Cats are sun worshippers that are happiest when they’re warm and cozy. Unfortunately, cats aren’t good at judging when their body temperatures are too high. Signs that a cat is too hot include panting, drooling, sweaty feet, and excessive grooming to cool the surface area of the body.
The average cat has a rectal temperature of 100OF. If your cat is hotter than 105OF, then she is overheating. Longhaired cats will have a higher body temperature than shorthaired due to the additional fur.
You need to recognize the signs that a cat is overheating. Failure to do so could put your cat’s life in jeopardy. We’ll look more closely at the warning signs of heatstroke in cats. If your cat is dehydrated, it’s absolutely crucial that you use these tips to get your cat to drink water right away.
Table of Contents:
- 1 Can Cats Handle Hot Weather?
- 1.1 What is a Safe Temperature for Cats Indoors?
- 1.2 How to Keep Indoor Cats Cool in Hot Weather
- 1.3 Should Cats Be Kept Indoors When it’s Hot Outside?
- 1.4 Can Cats Get Sunburn?
- 1.5 Do Cats Sweat?
- 1.6 Should I Bathe My Cat in Water if They Seem Too Hot?
- 1.7 How Do I Know if My Cat is Overheating?
- 1.8 What Should I Do if My Cat is Dehydrated?
- 1.9 Is a Dry Nose a Sign That My Cat is Too Hot?
Can Cats Handle Hot Weather?
By nature, cats are more comfortable in hot than cold weather. This is because the domestic housecat is descended from desert-dwelling wildcats.
However, it’s much easier for humans to cool off than it is for cats. Humans can remove a layer of clothing, but cats cannot remove their fur. Humans sweat to lower their body temperature, but cats sweat far less. Humans can reach for a cool, refreshing drink. Cats retain water well, and will not instinctively head to their bowl when hot.
It’s crucial that you moderate your cat’s temperature during the hottest months of the year. Your pet will be depending on you to keep them safe, in and out of the home. Overheating and dehydration can cause severe health problems for cats.
What is a Safe Temperature for Cats Indoors?
You will often be able to tell if your cat is too hot based on your own temperature. The average human has a body temperature of up to 99OF. WebMD lists the optimum temperature for a cat at 100OF. The average room temperature is slightly lower, usually maxing out at 77OF.
If you keep your cat’s body at 100OF, she will remain happy and healthy. Be careful about letting it get any warmer than this, though. It’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that a cat wants to be hot. In truth, overheating can make cats feel uncomfortable and become very sick.
How to Keep Indoor Cats Cool in Hot Weather
Cats will moderate their body temperature by grooming themselves. You may notice that your cat licks its fur more in hot weather. She isn’t just trying to stay clean. Her saliva has a natural cooling effect on its body temperature.
You should also take additional steps to keep your cat comfortable in hot conditions. Some of the things that you can do include:
- A steady supply of cool water. Ensure that her water bowl is regularly topped up. If you are worried that your cat doesn’t seem to be drinking enough, run a tap. You may find that she prefers to drink straight from the faucet.
- Offering your cat some iced treats. If your cat enjoys the taste of savory liquids, such as gravy, freeze them into ice cubes. She will enjoy playing with these, and will lick them to cool off. If you hide a cat treat in the middle, it will be even more fun for her.
- Purchasing a cooling mat. These are available from any reputable pet store. A cat that lies upon a cooling mat will drop its body temperature by around 7O
- Keeping the air conditioning on. If you are out all day, you may be tempted to switch off the A/C. This may save money, but it may also make your cat feel uncomfortable. Consider leaving it running on a lower setting than you would if you were home.
- Ensuring your cat has access to shaded areas. If you’re leaving your cat alone, give her the freedom of your home. Cats will instinctively find shaded regions of the house to cool off. Consider leaving your closet doors open as cats like to crawl inside such surroundings. Make sure that, wherever your cat goes, that she has an easy escape route. If a cat feels trapped, she may panic.
- Laying a wet towel by the window. A cat may not enjoy getting soaking wet, but she’ll take comfort from a wet towel. If you combine this with the breeze of an open window, your cat will feel much better.
- Elevating your cat’s bed. If your cat’s bed or basket is off the ground, cool air will circulate beneath it.
Should Cats Be Kept Indoors When it’s Hot Outside?
