Do Our Cats Get Hot in the Summer? Yes, they do!
24 June, 2015
Cats Get Hot In Summer

Our cats love nothing better than catching the rays of the sun on a carpet or a window perch. However, as our summer months approach and temperatures start climbing, your cat can potentially be exposed to the dangers of heat stroke (hyperthermia).  While your cat will instinctively search for cooler spots to spend his or her time, it is our responsibility as cat owners to help keep our kitties cool.

Below are some tips to help keep your cats cool in the summer months:

Keep your air conditioning on low or fan on to keep your cat cool

Use your usual cooling methods that you would for yourself to help keep your cat cool too. If you have air conditioning or fans, keeping your cat indoors will ensure that it is benefiting from the cooling, too. Many of the things you do also benefit your cat, such as keeping the blinds, drapes, and most doors closed. Just be sure to allow your kitties to have a choice to exit if they feel too cold, so that they can go into a warmer room when he/she pleases.

Cats Get Hot In Summer

 

Make sure to always have cold water available

While this might be obvious, even indoor cats have an increased need for fresh, cool water during hotter weather. Replenish water in bowls on a regular basis. Adding an ice cube in a water bowl not only keeps the water temperature cooler, it can become a little enticement for your cat to drink. It’s not unusual for a curious kitty to paw at the floating ice cube in play and then lick her wet paw.

If your cat tends to play too enthusiastically in her water bowl and ends up with most of it spilled all over the floor, consider getting a pet water fountain. This way, she can paw at the water flowing from the fountain into the reservoir.

Make sure your kitty has either tile or somewhere shady to lie down

Invest in large, shady potted plants. Make sure they will provide ample shade for your kitty and not be toxic to her should she decide to taste-test the leaves. Check with your local poison control center for a list of toxic houseplants.

If your home is carpeted, provide your kitty with cooler places to lie down.  If you find your cat in the bathroom on the tile floor, there is a reason.  It helps that your kitty has a cool place to lie.  And you might notice when your kitty walks across your tile floor, you will see moist paw prints left. Cats sweat through their foot pads. If your home is hot, and you don’t see moist paw prints, that should raise concern.

How to check to see if your cat is dehydrated

You can check for dehydration several ways:  roll kitty’s bottom eyelid down. You should see moisture pool up in the lower lid.  No moisture, kitty needs a vet!

Check your cat’s mouth by pressing your finger lightly against her gums (which should be pink and happy). Your print should leave an impression for about a second then the gums pink up again. If they stay pale, or appear streaked or white, call your vet for an immediate appointment.

The final way to check for dehydration, is while your cat is resting, gently pick up the scruff of her neck, without lifting her body. Pinch the scruff lightly, release. The skin should fold down within seconds. If it remains in a pinched position- call your vet!

Below are some normal behavioral patterns during the hot summer months:

Your kitty might seem to be grooming him or herself more than usual, but this is normal. This is a cooling mechanism similar to sweating: as the saliva evaporates off its fur, the cat will cool down.

Cats, like dogs and mice, have their sweat glands on their paws. If your cat is leaving wet paw prints, he or she is sweating and will need to replenish its fluids. You can try cooling your cat down by dipping its paws in water or even with a damp, cool towel.

Don’t worry if your cat starts panting. Cats pant more rarely than dogs, but your kitty might pant to take in cooler air if he or she is particularly hot. Heavy panting could be cause for concern, however, and you should call your vet.

Monitor your cat for symptoms of heatstroke

Heatstroke is a real medical emergency. If you suspect your cat has heatstroke you must act quickly.  Move your cat to a cool place and immediately contact your veterinarian. Symptoms of heatstroke include:

    • Heavy panting
    • Drooling
    • Red tongue and lips
    • Dullness
    • Weakness and collapsing
    • Convulsions
    • Vomiting

If you just keep in mind that your kitties are like us, humans, when it gets hot out:  they need plenty of water, a cool place to hang out, and need to be watched for symptoms of anything different or unusual that might occur.

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