Cats are very sensitive to temperature and according to a 2006 study by the National Research Council, the thermoneutral zone for a domestic cat is 30–38°C (NRC 2006). This is a lot warmer than humans generally find comfortable especially here in the Northern Hemisphere where summers tend to be mild with average daily temperatures ranging from 16°C – 18°C during the summer months June to August.
On the rare occasion we experience a prolonged period of high temperatures, cats are often quite comfortable and will even seek out ‘hot spots’ on window sills or in gardens to laze in the sun.
Unlike dogs, cats do not panic when their body temperature increases. Instead, they will seek a quiet cool area such as a hard floor in a shaded room and become very still and calm so as not to further increase their core temperature by over exerting themselves.
With the mercury consistently hitting over 30°C this past week, even our cool, calm and collected feline friends are feeling the heat. Here are some tips on how you can help keep your cat cool.
Cats don’t drink much as they get most of their fluids from their food but it is essential to provide a fresh water source for them both inside and out. If your cat is fed dry food then access to water is even more important as they won’t be getting any of that valuable moisture from their food. If your cat becomes dehydrated then it can lead to serious health issues so make sure to do the following to guard against this:
Cats generally don’t like getting wet so only use this technique if your cat will tolerate it. The warmest part of a cat’s body is their tummies, the pads of their paws, their armpits, under their chin and on the outside of their ears.
It is unlikely you’d need to travel with your cat in your car during hot spells but just in case you do here is some advice.
Medically known as hyperthermia, heatstroke is a life-threatening medical condition in which your cat’s internal organs (liver, kidneys, lungs, heart and brain) begin to shut down as a result of elevated body temperature caused by high temperatures and humidity.
Symptoms of heatstroke in cats can include:
If you notice any of the above symptoms call your vet immediately for advice.
The tips outlined above should help to prevent heatstroke but early warning signs are panting and licking. If you notice your cat doing this during hot weather, move them to a cool area immediately and implement the damp cloth technique to help them cool off. A fan can also help speed up the cooling off process.
In severe cases of heatstroke, the cat may already be unconscious or unable to move, if this is the case they need immediate medical attention.
Any cat can develop heatstroke however some are at greater risk:
Don’t let the warm weather stop you and your cat having fun, just be aware of their environment. If you looking for a neat solution for creating a quite area for your cat check out The Energy Pyramid Cat Home by Lovethybeast.