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July 25th 06, 04:59 PM
Posted on Tue, Jul. 25, 2006

GARY BOGUE

Leading cats to water inspires them to drink



The hot summer wind,

Tired from chasing hapless clouds,

Rests in the treetops.

-- haiku by Lura Osgood, Pleasant Hill

MELTED CATS ...

During this amazing heat wave, indoor cats often lack the energy to go
find their water dishes and get a drink.

I recognized those symptoms in our cats, Tut and Newman, when the
outside air around our house in Benicia started to smolder at around
110 degrees F on Saturday. We don't normally need air conditioning in
Benicia, so we don't have it.

By 10 a.m. it was 90 degrees inside our house and I had fans everywhere
to keep the air circulating.

Our "Cat Room," a bedroom downstairs just off the garage, is the
coolest room in the house and it was a pleasant 80 degrees. But you
know cats. We were upstairs where it was hot, so that was the place to
be.

Air movement helps, but it's also important for the animals to drink
water so they don't get dehydrated. Cats unfortunately aren't the best
water drinkers in the world and I was getting concerned. Tut and Newman
had melted into two puddles of fur on the hardwood floor in our family
room.

I placed a floor fan on each side of the fur puddles and turned them
on. I swear I saw little waves caused by the moving air.

Now the trick was to get them to drink some water.

Cats are insanely curious and I decided to try and take advantage of
that feline "quality." I got 10 small bowls from a kitchen cabinet and
filled them with cool water. Then I placed then all over the house, in
spots the cats liked to frequent. I also put bowls by the fur puddles.

The puddles instantly turned back into cats and started checking out
the dishes of water. Food? Better taste it and make sure. Nope, just
water. Then they spotted the other dishes and went to check them out
and by the time they finished, both cats were so full of water they
gurgled when they walked.

Every couple of hours during the day I dumped and refilled all the
water dishes and both cats dutifully followed me around the house to
check the bowls and make sure they weren't missing out on anything
good.

I wonder if something like that would work for us overheated humans?

.... AND HOT RABBITS

Gary: With this hot weather, we (House Rabbit Society) received many
calls on how to keep rabbits cool, since they are very sensitive to
heat and can die from heat stroke.

1. First and foremost, bring them inside if they are outdoors!

2. Give them access to frozen water bottles (to lie next to).

3. Ice cubes in their water.

4. Give them tile or marble to lie on, or access to the bathroom floor
(carpet is typically warmer), and wire cage bottoms are always a no-no.

5. Freeze a piece of tile or marble for your bun to lie on.

6. If a fan is placed for the rabbit, make sure it can escape the
direct blow of the fan.

7. Give greens during the day, for water.

8. Mist your rabbit's ears to cool him down.

9. For those lucky ones that have free roam of the house, they know
where to go to get cool. Mine have been lying on the air conditioning
vents.

10. Take your rabbit to the vet at the first signs of heat stroke.
Remember that rabbits can die very quickly. (Suzi, a volunteer at House
Rabbit Society and SaveABunny)

OVERHEATING SIGNS

Signs of pet overheating:

Excessive panting, glazed eyes, acting disoriented, vomiting, and/or a
deep red or purple tongue.

If your pet has any of these symptoms, give it a cool bath, and get the
animal to your vet for help ASAP. You might call for advice first.

Find more Gary in his blog at:
blogs.www.contracostatimes.com/gary_bogue; write Gary, P.O. Box 8099,
Walnut Creek, CA 94596-8099; old columns at www.contracostatimes.com,
click on Columnists