How To Keep Your Cat Cool in Hot Weather

Persian Cat Sink
Milo went through a spell of sitting in the sink, his way of keeping cool I guess!

How hot does it get where you live? If you are like me and live in the Eastern Mojave Desert in Arizona, the one thing that will keep your feline friend cool is for them to stay inside with the air conditioner running.

It is pretty much a given that in the desert most of us have some sort of cooling device. With air conditioning, you can guarantee a cool house and a cool cat. If you use an evaporative cooler, swamp cooler, or water cooler as they are sometimes called, you may need to do a little extra to keep your kitty cool. There are also places that usually don’t get as hot through most of the summer. People who live in these areas don’t usually use a cooling device. So, if you need to keep your kitty cool no matter the situation what are the best ways to do that?

10 Hot Weather Tips For Keeping Your Cat Cool

Cats love the sunshine. They love to curl up and sleep in sunny spots inside and out. However, there are times that it’s just too hot to enjoy that sunlight.

Here are some tips to help keep your furry feline cool:

1. Water

Make sure there is plenty of fresh water available. Replace the water several times a day. This is will encourage your cat to drink more. Another idea is to place multiple bowls around the house, on a patio, or garden so that your cat has access to water no matter where she might roam. Water fountains are also a good solution, I recently reviewed the best water fountains.

2. Shade

Cats are known to enjoy a sunny spot to nap in and then moving when they get too hot. Make sure there are several shady spots around the house and garden for them to cool off in. Many kitties love the bathroom as a cool place to sleep. Ceramic tiles and porcelain stay cool and your cat will likely gravitate to that spot.

3. Air circulation

Open windows allow a breeze to cool the area. To help the breeze flow throughout the house you can get a fan and set it near the open window. Your kitty will appreciate the moving air. If you don’t have air conditioning, you can try putting a frozen water bottle in front of the fan. The air blowing across the icy bottle will be cooler

You can also raise your cat’s bed. Use something that will allow the air flow to blow beneath the bed, keeping your kitty cool.

4. Grooming

Brush your cat often. A kitty with an untangled, unmatted coat will be a cooler kitty. If your cat is long-haired, you might consider having them professionally clipped, perhaps a lion cut as they call them where your kitty is left with some long fur around their neck, the end of their tails, and a bit on their legs/feet.

Keep in mind that your light-colored or white cats have pale skin and can sunburn. You may want to talk to your veterinarian or even your groomer about whether your white or light-colored kitty would benefit from a short cut. You can also opt for a tummy clip only, this will keep your pale kitty cool, but with less danger of sunburn.

Another option for you kitties, especially long-haired is to wipe your cat down with a damp washcloth or paper towel. Once your cat discovers that a wipe down keeps them cool, they will enjoy having a wipe down. This is one of the ways cats cool themselves, they groom, wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.

5. Ice

If you’re going to be away all day drop a few ice cubes into your cat’s water bowl before you head out.

You can also fill a small drink bottle with cold water and leave it in the freezer overnight. Before you leave for the day, wrap the bottle in a towel and put it in your cat’s favorite spot. Hint: Don’t fill the bottle to the top, water expands as it freezes and may pop the bottle open.

6. Keep outdoors cats indoors

If you have a cat that stays outside most of the time you will want to bring them in to keep them cool. That is if they will allow you to bring them in and keep them in. Sometimes that can be impossible.

7. Create a retreat

Cats are clever when it comes to comfort and they will seek out places such as the bath or sink because these stay cool even when the weather is hot outside. You can also create a cool and darkened indoor retreat for them to sleep in and feel safe. This may be best if you have an outside cat that you’ve brought in to keep cool. Place a cardboard box on its side and position it somewhere cool and quiet in the house, behind a chair or on a cool surface like a wooden floor. Put down a breathable natural fabric such as a cotton towel or similar.

8. Keep your cat calm

An active cat that runs around on a hot day can become exhausted and dehydrated. Help your cat to relax when outside temperatures are hot. I know many of you reading this with cats are probably saying, yeah right, but if it’s possible give it a try. Cats are usually smart enough to know they shouldn’t race through the house or across the yard so it shouldn’t be too hard to get them to curl up somewhere and sleep the hottest part of the day away.

9. Cooling mats and ice packs in beds

There is a wide range of cooling mats for pets available for sale. This seems to be a good one here. Place freezer blocks, pads, or even a pack of frozen vegetables, wrapped in a blanket and placed in your cat’s favorite spot will have a similar effect.

10. Safety

When outside working in the garden check any shed or greenhouses to make sure your cat hasn’t made its way inside. When hot they will be on the lookout for shady spots, sheds and greenhouses are perfect places for cats to seek shade, especially when their owner is working outside. If your cat gets trapped in one of these places they could dehydrate.  

Same with your car. If you leave your windows open to let the car cool off be sure to check and make sure your cat hasn’t found a place to curl up and sleep. Make sure to check under the seats.

One of the best ways to ensure you won’t be separated from your furry feline is to have them microchipped so that if they do end up locked in someone else’s shed or wanders off, you can both be reunited as quickly as possible.

What Can Happen If Your Cat Gets Too Hot?

Heatstroke

Symptoms of heatstroke are excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting, collapse, and unconsciousness. If you are worried about your cat or suspect they are suffering from heatstroke, call your vet immediately.

Hyperthermia

Not to be confused with hypothermia, which is from severe cold.

Hyperthermia means high temperature and it occurs when a cat is no longer able to self-regulate their body temperature at a normal level. This can happen when they are exposed to high temperatures such as in a conservatory, greenhouse, a car, or when they’ve exerted themselves during severe hot weather. Hyperthermia can also be caused by an adverse reaction to drugs, poisons or some medical conditions.

What Causes Fever in Cats?

Fever’s cause a cat’s temperature to increase to fight off infection or a response to inflammation.

Normally it’s difficult to tell the two apart.

Hyperthermia or heatstroke in cats requires urgent veterinary treatment.

Please call your vet immediately if you suspect your cat has Heatstroke or Hyperthermia.

Symptoms your cat has a high temperature:

  • Restlessness
  • Cat panting (cats never pant so this is a serious sign)
  • Constant grooming
  • Red or purple gums
  • Sweaty feet
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering

Generally, the most common cause of fever in cats is from infections, often from cuts they sustained battling with other cats. It’s important cats maintain a steady body temperature. If their temperature becomes too high and stays high for too long, it can lead to organ failure and may be fatal.

How To Treat Hyperthermia Or Heatstroke In Cats?

It is vital that you take your cat to the vet if you suspect hyperthermia or heatstroke in your cat. Time is of importance. Your cat needs to be cooled down.

Signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Take him to a cool spot
  • Wet them down with cool water (not ice cold though)
  • Give him access to drinking water
  • Check rectal temperature if you can. Anything above 103F (39.4C) is dangerous. A temperature about 105F (40.5C) is life-threatening.

How Does a Veterinarian Treat Hyperthermia Or Heatstroke In Cats?

A vet will examine your cat and decide on the best treatment options.

These may include starting them on intravenous fluids, active cooling with a fan or cool water, and may prescribe drugs to calm them down.

Final Thoughts

If you follow the tips within this article you should be able to manage your cat’s temperature in the warm weather and keep your cat cool.

I hope you found this article useful and used some of the tips to help keep your cat cool. If you have any tips or useful information please leave a comment below.

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