Many cats enjoy patrolling and wandering out of the house, no matter what the temperature. Ensure that your cat is not placing herself in danger by doing so during a heatwave.
If a weather warning about heat has been issued, keep your cat indoors. You should also check the temperature of the pavement outside.
Place the back of your hand on the ground for three seconds. If this is painful and burns, it’s too hot for your cat’s paws to cope with. If you have a backyard with plenty of grass, this will be safer.
Cats are not prone to heatstroke as they are not overly active in the sun. However, felines are natural-born sun worshippers. They attract Vitamin D through the sun’s rays, and trap it in their fur. However, cats are not reliant on Vitamin D from the sun to stay warm. They get this vitamin from their food/prey sources.
Keep an eye on your cat and limit her exposure to direct sunlight. Cats would bask in the sun outdoors for hours given half the chance. She will receive just as many benefits from sitting by a sunlit window though. This way, you can also switch on the air conditioning as a precaution.
Can Cats Get Sunburn?
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause sunburn in cats. Felines with white fur are most at risk. Shorthaired breeds are also more likely to be burned by the sun because they have less fur to protect their skin.
If your cat enjoys laying on her back, she risks burning her exposed underbelly. If this is a preferred hobby of your cat, you may wish to apply sunblock. An unscented brand designed for babies is recommended as this will be gentle on her skin. The SPF should never be lower than 15.
If your cat tolerates it, you could also try dressing her in a child’s T-shirt. This will provide a further layer of protection.
Do Cats Sweat?
Cats sweat through their paw pads. If your cat is warm, she may leave a trail of paw pads on the floor. Also, cats pant when they start to overheat. This should be treated as a warning sign in felines. If your pet is panting, take her out of the direct heat source.
Should I Bathe My Cat in Water if They Seem Too Hot?
Cats have a complicated relationship with water. They are averse to getting wet. They also bathe themselves using their tongues, and are clean by nature. This makes the idea of being placed in a bathtub rather odd to them.
If you are worried about your cat’s temperature, don’t just pour cool water over her. Do not fill a bath or paddling pool and drop her in. This will only frighten your cat, especially if she has had limited exposure to water. Your cat may also think that it is being punished, which will confuse her.
Despite this, it’s a fallacy that cats hate all forms of water. They actively enjoy running water. Have you ever seen your cat drinking from a dripping tap? This is because she enjoys the sensation on her tongue. Leave a tap gently running and allow some of the water to pool.
She will probably come to investigate, and may start to splash around. This can slowly and steadily teach her that water is not something to fear, and it can be fun.
How Do I Know if My Cat is Overheating?
A cat that is overheating will show several symptoms. These include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea
- Rapid pulse or heartbeat
- Struggling for breath
- Body temperature that exceeds 105O
- Trouble walking, including an uncharacteristically clumsy gait
- Loss of appetite
- Prominent redness around the mouth and tongue
None of these symptoms should be ignored. If you suspect that your cat is overheating, get her out of the direct heat source immediately. Cool your cat off using any of the techniques that we have discussed. If your pet still appears to be in distress, it may be dehydrated.
What Should I Do if My Cat is Dehydrated?
If your cat is showing any signs of dehydration, she should be seen by a vet immediately. This condition can be dangerous for cats, and she may need intravenous fluids.
Call your vet at the first sign of dehydration, following any advice they give you. It is highly likely that they will ask you to bring your cat for emergency treatment. However, a vet will be able to suggest some first aid remedies in the meantime.
Is a Dry Nose a Sign That My Cat is Too Hot?
We often associated a wet nose with a healthy and happy feline. If your cat’s nose is dry, this alone is not a cause to panic. It will vary between wet and dry multiple times per day.
If your cat’s nose is flaking, this is more reason for concern. It’s possible that your cat has a sunburn. Alternatively, she may have a skin condition or allergy.
Although cats are hardy and independent animals, they can be a little sensitive to heat. Learn your cat’s limits to sunlight and act accordingly.
Felines cannot always be trusted to make the right decision where warmth is concerned. If you are nervous, invest in a thermometer and monitor her body temperature.
The summer is a great time to be a cat. Most breeds will relish the sunlight, and grow even more sedate than usual. That, in itself, is nothing to worry about. If your cat is showing no signs of ill health, let her enjoy the warm climate.