Do you worry about cats in hot weather? This might surprise you. Our fur helps keep us cool, even when the temperature soars. We have other ways of staying cool, too. Keep reading, and I’ll tell you what they are.
I’m so concerned about the outside cats in hot weather, Thomasina. How do they keep cool? It’s blazing hot today, and my outside cat refuses to come in. — Concerned Cat Mom
Hey, Concerned Cat Mom…
I don’t think you need to worry about your boy. Cats in hot weather are usually just fine. We know how to stay cool. And we’re homeotherms (We’re what??? The human typist strikes again, and I don’t like the sound of that!). Oh, I see. It means we’re able to adjust internal heat gain and loss so we can maintain a constant body temperature. Well, I knew that!
Believe it or not, the most important thing cats in hot weather have going for them is our fur. It provides insulation that keeps us warm in the winter and cool in the summer. It also helps us stay hydrated and protects us from sunburn. So if you’re thinking about shaving your cat, please don’t!
Cats In Hot Weather: How We Keep Our Cool
Here are some other ways cats keep cool in hot weather.
- We lick ourselves a lot. The saliva evaporating from our fur provides a cooling effect, similar to perspiration evaporating from your skin.
- We know where the cool places are and seek them out. Outside, we’ll nap under a big bush or hang out in the woods. Inside, cats keep cool by sleeping on a tile floor or even in the sink or bathtub. The cool surface draws heat from our bodies.
- We stretch out and may even lie on our backs because we’re cooler that way.
- We rest and sleep more. We know exertion can make us overheat when it’s very hot.
- We drink more. Staying hydrated will keep cats cool. I prefer to get drinks from the stream behind our condo, but your cat might appreciate an extra bowl of water or a fountain.
When Cats Lose Their Cool
This has never happened to me, thank goodness, but cats can overheat. We don’t cool down by panting the way dogs do. So if you see your cat panting, you’ll know he’s way too hot. Other signs of heatstroke include a fast heartbeat, dilated pupils, drooling, stumbling or staggering, lethargy and yowling.
If you suspect your cat has heatstroke, soak him with cool (not cold) water and get him to the vet as fast as you can.
Oh, and never, ever leave him confined in a carrier or car on a hot day.
Sorry, but I really have to go now. The temperature’s dropping and outdoors is beckoning. Muffitt and Belle are outside already, and they’re going to get the good spots under our big bush if I don’t get on my way. Hope this helps, Concerned Cat Mom, and keep cool!