We are in the middle of a heat wave here in southern California. Fortunately, we have air conditioning and so far, no power outages. But it’s really put a cramp in my activities! I can’t go outside, not even to the back patio. My human had to cancel a therapy cat visit because the car would have been too hot for me after sitting in the parking lot for 90 minutes. And we have to take precautions inside too. Because even indoor cats can suffer heat exhaustion and heatstroke.
The thing about us cats is that we can handle hot weather better than many humans, but when the temperature really soars, our ability to cool off drops quickly. We pant and sweat through our paws, but it’s not very efficient when the temperature reaches triple digits. We can become dehydrated, suffer heat exhaustion and even heatstroke.
Most air conditioned houses will have some spots where the cool air doesn’t reach well. For us, that’s the turret, and the sunny, south-facing window in the living room. That sunny spot can be a danger zone, because it’s tempting to nap there, and it increases the risk of a cat overheating. Usually I am smart enough to stay away from the windows and sunny spots when the weather is too hot… but not always.
So even if you and your cats live in an air conditioned home, be prepared to take extra measures to keep your kitties cool. Here are some suggestions:
- Always have fresh, cool water for your cat, and preferably, a water fountain. Change the water more often when it’s hot. That’ll encourage your cat to drink more.
- Use fans and ice or water bottles to cool the hotter areas of the house, especially those spots that your cat favors.
- Keep a few mostly, but not totally, filled water bottles in the freezer. (Water expands when it freezes.) Wrap these bottles in a towel to stash in napping areas.
- Have a cooling mat on hand for hot weather. (I am an Amazon affiliate, so I’ve linked to some cooling mats at the end of this post.)
- Close all the curtains and blinds in your house to keep the heat from coming in.
- If your cat allows it, wipe down their fur with a damp towel, and wipe down their paws with cool water.
- Here’s a really important one — make sure you have an emergency vet you can reach. Right now, when veterinarians are in short supply, you may need to do some research to see which ones will accept last-minute emergencies. Sadly, clinics are so overbooked these days, they can’t always accept patients. So do some footwork to be prepared in this area. Because if you cat starts showing signs of overheating, it’s an emergency that requires immediate attention!
Here are some signs that your cat is in distress from the heat:
- Panting, or rapid breathing
- Sweaty paws
- Lethargy (or being anxious and restless)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Dark red tongue and gums
- Being dizzy
- Being disoriented
If your cat is suffering, do not delay. Get them to the vet immediately. Heatstroke is potentially deadly and treatment requires veterinary intervention.
I hope that when hot weather hits your home, you and your cats stay cool and comfy and that you find some of these suggestions helpful! If you have any more tips, please share them in the comments.
Other posts you’ll enjoy:
- The Most Important Part of Keeping Your Cat Safe During Fireworks
- Keeping Cats Safe in the Car – 7 Tips
- My Human and I Took a Cat First Aid Class on Zoom