Protecting Your Kitty from Summertime Heat
Knowing how to keep your cat cool – and how to spot the signs of overheating and dehydration – can help them safely enjoy the warmth.
Even in your home, cats can heat up quickly as temperatures rise. Ensuring your kitty is comfortable during the hotter months can help them avoid overheating and preserve their playfulness. From hydration to grooming to climate-controlled habitats, here are a few ways to keep your cat cool all summer long.
Certain cats and breeds struggle with heat more than others and will require closer attention and extra care. The breeds most vulnerable to heat are:
- Short-nosed or flat-faced breeds have difficulty panting, meaning they cool down less quickly than other breeds
- Long- or thick-haired breeds hold heat in longer and are more susceptible to overheating and dehydration than their short-haired friends
- Overweight cats stay hot longer before cooling off and require more water to stay hydrated, though this is less common in kittens
- Cats with health issues are more likely to get overheated and dehydrated, and could experience more serious health problems as a result
Signs of Overheating
It can be difficult to tell if your kitty is staying cool and hydrated unless you know what to look for. Some signs that your cat may be dehydrated include:
- Dry mouth
- Decreased skin elasticity
- Dry and/or sunken eyes
- Loss of appetite
- Elevated heart rate
- Constipation and/or infrequent urination
Left unchecked, dehydration can lead to heat stroke or other serious conditions. If you see any of the following symptoms in your cat, get them to your vet immediately.
- Heavy, continuous panting
- Exhaustion or collapse
- Unusual or uncontrolled drooling
How to Keep Your Kitty Cool
By following these simple tips, you can help your kitty stay cool as the weather heats up.
Provide Lots of Water
There’s no such thing as having too much water available for your cat. In addition to having their regular water dish, place more water dishes around the areas they frequent most to encourage regular drinking. You can also drop in a few ice cubes to make the water cooler and more drinkable.
If your cat doesn’t appear interested in drinking from a normal water dish, a pet water fountain may also inspire your cat to drink more often by providing a constant stream of water.
Moist food and treats can also help prevent dehydration. You can freeze small meals in ice cube trays to give your kitty a cool snack.
Keep Kittens Indoors
Kittens should always stay indoors during hot weather. If you need to bring your kitten outside for any reason, even if it’s for a car ride, make sure to keep the AC on and never leave them in the heat or direct sunlight.
Create a Kitty Oasis
Speaking of AC, cats that are kept indoors should always have a climate-controlled space to prevent overheating. If your cat seems hot even with the AC on, you can try freezing a bottle of water, wrapping it in a towel and leaving it in lounge areas to give your kitty a cool spot to relax.
Ceiling fans, box fans and pedestal fans are also great for improving air circulation around your home. If your space feels warm even with the AC on, run a fan in the places your cat spends their time during the hottest part of the day.
Perform Regular Grooming
Every cat needs frequent grooming to maintain a healthy coat – and prevent hairballs. Whether your kitty is a short-haired or long-haired breed, brushing them weekly helps keep their fluff at a minimum and reduces the chance of overheating.
For long-haired breeds especially, you might consider a trip to the groomers for a professional clipping, which can make a big difference in how they handle the heat.
Wipe with a Wet Cloth
Kittens release body heat from their paw pads, armpits, bellies, and around their chin and ear areas. This is why mama cats often groom or bathe their kittens to keep their litter cool.
While a bath works wonders to lower your kitten’s body temp, it may not be excited about bath time (like most cats). If this is the case with your kitten, try gently wiping down their hottest areas with a cool, damp cloth to add moisture to their fur.
Plan Your Playtime
Young cats are full of energy and always appreciate a good play session. But hotter temperatures can make playtime dangerous. To keep your fur baby cool and active, limit your interactive playtime to early mornings and evenings.
With these tips in mind, your kitty will be able to get their daily exercise – and stay healthy and cool in the process.