I always notice a large spike in my "heat stroke" article in the summer months, which tells me that many cats are affected by the heat. Below are some tips to keep your cat cool during the warmer months. Very young kittens, old cats, sick cats and the obese are at greater risk as they are less efficient at regulating their body temperature.
Cats do perspire, but only through their paw pads, which really isn't enough to cool them down a great deal.
- If he is outside only, make sure he has access to somewhere shady. Obviously, he should have access to plenty of cool, fresh drinking water. Place bowls in shady spots so the water doesn't get too hot.
- Fill a "hot water bottle" with cool tap water, and put some ice cubes in it, or place it in the freezer for half an hour (don't let the water freeze), remove, and put it under a blanket in your cat's bed.
- Alternatively, place towels in the freezer for a few hours, remove and place in your cat's bed.
- If you have an indoor/outdoor cat, try to keep him in between 10am - 2.00pm when it is the hottest.
- Place a few ice cubes into his water bowl. Replace often.
- If you know it is going to be a hot day and you will be at work, close the blinds in one or two rooms to keep the sun out. This will help the rooms to stay cooler.
- If you are out for the day, place a bowl in the kitchen sink and leave the tap dripping (slowly), so he has a constant supply of cool, fresh water. Water in a bowl can warm up quite quickly.
- Don't over exert your cat on warmer days, if you must play with him, do so either early morning or in the evening, when it has cooled down.
- Don't leave a cat in the car. It only takes a couple of minutes for the car to seriously overheat. If you are driving with your cat in the car, put the air conditioning in and if possible, use a window shield (the type used for babies and small children) on the rear windows.
- Fill an old plastic bottle with water and freeze overnight. Remove the next morning, wrap it in a towel and put it near your pet's favourite sleeping spot.
- On really hot days, consider leaving a ceiling fan or the air conditioning on.
- Let your cat sleep where he chooses, most likely this will be on a cool tiled floor.
- Long-haired cats may benefit from clipping, speak to your veterinarian or pet groomer about this.
- Be especially careful with pale coated cats who are much more prone to burning. This, in turn, can lead to squamous cell carcinoma. Put sunblock on the ears of pale cats and keep them indoors during the hottest part of the day.
Be alert for signs of heat stroke on hot days. This is a life-threatening condition which requires immediate veterinary care. Signs of heat stroke include:
- Bright red gums and tongue.
- Rapid panting.
- Muscle tremors.