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Should you leave the air conditioner on for your cat?

Memorial Day is just around the corner, which means the unofficial start to summer is almost here! Even though the weather rainy weather lately feels a bit more like fall, hotter days are headed our way.

With the weather being so unpredictable, have you ever asked yourself whether or not you should leave the air conditioner running for your cat?

When is it a good idea to leave the AC on?

Some cats benefit from being in a climate controlled environment. For instance, elderly cats just like elderly people, have a hard time adjusting to a sudden temperature fluctuation. Cats who have moved to a hotter region from a cooler region may also find themselves overwhelmed once summer rolls around. Likewise, cats recently adopted from climate controlled shelters could have a hard time adjusting to the summer heat.

Overheating for a cat is a serious matter. Once heat exhaustion, which is also known as heat stroke, set in, it can damage your cat’s internal organs if left untreated. However, the best thing you can do to prevent heat exhaustion is to ensure that your home is a consistent, even temperature.

Can you just crack a window instead?

On the one hand, if you’ve spent a few summers in your apartment and you know it doesn’t get too hot, then simply opening a window may work just fine. On the other hand, if you just moved into your apartment and you’re not sure how hot the summer will be, it’s better to not take a chance. However, if your unit was freezing in the wintertime, it’s a good indication that it isn’t well insulated. It’ll probably be very hot in the summertime, too.

Before you open your window, make sure that you have a screen installed. Many cats have fallen victim to high rise syndrome, in which they unwittingly leap out of windows because they do not realize how high up they are. Furthermore, besides keeping your cat inside, screens also keep other animals outside. Bats and birds, which can carry diseases and pests, can easily find their way into an unscreened window.

What are some alternatives?

Leaving the air conditioner running can waste energy and run up the electric bill. There are ways to provide passive heat management in your home without making major alterations. For instance, thermal curtains both block heat in the summer and keep out the cold in the winter. You can also apply temporary or permanent heat reflecting window films. They don’t reduce visual light like curtains would, but they block the UV energy that is responsible for baking your apartment.

Are you unsure whether or not you need the AC on while you’re out of town? Hire a pet sitter to come check on your kitty. Even if your air conditioner has a programmable thermostat, a reliable pet sitter can check on your cat and home to ensure that everything is functioning the way it should.

Call us today! We still have availability for Memorial Day weekend.


Candace Elise Hoes is a pet sitter and blogger at Katie’s Kitty. She is a graduate of the MFA Writing Program at California College of the Arts.

photo by kroszk@ on flickr

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