A cat that becomes overheated in summer can suffer from dehydration, heatstroke, and shock. Unlike people, cats don't sweat and therefore it can be a struggle for them to keep cool when summer temperatures start to climb. But there are several things that you can do to help your cat cool down in the summer so that he or she will be healthy and happy.
If a cat is unhappy in the heat, they may exhibit the following signs:
- Heavy panting
- Their tongue and gums may be bright pink or red
- They may start drooling
- They may lie down more often than usual and breathe heavily
- They may vomit
- They may be restless and constantly be trying to find somewhere cooler
- They may have sweaty paws
- They may excessively groom to try and cool off
- They may stumble and seem disorientated
- Ensure they have access to plenty of fresh water. Provide multiple drinking bowls with a large surface area (such as dinner plates or dog bowls). Wider bowls encourage the cat to drink because cat do not like their whiskers to touch the sides of the bowl. Make sure that you replace the water at least once a day and keep it topped up at all times.
- Brush them regularly – Matted fur traps heat; ensuring that the fur is not matted and allows air to flow through it will help to keep your cat cool.
- Let your cat choose a cool spot. Cats love to curl up in the bathtub or sink because porcelain stays cool even when it is hot outside. Because they are often cooler, cats sometimes prefer tiled areas of the house, such as the bathroom, laundry room, and kitchen. If your cat chooses a spot and seems comfortable, let her be.
- Even if your cat likes to spend time outside, it is recommended to keep your cat inside during the hottest part of summer days, which is between 10am and 4pm.
- Allow your cat to be sedentary on hot days. Now is not the time to play energetic games with the cat. Chasing after a laser pointer or a wing-on-a-string is definitely out. Instead, encourage the cat to rest and take it easy. Muscular activity generates heat, which the cat doesn't not need on top of the already hot conditions.
- If you have an outdoor cat, make sure that you check any outdoor buildings and greenhouses before closing the doors. The building could become very hot and your cat could die as a result if he or she were to be locked inside.
- Avoid shaving your cat to the skin as this will expose your cat to the sun and can result in sunburn and risks skin cancer. However, if the coat is severely matted or tangled, it forms a shell over the cat's body. This shell means the coat doesn't work how it is meant to and so getting a professional to shave the coat is the best idea.