Cats are natural warmth-seekers, often choosing to lounge in front of the fireplace, draped across a sunny windowsill, or perched atop a cozy heating pad or a warm lap. Given their inclination to dominate the coziest places within your home, it’s easy to overlook the fact that cats can become overheated during hot weather.
Since cats only sweat through their paws, they can’t cool themselves off quickly when they become overheated. And while cats are generally good at managing their body temperature by locating cool, shady spots to relax, their options may be limited during extreme heatwaves.
Here are some simple tips to help you keep your cat cool and comfortable in the summer heat.
Make sure fresh water is readily available
Staying hydrated is essential during hot weather. Make sure your cat’s water bowl is always topped up since they may be drinking more than usual. Place the bowl in a shady spot, so the water remains cool and refreshing for your kitty!
Create a shady spot
Cats will seek refuge in the shade when they become overheated, but only if they can find such a place. Make sure there’s a comfortable, shady space in your home where your cat feels safe. If your cat typically seeks out elevated resting places such as a cat tree or the back of your couch, make sure that such a space exists in a cool, shady area. You may have to rearrange your furniture a little to accommodate your cat’s needs.
Use A/C or fans for climate control
It’s common to turn off your air conditioning to save costs when you’re not home to use it, but don’t overlook your cat’s needs. If your house is excessively warm, your cat may need the A/C to keep it within a safe temperature range. Consider leaving it running for your kitty’s sake.
Alternatively, set up a pedestal fan in the area where your cat prefers to relax. They will appreciate the cool air circulation.
Close the curtains
Closing the curtains or blinds during the day will help reduce your home's temperature, providing relief for you and your cat. In some cases, closing the blinds in one half of the room may create enough shade for your cat to relax comfortably without entirely blocking out the warmth of summer. Figure out where your cat prefers to lounge during hot weather and adjust the blinds to help them stay comfortable.
Stay on top of grooming
Removing excess fur and mats will help your cat remain cool and comfortable during a heatwave. Cats will sometimes use self-grooming as a cooling-off strategy, as the saliva on their fur creates an evaporation effect that provides relief from the heat. You can aid them by gently wiping their coat with a cool, damp cloth.
The Bottom Line
Cats are typically very heat-tolerant and good at finding cool places to relax, but these tips will help ensure that your cat is comfortable during any heatwave. Keep in mind that overweight cats, long-haired breeds, and brachycephalic breeds such as Persian and Exotic Shorthair cats may have a harder time keeping themselves cool during hot weather.
Always be mindful of your cat’s comfort and if your cat exhibits any signs of heatstroke, such as labored breathing or a rapid pulse, contact your veterinarian for assistance.