How hot is too hot for cats?
How to keep a cat cool and comfortable and what temperature is too hot for cats?
Cats tend to tolerate the hot weather much better than dogs. After all, we’re all used to the sight of our cats moving around to soak up the sun in the summer months. However, this doesn’t mean that cats can’t suffer during the hot weather and our feline friends can overheat just like the rest of us. So, if you’re worried about how to keep your cat cool and comfortable during the hot weather, find out all you need to know below.
Can cats handle hot weather?
Cats love sunbathing and, in general, can cope with hot weather better than dogs. However, that isn’t to say that the hot weather doesn’t pose a danger. Cats can easily suffer from hyperthermia (overheating) or heat stroke if they spend too much time in the sun.
How do cats cool off?
Cats are very smart about what they need to do to cool off in hot weather. Some of the ways that cats keep themselves cool are:
Finding cold surfaces
Tiled floors are a big favourite for cats in the summer. Cats will lie down on cold tiles and cement floors to cool themselves down in hot weather as the cold surfaces help to conduct heat from their bodies and lower their overall temperature.
Cats like to keep clean and will often groom themselves throughout the day to keep their coats tidy and to spread their natural skin oils. Cats will also groom themselves to cool down in hot weather. After licking their fur, the saliva then evaporates and will cool them down, in exactly the same way as it cools us down.
Drinking more water
We all get thirsty when the weather is hot, and it’s exactly the same for dogs and cats. The heat can very quickly dehydrate your cat, so it’s important that you always have water to hand so that they can have a drink.
Taking longer naps
Cats know that they need to save their energy when the weather is hot. When the weather is at its warmest, such as the middle of the day, you may find that your cat has snuck off to a cooler place to sleep. As the day gets cooler, cats are more likely to come out of hiding and become more active.
How can I make my cat comfortable in hot weather?
There are several ways that you can help keep your cat comfortable in hot weather, including:
- Putting ice cubes in their water bowl
- Grooming their excess fur
- Placing water bowls and beds in a shady place
- Wiping them with a wet cloth
White cats and those with either thin or no hair (for instance, Bengal, Abyssinian and Sphynx) may need sun cream when the weather is hot. Sun cream will help protect your cat’s skin and help prevent sun damage, much in the same way it does us. It’s important to use sun cream that isn’t made from zinc oxide, which can damage your cat’s red blood cells and cause them stomach pains if they eat it.
What temperature is too hot for cats?
Temperatures above 37°C are too hot for cats. Any hotter than this and your cat can start to run the risk of overheating.
How can I tell if my cat is hot?
Cats have a number of ways to tell us what they’re thinking. Whether it’s gentle purrs to say how happy they are or a pat with their paw to get your attention. When the weather is warm, you’ll be able to tell if your cat is too hot if they are panting, drooling or drinking a lot more water than usual. Panting and drooling are more commonly associated with dogs, but signs of these in cats can be a sign that they are really struggling with the heat.
Older cats and hot weather
Older cats can be more likely to struggle in the hot weather than younger cats. As such, older cats can be more susceptible to signs of heat stroke, so it’s important that if you do own a senior cat, that close attention is paid to them in the summer months and that steps are taken to cool them down if they are too hot.
What to do if you think your cat has heatstroke?
If you think that your cat may have heat stroke, then it’s important that they are taken to a vet as soon as possible.
The signs of heatstroke to look out for in your cat are:
- Temperature over 40°C
- Heavy Panting
- Fast heartbeat
- Dark red or gums or tongue
- Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
- Muscle tremors
- Dizziness and staggering
- Sweaty paws
Cats most at risk
Cats most at risk from hot weather are:
- Overweight cats
- Flat-faced breeds such as Persians or Himalayans
- Long-haired breeds such as Maine Coon or Ragdolls.
- Cats with existing respiratory or heart disease.
- Older cats