Like most cat owners, you worry about your cat when the weather is hot and humid outside. Thankfully, there are some ways to cool your cat down. Here are a few tips. But does heat and humidity affect cats?
Heat and humidity affect cats by increasing their core temperature and putting them at risk for heatstroke. Cats will seek cooler places such as shade, cool tile floors, and countertops. Just like dogs, cats will pant to evaporate moisture from their lungs and cool themselves down.
Cats are undoubtedly one of the most adorable creatures on Earth. They are soft, cuddly, and have an undeniable cuteness factor. It’s no wonder that they are one of the most popular pets.
However, as the weather gets warmer, it’s important to remember that cats can be susceptible to heat and humidity.
Cats can overheat quickly, and their fur doesn’t provide much protection from the sun. Fortunately, there are some simple steps that we can take to keep our cats cool and comfortable during the summer months.
Does Heat and Humidity Affect Cats?
Heat and humidity can indeed have an effect on cats. When the weather is humid, cats will often seek out cooler places to lie down, such as ceramic tiles or marble countertops. They may also pant more frequently in an attempt to regulate their body temperature.
In extreme cases, heat and humidity can lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.
Cats with long fur may be particularly susceptible to heatstroke, as their coat traps heat and prevents proper airflow.
To help keep your cat cool during periods of warm weather, make sure they have access to shade and plenty of fresh water.
You might also consider trimming their fur to help them better regulate their body temperature.
Do Cats Pant When Hot?
Cats pant when hot for the same reason that dogs pant: to evaporate moisture from their lungs and cool themselves down. When a cat pants, you’ll see its chest and abdomen expand as it takes deep, rapid breaths.
The evaporation of moisture from the moist lining of the lungs helps to cool blood that circulates through the lungs, and this cooler blood then helps to lower the cat’s body temperature.
Panting is an effective way for cats to cool down, but it’s not the only way.
Cats also have sweat glands in their paw pads that help to regulate their body temperature.
So, if you see your cat panting on a hot day, it’s likely feeling the heat and is trying to stay cool.
Indoor Cats and Hot Weather
When temperatures outdoors rise, pet parents often worry about their furry friend’s safety. There are a number of ways to keep indoor cats cool and comfortable during warm weather. Have cold water sitting out for your cat that is always available.
Set out multiple bowls of clean water in different locations around your home, and consider adding a small fountain to encourage your cat to drink more.
You should also take steps to keep your home cool, such as closing the blinds during the day and using fans or an air conditioner.
Additionally, create hiding spots for your cat by placing boxes or blankets in cool, shady areas.
Provide your cat with some type of frozen treat, such as a small amount of canned tuna placed in an ice cube tray.
By following these simple tips, you can help your indoor cat stay safe and comfortable during hotter, more humid climates.
Outdoor Cats and Hot Weather
Outdoor cats are at risk during hot weather. Hot weather can cause dehydration, heatstroke, and sunburn in cats. Dehydration is the most common problem and can be caused by not drinking enough water or by losing too much fluid through vomiting or diarrhea.
Heatstroke is a more serious condition that occurs when a cat’s body temperature becomes too high.
Symptoms include panting, drooling, rapid heartbeat, and collapse.
If you think your cat has heatstroke, cool them down gradually with cool (not cold) water and take them to the vet immediately.
Sunburn can also be a problem for outdoor cats, especially those with white or light-colored fur.
Older Cats and Hot Weather
Cats are resilient animals and can generally take care of themselves. However, as they age their ability to regulate their body temperature and keep themselves hydrated starts to decline. As a result, older cats are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses during hot weather.
To keep your senior cat safe during hotter months, provide them with plenty of fresh water and a cool, shady place to rest.
Avoid taking them outside during the hottest hours of the day, and never leave them in a parked car.
If your cat is panting or seems lethargic, it may be a sign of heatstroke.
In this case, immediately move them to a cool location and reach out to your emergency veterinary contact.
Signs of Heatstroke in Cats
Heatstroke is a serious condition that can occur when a cat’s body temperature gets too high. Cats are especially susceptible to heatstroke because they do not sweat and their fur coats insulate them from cooling down.
Signs of heatstroke in cats include:
- Excessive panting
- Increased heart rate
If you think your cat may be suffering from heatstroke, it is important to lower its body temperature immediately.
This can be done by moving the cat to a cool environment and applying cool (not cold) water to its body.
If you are unable to lower the body temperature on your own, take your cat to the vet immediately. Heatstroke can be fatal if it is not treated promptly.
How to Keep a Cat Cool
Cats are susceptible to heatstroke and therefore it is important to know how to keep a cat cool. The first step is to provide shade for your cat if they are outdoors.
If possible, bring them indoors where it is cooler. Indoors, provide fans and air conditioning for your cat’s comfort.
Wet towels placed on the floor or in their favorite resting spots will also help keep them cool.
You can place cubes in their water bowl or make homemade popsicles with water and kitten-safe flavors.
Be sure to offer plenty of water and avoid overfeeding as both can contribute to heatstroke. Experiment to see what works best for your cat for a safe and pleasant summer.
As the weather gets hotter and more humid, it’s important to be aware of the dangers of extreme heat and humidity for your cat. If possible, keep your cat indoors in a cool, air-conditioned room.
Provide them with plenty of fresh cool water, and if possible, put a fan in their room to help circulate the air. Make sure that they have access to shady areas both indoors and outdoors.
By taking some simple precautions, you can help ensure that your cat stays cool and comfortable all summer long.
Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC
About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.