It’s hard to imagine a cat sweating, isn’t it? Even in warm weather, cats appear more collected than other animals, such as the typical panting dog. If you do see a cat panting, that’s a sign of significant stress.
The truth is that cats do sweat, though primarily through the limited surface of their paws. Since they lack the ability to sweat effectively, cats have a tricky time staying cool and overheating is a common problem.
So, how can we keep our felines feeling fresh in the summer months? Fortunately, there are a variety of ways to help.
- Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate!
Convincing a cat to stay hydrated can be a challenge. Try placing multiple water dishes around the house, incorporating different designs. Many cats respond well to a water fountain they can drink from and play with at the same time. Replace the water regularly to keep it clean and appealing. Playful cats often appreciate an ice cube to bat around the house, or even placed in their water dish. You can also make a DIY cat popsicle by freezing some canned cat food or sodium-free chicken broth.
- Keep the environment cool.
It’s best to keep your cat inside on a hot day, but if you allow any supervised outdoor time, make sure there’s accessible shade. Cats, particularly lighter-colored ones, are susceptible to sunburns, so don’t forget some feline-friendly sunscreen.You can provide helpful devices such as self-cooling mats or elevated pet beds. Allowing circulation to flow underneath the bed makes a big difference in temperature.If your cat is inside, draw the curtains closed and keep the air conditioner, or a fan, running. If there’s a spot next to a screened, open window, your cat will likely gravitate to it. Tile floors and porcelain sinks are also favorite spots.
- Avoid stress.
Even on chilly days, a stressed cat can easily become an overheated one. Do your best to keep your cat’s day as relaxed as possible. If other pets in the household aggravate your cat, separate them. Similarly, if your cat becomes anxious when people visit, try to plan socializing for a different day.Avoid excessive playtime during the heat. Normally, exercise is a good thing, but it should be kept to a minimum during the summer. If your cat requires exercise, keep those activities reserved for first thing in the morning or at night.
- Groom your cat regularly.
You can keep your cat cooler by staying on top of grooming. Dead hair traps excess heat, so brush frequently. You can also run a wet towel over your cat’s body during especially warm days.You’ll probably notice your cat being extra meticulous about grooming during the hot weather, too. Licking the coat leaves saliva, and as saliva evaporates from the fur, your cat experiences a cooling sensation.
Watch for signs of overheating.
Above all, observe your cat, particularly if they are overweight or elderly. Overheating is a serious problem, but it’s easily fixed when caught early.
Signs of heatstroke include:
- Heavy panting
- Awkward movements
If you notice these symptoms, call your veterinarian for guidance