Cats have a high natural body temperature, so they are more comfortable in the heat. However, felines are still at risk of overheating, especially in the hottest days of the summer, so you must know how to keep them cool.
To keep cats cool in summer, you should always make sure they have access to fresh water. If your cat is indoors, keep them in an air-conditioned space or somewhere cool like the basement. If your cat is outdoors, make sure you provide shady spots on your property where they can relax.
Cats are quite good at self-regulating body temperature and will naturally seek shade if they become too hot. They are still at risk of overheating, dehydration, and sunburns, though, so make sure to follow the tips in this article to keep your kittie safe.
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Always Give Your Cat Clean Water
A huge contributing factor to overheating is dehydration. To battle this, you need to give your cat access to plenty of water. If your cat is indoors, ensure every single room in the house has a small bowl of water, just if they get trapped in a room when you’re not home.
Turn On the Air Conditioning
Many people try to conserve energy by only turning their air conditioning on when they are home. While this is all fine and dandy for your wallet, your at-home pets can suffer.
Keep the air conditioning on in the home throughout the day so that your animals are safe from overheating. The power doesn’t need to be on full-blast since cats have a higher body temperature than humans, but a little cooling goes a long way on a hot summer day.
Create Breezes Throughout Your Home
If you don’t have air conditioning, you can create artificial breezes throughout your home by strategically placing fans and opening windows. Many people will put a fan right in front of themselves so that they can feel the air moving. However, to effectively cool your home, do the following:
- Open windows on the north and east sides of your house.
- Place the fan(s) directly in front of these windows, facing the inside of the room.
- Open windows on the south and west sides of the house (keep curtains closed as much as possible).
- Place fan(s) directly in front of these windows, facing outside.
By doing this, the fans on the north and east sides will draw in cool air from the sides of the house that are in the shade, and the fans on the south and west sides will help draw this air through the house and push the interior hot air out.
Make Shade on Your Property
If you let your cat outside during the day, then ensure your property isn’t completely barren. A too-hot cat will naturally seek out a shady spot on its own, but if there aren’t any, then it won’t have anywhere to cool down.
You can mount an umbrella or plant some small trees around your property where your cat can hang out and cool off. If there are no natural water sources on your property, be sure to place a few bowls of water around the house. Fill them daily.
Say No to South-Facing Rooms
Many people restrict their cat’s access to their homes. If you do this, then make sure you don’t lock your cat in a south-facing room. These locations get the most sun, and in the summer, they can heat up rapidly. If you’re going to seclude your cat in a certain area of the house, be sure to pick a north or east-facing room or an always-cool location like a basement.
Freeze Some of Your Cat’s Treats
Just like popsicles cool down humans, frozen treats can cool down your cat. You can make your kitty-friendly cold treats by making popsicles with chicken broth, or you can place a few of their favorite treats or pinches of catnip in an ice cube tray, top it with water, and then freeze it. Your kitty will go crazy for the icy snack, and it will simultaneously cool them down.
Purchase a Cooling Mat
If you have a dog in your household, you may be used to spraying your dog with the hose to cool him down. Any cat owner will tell you that this would be a terrible thing to try with a cat. Instead, you can purchase your cat a cooling mat, as the Nacoco Pet Mat is made with cooling fibers. It will provide subtle yet effective cooling for your feline and a comfortable place to rest.
Brush Your Cat Often
Long-haired cats are at higher risk of overheating in the summer, as they have much more fur, which traps heat. Felines like the Norwegian Forest Cat adapted to their native regions by growing long, thick coats. They are not well-suited to survive hot North American summers.
To give your furry friend a better chance of keeping cool, you should brush her often. Brushing will help remove any excess fur during the summer months, much of which she’ll be shedding naturally. Regular grooming also limits the amount of fur you find around your home.
Keep Your Cat Inside at the Hottest Times of the Day
In the Northern hemisphere, the day’s hottest times occur between 3 pm and 4:30 pm, with the highest chance of sunburn occurring at noon.
If your cat is allowed outdoors, try and restrict her time outside before and after these extra-hot hours. Your cat will likely regulate her temperature during the other hours, but you can give her the best chance of avoiding sunstroke by keeping her out of it altogether.
Protect Your Cat’s Nose With Sunblock
If you are happy to send your kittie on her way for the day, then you can give her a small layer of protection with sunblock. You can find pet-specific sunblock like the Handy Hound SnoutScreen that is just as effective for cats. If you don’t have any of this, baby sunblock will work, too.
Cats with lighter fur and nose-colors are at higher risk of sunburn, increasing their chance of skin cancer. Apply sunblock cream with SPF 30 or higher to the following areas:
- Bridge and tip of their nose
- Backs of their ears
- Groin and inner legs
- Any spots with thin fur
Avoid Intense Play During Midday
Your pet needs exercise every day, and playing with your cat is a great way to get her moving. However, to minimize her risk of overheating and sunstroke, you should avoid playing with your cat during the hottest times of the day.
From 12 pm to 4 pm, your cat should be resting in a shady area with fresh, cool water nearby. Kittens and elderly cats are especially susceptible to heatstroke, and they should not do any intense activities during these hours.
Cats are sun-loving creatures that will seek out warmth wherever they go. The feline’s high body temperature causes this heat-seeking behavior, but it can also spell trouble for them during the summer. If you think your pet needs a little help staying cool, you can assist her in the following ways:
- Create shady resting spots.
- Give her access to plenty of cool, fresh water.
- Keep her calm and out of the sun from 12 pm to 4 pm.
- Buy her a cooling pad or water fountain.
- Groom her multiple times a week.
- Apply sunblock to sunburn-prone areas.
- Cat Health: Should You Get Your Cat a Water Fountain?
- Pet Wellbeing: Brrr: It’s Cold! Understand Your Cat’s Natural Body Temperature
- VetStreet: Norwegian Forest Cat Breed Information
- Sciencing: What is Solar Altitude?
- Blue Cross: Skin Cancer in Cats
Pam is a self-confessed cat lover and has experience of working with cats and owning cats for as long as she can remember. This website is where she gets to share her knowledge and interact with other cat lovers.