in rooms you’re not using, whether you’re home or away. According to the SPCA, if your pets are home indoors without you, natural lighting is the most soothing, even if it’s filtered by blinds, drapes or outside awnings.
Treat sunny windows to reduce glare
We know that cats enjoy basking in the sun. Allegra and Ruby still sought out the sun puddles even when our power was out for two days and the temperature inside our house had reached 90 degrees a few years ago. However, letting the sunshine in unfortunately does affect the indoor temperature in your home, causing your cooling system to switch on more frequently. Consider treating your windows with solar film, or close most of the blinds and drapes (well, maybe not your cat’s favorite one…)
Leave out plenty of water
Regardless of the indoor temperature setting, be sure to leave plenty of water around for your cats to drink. You can drop ice cubes in their water bowls to keep their water cooler longer. And while some people leave faucets dripping to encourage their cats to drink, this wastes water and the electricity used to transport it to your home. A more energy-efficient option is a pet fountain that circulates water and uses minimal amounts of electricity.
Seal air leaks
You can keep more of your household budget for cat treats, toys and pampering if you avoid wasting the electricity that helps to cool your home. So, be sure your windows, doors and fireplaces are sealed to keep cool air from leaking out of the house when it’s hot outside.
Do you have any tips to keep your indoor cats cool?
Thank you to TXU and the SPCA of Texas for these tips. This post was first published in 2012 and 2020 and has been updated.
Ingrid King is an award-winning author, former veterinary hospital manager, and veterinary journalist who is passionate about cats.