Now that it’s warming up outside, your kitty is going to be extra active – chasing lizards, stalking the squirrels, and wrestling with the neighbor’s cats (hopefully not too much). You will notice though, that when your cat becomes exhausted or overheated, it will seek out shade or other cool places to rest. Cats are generally pretty good at regulating their own body temperature in different ways, but there is a risk of them overheating or even getting heatstroke. So, helping them out can only be a good thing.
How cats stay cool
The most obvious way we’ve already mentioned – your cat physically escaping the heat. If they’re outdoor cats, you’ll notice them seeking shade under decks, chairs, or even trees with thick foliage. If there’s a place where the concrete around your house stays cooler, you’ll probably notice them laying there too.
We might think our cats are getting lazy, but really they’re just trying to conserve their energy. They will become less active and take longer naps in the hot weather. What’s more is they will actually choose the hotter parts of the day to become reclusive. You might notice your cat going off to be alone or to sleep midday, while becoming more active and engaging in the early evening and morning times.
You might notice your cat asking for more water than usual. Some people might be under the misconception that cats are “desert animals” and can sustain for long periods of time without a lot of water. But this is just false. Sure, some breeds are better are retaining water than others, but domesticated cat breeds are largely indoor and have adapted to having readily available water. Be sure to have clean, cool water available when your cat needs it.
You may think that your cat is licking itself incessantly to rid its coat of any loose fur to let its skin have more ventilation. But actually, it is benefiting from the extra moisture in its fur. When humans sweat, the moisture evaporates from our skin, creating a cooling sensation. This helps us regulate our internal temperature. Cats do not have the ability to sweat, so they use their saliva instead.
Being Fluffy is Fine
As we just mentioned, ridding itself of excess fur is not a priority for cats. Unlike when we put a sweater on to trap our body heat in, a cat’s coat helps keep the heat from the sun out. It’s almost like they have a million tiny umbrellas built into their skin.
Having said that, if the temperature changes wildly from cold to hot outside, your cat’s fur may be a little overbearing for it. Normally, as temperatures shift from winter to spring, your cats’ undercoat will shed, but this takes a few weeks. Drastic spikes in the temperature don’t allow for enough time for your cat to properly shed its winter coat. Help it out a little be sure to regularly brush and help they undercoat thin itself a bit.
How we can help our cats stay cool
- Create a cool shaded place
- Provide cool clean water
- Groom them more regularly
- Give them ice cubes in their water or separately to play with
- Buy your cat cooling mat (wrapping an oversized ice pack in a towel is great)
- Cats like popsicles too! (keep it simple though – homemade with no sugar or additives, plain water or milk works)