Keep summer cats cool as temperatures rise

summer catsWhen the weather starts to heat up our cats not only feel hot and bothered, they run the risk of heat stroke that can be fatal. It’s vital to keep feline temperatures low during the balmy summer months.

There are a number of ways to ensure your summer cats enjoy the warmer weather as much as we do.

Ice treats

Who doesn’t like an ice lolly? It is so easy to make ones your moggies will love. Just freeze some tuna in spring water or some low-salt chicken stock and you will keep them cool and entertained. Watch the video to see how.

For our cats, ice cubes offer a world of fun. Put some on a hard floor and watch your cat pounce on them and push them around. Along with cooling their paws, it gives a cat lots to think about on those days when it’s too hot outside.

Cooling mats and ice packs in beds

You can help your summer cats by getting them a cooling mat. The majority of these pads are filled with a non-toxic gel. They work by being activated when your cat sits on the mat. The activated gel then starts cooling down your pet.

There is a huge range of cooling mats available to buy, but you will have a similar effect simply by putting freezer blocks, or even a pack of frozen vegetables, well wrapped in a blanket in your cat’s favourite spot.

Wet towel

The majority of summer cats are not keen on getting wet but a small towel that has been soaked in cold water can be dabbed over your cat’s fur. Alternatively, you can help your cat stay cool simply by stroking him or her with your wet hands.

Keep on top of your cat’s grooming

Too much fur on a cat can trap the heat. This is why regular grooming when the heatwaves arrive can help to rid of dead hair will make your cat feel a little more comfortable. To find out how our Otto & Alice Mobile Grooming Service can help please get in touch.

You may also spot that your pet is grooming more than normal. It is nothing to be concerned about – it’s a cat’s very own way of beating the heat because when the saliva evaporates off the fur, it cools them down.

Keep your cat safe

  • Fresh, cool water should always be kept in easy reach
  • When they lie outside in the sun cats can suffer sunburn, particularly if the animal is pale-coloured. Ears, noses and areas where the fur is sparse are especially susceptible. Use sunblock suitable for pets to make sure they don’t suffer
  • Provide plenty of shade
  • if you feel your cat’s skin looks crusty, scaly or sore, seek veterinary advice
  • Keep vigilant for signs your pet may be over-heating. If you see signs like heavy panting and loss of energy encourage your cat to drink some water
  • Watch for signs of heatstroke like your cat becoming agitated, breathing quickly, having skin that is hot to the touch, drooling or vomiting, and contact your vet immediately.
  • Do not let your cat shut in a hot room with no ventilation, like a greenhouse.

Do Cats Sweat?

Yes, cats sweat! Despite their image of being fluffy balls always sleeping cats do sweat, just not in the same way as we do.

When a cat sweats, it’s not through its armpits. Summer cats sweat through their paws. A cat’s paw pads have sweat glands whereas we have them all over our bodies.

You might have noticed when the weather is extremely hot that your cat leaves wet prints where they walk. When this happens it’s an indication that cat is uncomfortably hot and sweating profusely.

It may also be a sign the cat is suffering from intense anxiety or stress. When cats leave patches of wetness you can discount urination, it’s most likely sweat.

How hot?

You should be concerned if your cat has a temperature that is consistently above 39.33˚C (102.8˚F). Reluctance to move, increased frequency of breathing, anorexia, depression, and listlessness are signs of fever.

Fever is different from hyperthermia, which is just an increase in body temperature. Hyperthermia may be caused by things like hot weather, excitement, and overexercise. It should not be confused with fever.

If you think your cat may have a fever, rest the animal for 20 minutes, then check the cat’s rectal temperature.

Cool down hot summer cats

Cats sweat to regulate their body temperature. However, because they only have four small paws, the area may be insufficient to be efficient. If this is the case cats will seek out other methods to keep cool, like seeking out shady places in which to sleep.

It’s a smart move because lying down and sleeping means they expend less energy and there’s more likelihood their body temperature stays stable.

People who study cats believe the function of a cat’s paws is more than just for helping keep the cat’s body temperature down. It’s reckoned that cat paws also deposit pheromones as specific signals to communicate with other animals.

Summer Cats Panting

When you witness a cat panting, it is not normal. Cats only pant only when they are in pain,  extremely frightened or to signify a respiratory or metabolic problem.

The action is caused by the cat blowing out extra carbon dioxide to keep the acid-base of its body in balance.

Typically, healthy summer cats do not pant when it is hot. Only extremely heat-stressed cats tend to pant. When they do they enable the heat from the inner thorax – the hottest part of their bodies – to escape via moisture from the mucous membranes of their mouths, tongues, and throats.

By exhaling moist air the cat triggers a process of evaporation that is cooling. However, when your cat is panting, you can help by wetting the animal’s fur with cool water as well as making sure the cat has cool water to drink and is in a cool area.

Another method that you will probably see your cat employing to regulate temperature is grooming. It’s not that your cat is vain. Cats groom themselves by licking, and when their saliva evaporates it removes excess heat.

If you are going away in the summer months then to be sure your cat is safe and cool arrange visits from Cats, Dogs & Peace of Mind. We have been trusted to care for cats since 1999 and not what to do when we look after your beloved pets.   Get in touch to find out more or to make a booking.

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