Cool cats: How to regulate your cat’s temperature in the summer
During the summer, cats face the risk of overheating. With Britain in the midst of a heatwave and temperatures soaring above 30 degrees, it’s vital as cat owners that you try to keep your cats as cool as possible.
Although your cat probably loves to sunbathe, it’s important to be responsible for their health in these hotter months. Petplan takes a look at how to keep your cats cool this summer, and what signs to look out for if your cat is suffering from heatstroke…
How to keep your cat cool
It’s important that during the summer you take measures to ensure your cat stays as cool as possible:
- Water – refill your cat’s water bowl with plenty of cold water, and do this at regular intervals to encourage them to drink more often. You can also encourage them to keep themselves hydrated by placing multiple water bowls around the house for ease of access! Putting ice cubes in water bowls ensures that the water stays colder for longer
- Shade – make sure there is a cool spot for your cat to retreat to in the summer, whether it’s in the garden or the home. Keep blinds and curtains closed to keep the indoor temperature cooler. It is advised to keep your cat indoors between 10am – 3pm on particularly hot days as that’s when the sun is most fierce
- Grooming – brushing your cat’s fur will make them feel a lot more comfortable in the heat, as air can flow through their coat instead of remaining trapped and causing overheating. When grooming your cat, you can also take a damp cloth and stroke their fur, replicating their own grooming method of licking their coat to cool themselves down. If your cat has long fur, perhaps consider a professional clipping
- Cool air – invest in a fan which will benefit both you and your cat to keep the air circulation flowing and to create a breeze which will cool your cat down
- Hot paws – be observant of your cat’s feet as this is where a cat’s sweat glands are. If your cat’s paws are sweating or feel particularly hot. Offer them some water or moisten your hands and stroke their bodies, but don’t soak them as most cats do not like being wet.
How your cat will keep themselves cool
When the weather is warmer, you might notice your cat behaving differently. However, don’t worry, most of these behaviours are simply to help them cool down. You might notice:
- More sleep – cats are known for their sleepiness and need around 16 hours of sleep a day. During hotter days, cats will nap for longer to conserve energy and avoid overheating
- Mouth breathing – some cats will breathe through their mouths if they’re hot to take in cooler air. However if this persists in the cooler evening, it can indicate a heart issue and should be checked out by your vet
- More grooming – as mentioned, cats lick themselves when hot so you may notice an increase in grooming. This is your cat’s natural way of cooling down, just like how we sweat
Symptoms of heatstroke
Heatstroke is very rare in cats in the UK. However, older patients can become more affected by persistent hot weather, as they are more vulnerable to dehydration. Small changes to your cat’s behaviour like those mentioned above are not cause for concern, however it is evidence that heat is causing your cat some distress.
You should keep a close eye on these changes and be aware of any other restless behaviour in your cat, specifically looking out for the following signs of heatstroke:
- Lethargy or collapsing
- Sweaty feet
- Heavy panting and a rapid pulse
- Staggered gait
If you notice any of the above, or you’re worried about your cat’s health in the heat, seek veterinary attention. For immediate care, take your cat to a cool place, soak their fur with cold water cloth and give them plenty of water.