Cats and The Heat - Protecting Against Overheating
Domestic cats are descended from desert dwellers and so are surprisingly good at adapting to the heat despite all of that fur. Indeed they tend to cope better with the heat than we do! But they can run into trouble and become distressed so it is wise to look out for signs that they are strugging on hotter days.
If your cat is suffering in the heat then you may observe the following symptoms:
- Heavy panting
- Bright pink or red gums
- Heavy breathing
- Restless behaviour
- Sweaty paws
- Excessive Grooming
There are some behaviours which may be disconcerting but which are entirely normal ways for your cat to cope with hot temperatures. These are not a cause for alarm but they do tell you that your cat is feeling hot and could benefit from a cool place to rest. You could see a drop in appetite as, like people, cats often eat less in hot weather. You might also find them sleeping in their litter tray as they will instinctively know that sandy substrate can keep them cool. They could also seek out new places to sit including your granite worktops as these are nice and cold!
How to help Your Cat
Never leave your cat locked in a car or a conservatory as these can get excessively hot very quickly and your cat will not be able to cope with this. Ensure that they have access to fresh water at all times.
Groom your cat regularly even if you don’t usually brush them. Getting rid of loose hairs will thin their coat and help them to remain cool. Give them access to cool surfaces like stone tiles and kitchen tops so that they can choose a cooler area to rest in when they need too. If they still show signs that they are struggling then switch on the air conditioning if you are lucky enough to have it or turn on any fans in the house.
Wet cat food will quickly go off on hotter days so don’t leave uneaten food lying around. Discard uneaten food as soon as your cat walks away from their dish and wash the dish immediately to ward off flies and harmful bacteria. Feed your cat little and often rather than larger meals.
Cats can and do suffer from sunburn to their ears. Apply sunscreen to their ears each morning but choose a variety which is free from lead oxide as this is harmful to cats if they ingest it when licking themselves.
Cats generally do just fine on hot days and are extremely adept at finding the
best places to rest. Your cat may go through its entire life without any problems but it is always worth keeping a closer eye on them during the hot weather. If you have any major concerns then take your cat to your vet for a quick check-up just in case.