Since Michael has been on a roll with how cats can be injured or killed by cars, I decided to approach the subject once again from our cat Sealy’s perspective. By this I mean cats can die under the hood in warm weather too.
Many areas of the U.S. get hot in the summer. And I mean HOT. We had temperatures last summer in South Carolina with heat indexes in the triple digits and humidity at near 100%. I hate hot weather, and I imagine a few neighborhood cats out there feel the same way. What better, safe way for a cat to cool off than to climb up into the engine compartment of a car parked under a shade tree. Or in a garage. At least the cat will assume the engine compartment is safe until….the car starts and the cat is injured or killed. Which is what happened to Sealy, except it was in the winter. He’s lucky to have survived with just a missing ear.
It’s likely that many car owners, not wanting to get all sweaty while driving to work, will use their remote car starter this summer to start their car with the air conditioning already running. Mechanics caution car owners against this because it can impact not only the battery, but also the starter on a car. Manuals recommend the air conditioner be turned off a few blocks away from wherever you’re going so condensation doesn’t develop that can harm the air conditioner. FYI you should let the fan run while you do this. Something about mold growth.
Those with newer cars and new batteries probably won’t think twice about starting a car by remote a few minutes before they plan to leave. After all, a cold car is much more comfortable in scorching outdoor heat than a hot one. It takes a few minutes for a scorching hot car to cool off, and a remote starter seems the ideal answer for staying cool.
It’s still a good idea to beat on the hood, honk the horn, and do a visual inspection if at all possible. These are much better alternatives than living with the guilt of seriously injuring or killing a cat who was only hoping to catch a nap in what it considered a safe place.
For those of you who are wondering about Sealy, he’s doing great. He’s put on a little more weight and he plays with his toys every day. He still lives in his cage (his choice, not ours), but the door is only shut while he’s eating his special food. This keeps the other cats away. After he eats, the door is opened. He spends his time cat watching, people watching or looking out the living room or bedroom windows. He has a good life now, although he’s not a lap cat unless it’s on his terms. Meaning I have to have something he wants (like food) before he graces me with his presence.
Please remind all of your friends that just because its not cold out anymore, cats still aren’t safe from remote car starters. Don’t sacrifice a cats life for the few minutes you save cooling off your car before leaving home.