Roseville just suffered through a massive heatwave. After the longest, most balmy spring in recent memory, summer kicked off with a string of 104 degree days. I’m lucky; I get to sit in my air-conditioned house, with my series of fans set up for optimal wind-tunnel effects. My outside kitty, Shyboo, is not so lucky.
She came to us late in life, after having been abused and kept in a tiny room for at least a year, possibly longer. I don’t know much about her past, but I know for certain she doesn’t want to be stuffed into my bathroom for a day, even if it would mean getting to spend the day at 80 degrees instead of 100. However, I told her that was exactly how she’d spend the week if she showed any signs of heatstroke.
If you don’t believe cats understand what you’re saying, or at least what you’re thinking as you say it, you haven’t spent long in the company of cats. She knew I wouldn’t back down from that promise, so she tolerated a surprising amount of forced pampering.
It started with an ice pack. I wrapped it in a towel and set it near her. She looked at it, looked at me, and sighed. Thus encouraged, I unwrapped the ice pack and eased it against her belly. She lay stretched out on her side, so I made sure it was beneath the tips of her long fur. So far, so good.
I went back for a little more ice and set it near her. I got glared at, but otherwise she seemed fine. So I went back for more ice. She deigned to lick this chunk, said “Eeh” when I rearranged the towel to protect her from melting runoff, and then laid back down. Here was the final setup:
That’s a lot of fur for 100 degree heat, right? She stayed in her ice palace for several hours, well past the peak heat of the day.
That ice was the totality of what was in our ice maker, and our freezer takes its time kicking out new ice, so recreating this setup the next day was out of the question. That’s when my husband hit upon the idea of a mister. I predicted she would have nothing to do with it, but we tried it anyway, because the goal is to make this elderly cat’s life as wonderful as possible, and she’d be as miserable stuck in a bathroom all day as she would be stuck in the heat.
Her reaction to the mister:
It was as if she’d been waiting for it! We did our best to give her enough room to lay up against the coolness of the house without getting wet, but she didn’t care.
Today, she opted to lay in a different part of the yard, and I brought the hose and mister to her. A gentle breeze blows the mist right over her. Does she care?
Can you see all the sparkles on her fur? Those are water drops. She’s drenched, but the only thing she’s unhappy about is having her picture taken.
Here’s a closeup:
I’m so thankful the temperatures are headed back down (to a mere 95 or so degrees)! I’m also grateful that Shyboo trusts us and tolerates our attempts to improve her life, even when they involve water. Also, if you ever hear me talk about “watering my cat,” you’ll know what I mean.