Basic care

How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather

María Besteiros
By María Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: July 21, 2019
How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather

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With good weather comes the arrival of high temperatures. Naturally, all animal caregivers worry about keeping their animal well away from the dangers of heat. This safety is important in maintaining your animal’s well-being and preventing it from suffering potentially fatal heat stroke.

If you are wondering how to keep indoor cats cool in hot weather, you’ve come to the right place! In this AnimalWised article we will be giving you 5 tips to protect your cat from the heat this coming summer.

You may also be interested in: How to Keep Dogs Cool in Summer
  1. Cats in heat: preventing heat stroke
  2. Cats in heat: environment
  3. Protecting cats in heat: hydration
  4. Cats and heat tolerance: bathing your cat in summer
  5. Cat and heat tolerance: holidays and travelling in summer
  6. Cats in hot weather

Cats in heat: preventing heat stroke

Do cats like heat? Yes, of course! Surely you’ve noticed your cat lying and enjoying the summer sun? But when temperatures are high, they also have to protect themselves from the sun, since excessive heat can cause serious complications, such as heat stroke in cats. Heat stroke in cats is extremely dangerous and can even, if not treated, result in the death of the animal.

Hyperthermia occurs as a result of high temperatures and sun exposure. Heat stroke in cats causes an increase in body temperature which triggers a series of reactions in the body that may result in death.

Heat stroke symptoms in cats include:

  • wheezing
  • breathing difficulties
  • intense red discoloration of the mucous membranes
  • fever
  • vomiting
  • hemorrhages
  • shock

If you notice any of these above mentioned symptoms in your animal we suggest consulting your veterinarian immediately.

Sunburn in cats

In addition to heat stroke, direct exposure to the sun can cause, like in humans, sunburn. Cats are more prone to burns on their noses and ears, specifically if they have white fur. Sun burn in cats symptoms include:

  • Skin redness.
  • Pain.
  • Itching.
  • Thickened skin on the burnt area.
  • Hair loss.
  • Worsening of skin damage.

If you believe your cat is suffering from a sunburn, consult your veterinarian. Sunburn in cats treatment generally include topical or oral steroids for inflammation. In more severe cases, antibiotics may be prescribed.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss everything you need to know about heat stroke in cats.

How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather - Cats in heat: preventing heat stroke

Cats in heat: environment

One of the first things you can do for a cat in hot weather is provide it with a cooler environment. A cats normal body temperature is somewhat higher than that of humans but one must take into account that cats struggle self-cooling. Humans self-cool easily through sweat. For cats, however, it is more complex because they must lick themselves to cool down from their saliva. Cats can only sweat from their paw pads.

Thus, the ideal temperature for a cat is equivalent to our ideal temperature as humans, both in summer and in winter. Here are some extra tips to consider when protecting a cat form the heat:

  • Include the use of resources such as air conditioning or fans.
  • Keep the blinds down or the curtains drawn in rooms where the sun is stronger.
  • Open your windows to ventilate and cool the house. Having cats, it is essential to take precautions to prevent them from falling, as it is common for cats to jump out of windows and/or off balconies. Therefore it is vital to install window protectors for cats, like mosquito nets.
  • Whenever you leave your cat, it should have a shady place with access to fresh water. The bathroom is usually a good place to keep your cat since tiles are kept cold.
  • If your cat has the freedom of going outside in a controlled area, such as a patio or garden, we must also ensure that it has shade and water.
  • Avoid your cat exercising and or playing a lot when its hot.

For more, you may find out article ‘How do cats sweat?’ interesting!

Protecting cats in heat: hydration

Water is essential to cool a cat in summer. Sometimes cats are reluctant to drink, so it is important that we encourage them to drink water. Cats are attracted to water in movement, so try run a tap or invest in that can be used as drinking troughs.

In hot seasons we must ensure that our cat’s water is fresh, therefore you must change it several times a day. Some cats like to play with ice cubes, which can also be used as a trick to cool them down and get them to drink more water. Offering them moist food or broths to drink can also help to maintain their hydration. This is especially important in cats with; kidney problems, kittens, elderly cats, brachycephalic or sick cats, who are all in a more vulnerable position. For more, read ‘Why isn’t your cat drinking water?’

How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather - Protecting cats in heat: hydration

Cats and heat tolerance: bathing your cat in summer

Your cats’s mantle plays an important role when it comes to protecting it from the sun, for this reason, the care of your cat’s fur becomes very important. A cat’s coat helps them isolate themselves from the heat and protects their skin from sunburn. Although cats maintain a scrupulous grooming routine themselves, we can help them with frequent brushing. In this way we help them eliminate dead hair.

When trying to cool your cat down in summer, you can give it a bath. It is also sufficient to take a wet towel and brush the back of our cat’s neck to cool it down. The water will simulate the cat’s own saliva and the evaporation on its body will help keep it feeling fresh.

This may be of surprise to you, but did you know that some cats love water? If your cat is one of these cats that like water, offer it a small pool with a few centimeters of water, so that your cat covers only the lower part of the legs. They can play with the water and cool off as they please. Read cat breeds that like water.

Cat and heat tolerance: holidays and travelling in summer

It is important to consider how you move your cat in summer, even if you’re just taking it to the vet. You need to take some aspects into consideration, for example: traveling in the coolest hours of the day, like first in the morning, last in the afternoon or evening.

If the trip is long you should stop to offer your animal water and give it a chance to refresh. If you take your cat on vacation make sure you write down the telephone numbers of the veterinarians in the area, including those that offer emergency services. It is essential, also, that you never leave our cat alone in the car when the temperature is high, as it could die from a heat stroke. For more about travelling with a cat, we suggest taking a look at recommendation for travelling by car with a cat.

How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather - Cat and heat tolerance: holidays and travelling in summer

Cats in hot weather

How can you tell if your cat is hot? Well, some of the main signs of cats feeling hot include:

  • Heavy breathing.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Restlessness.
  • Lethargy.

If your cat is really hot and won’t drink, we recommend watching our video below where we offer 10 tips to help your cat drink water.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather, we recommend you visit our Basic care category.

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How to Keep an Indoor Cat Cool in Hot Weather