There is one universal factor that all cat parents dread each year: the unbearable heat of summer. This is when a lot of questions arise regarding how to deal with the heat in relation to their cats: how to keep cats cool, calm, and healthy. Well, here are some answers to your burning questions and more.
If your cat is like most, she may always look relaxed as she stretches out and lounges in the sun. But the sun can be a cause for concern even if your cat seems unaffected.
How Do You Know Your Cat Is Hot?
Cats can handle heat without showing obvious signs of discomfort. That is until they reach their tipping point.
Most cats experience temperature like you. If you’re hot or uncomfortable, so is your kitty. If you want to go inside because you’re drenched in sweat, bring your cat in with you.
The same is true inside your house. If you think your home is getting a bit too warm, your cat likely agrees with you.
When it’s hot you glisten with sweat as your body tries to cool you off. Cats don’t have this mechanism: a sweaty fur coat isn’t very fashionable or effective. ; ) So, do cats sweat? Yes. Like dogs, though, they only sweat from their paws. This helps cool them off a tiny bit, but this sweat often encourages traction while walking and a moisture layer to protect their paws on hot surfaces.
One of the most apparent signs that your cat is hot is that she will pant. While panting, air circulation increases evaporation of saliva which cools your kitty.
Of course, you can also take your cat’s rectal temperature. The process is unpleasant for your kitty but it’s the most accurate way to determine if your cat’s temperature is unsafe. 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit is normal for a cat. Any temperature over 103.0-degrees requires a trip to the vet.
When Cats Get Too Hot: Signs of Heatstroke
Heatstroke occurs when your cat gets too hot and cannot cool her body temperature down. The first stages of heatstroke are often referred to as “heat exhaustion.” Heatstroke can be life-threatening and cause permanent health issues and organ failure.
Signs of Heatstroke
- Excessive and non-stop panting
- Trouble breathing
- Repositioning and inability to get comfortable
- Bright red gum and tongue or colorless gums
- Elevated heart rate
- The appearance of weak knees and wobbly walking
- Inability to stand
- Shaking muscles
- No urine
If you suspect your cat is experiencing heat exhaustion or heatstroke, you must act quickly to cool your cat down without sending her into shock.
Cover her with a cool, wet towel or dunk her in a room temperature bath. Put her in front of a fan and bring her into the air-conditioned house.
Then call your vet and bring her in immediately. Your vet will likely give her fluids and check for and any serious health concerns.
Which Breeds Are at Higher Risk for Heatstroke?
If you have a Persian cat or another breed with a short snout, your cat is at higher risk to experience difficulty as a result of high temperatures. As you may have guessed, long-haired cats are also at higher risk of heatstroke.
What Other Factors May Create a Greater Risk of Heat Issues?
Other factors that make the heat more dangerous for certain cats include:
- Young age or old age
- Excessive exercise
- Preexisting breathing problems, neurological disease, or cardiovascular health issues
Tips to Help Your Cat Stay Made in the Shade
If you’re worried about your cat’s health this summer, there are some ways to help her beat the heat.
- Keep Your Kitty Hydrated: Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh, cool water. To encourage more drinking, try using a kitty drinking fountain. The sound of flowing water ignites your cat’s instinct to drink.
- Keep You Cat Indoors: As temperatures rise, keep your cat in the air conditioning.
- Close Your Blinds: Windows and windowsills can get hot, hot, hot. By closing the blinds during the hottest times of day, you can help your cat stay comfortable.
- Try a Kitty Cooling Pad: Cats lower their body temperatures by transferring heat onto cold surfaces. A cooling pad is perfect for this. Tile and cool countertops so the same thing.
- Visit Your Vet at the Beginning of Summer: Visiting the vet to find out if your cat is at higher risk to heatstroke and other high-temperature complications.
If summer fun is on your agenda with your kitty, make sure you keep your cat safe from high temperatures. Shut those shades and provide plenty of fresh water for your cat to enjoy.
Watch the cutest cats meowing!
— Meow for now —