Sizzling, sweltering, blistering – no matter what you call it, it has been a hot few days! With all-time high temperature records tied or broken around the country, everyone is wondering how does this heat wave affect the animals?
Many of our cat species begin adapting for the heat by shedding their thick winter coats in the springtime. Their habitats are usually filled with tufts of fur that they’ve shed long before summer’s worst heat arrives.
When the thermometer starts rising, their activity level does the opposite – it starts falling. Once summer rolls around, there are lots of cat naps going on during the heat of the day. We make sure their favorite spots are shady ones. Most of the natural, free-roaming habitats have large shade trees. But, we also put up shade cloth on the ceiling and inclines to make sure they have a number of shady spots to choose from. Their lounging platforms and hammocks are all raised off the ground so many like to snooze in those shady spots, too.
As we build habitats, we make sure to include concrete caves in our construction plans. There’s nothing cuter than walking by a habitat, seeing a cave with nothing more than a cougar tail sticking out, flicking lazily back and forth. It’s a cool spot they all love.
When the mercury rises, most of the cats enjoy the water features in their habitats, too. From the big pools and waterfalls the tigers play in to the little pools our smaller species and hybrids dip their paws in, they each find a way to cool off in the water in the summertime. Just like kids who like to play in sprinklers, so do a lot of the cats. That’s why we also have sprinklers to cool them down.
Who doesn’t enjoy frozen treats in the summer? Our wild cats are certainly no different. They get frozen enrichment and frozen tuna treats throughout the summer to cool them down and give them something unique to stimulate their senses.
Our keeper staff is keenly aware of each individual cat’s reaction to the heat waves we’ve been experiencing. They assure that our cats are monitored closely every day and receive nothing but the best in terms of their daily care.
Hopefully, you’re all handling the summer heat wave as well as our cats are here at the Sanctuary. Stay cool!