During the summer months, we spend a large portion of time doing everything that we can to ensure that our pets are comfortable. Whether out and about or at home, our minds are always on our pets’ wellbeing – it can drive us to distraction, really!
Whilst there’s a lot of advice out there about caring for dogs in the heat, there isn’t all that much about cats and their needs. So, here’s all you need to know about caring for you cat in the summer…
Cats sweat in two places – their paw pads and between their toes – which is the easiest way of telling whether they’re overheating.
Similar to dogs, cats cannot sweat through areas of skin that are covered by fur. Instead, they sweat predominantly from their feet, which doesn’t do all that much to cool them down.
In spite of not being particularly useful, it is a handy way of recognising that there is something wrong with them. This can range from stress and anxiety to overheating and overexertion.
During periods of hot weather, it is likely that the sweat is a result of the heat. Other signs that indicate your cat may be overheating include washing themselves more than usual, as well as panting excessively, lethargy and lack of coordination.
Consequently, cats have developed several strategies to keep cool in the heat. These include:
- Actively seeking shaded areas to settle
- Limiting the amount movement/exercise that they undertake
- Laying on large, cold areas, maximising the area if their body that is kept cool
Speaking of how the hot weather affects cats, Sam Watson from the RSPCA has said:
“Although cats usually like their environment to be a degree or two warmer than us, some of the hot temperatures we are experiencing at the moment will push them out of their comfort zone.
Therefore, it is very important that they have a range of places to spend time in the hot weather. They might choose to sunbathe, especially in the cooler parts of the day, but they will also want to find some cooler places to spend time.
Panting, restlessness, lots of grooming, red or purple gums, sweaty feet, lethargy, vomiting and staggering are among the signs that your cat is uncomfortable, and at risk of heat exhaustion. If you notice any of these, it’s very important to call your vet for advice.”
The charity has also provided some useful tips to help keep your cat cool in the hot weather:
- Create shady spots in the garden using cardboard boxes and umbrellas
- Put a fan on the floor on a low setting
- Freeze a bottle of water, wrap it in a towel and place next to your cat’s bed or favourite spot
- Provide your cat access to a ceramic or granite floor which will stay cool
- Use a cooling mat but make sure to supervise your pet
- Groom your cat to help them shed some of their fur
- Make sure paler cats have pet-safe sun cream when sunbathing in the garden
Remember, some cats are more vulnerable to heat stroke than others. Young kittens and elderly cats are particularly at risk, as well as overweight cats, who may find it more difficult to regulate their body temperatures.
If you are worried that your cat is suffering from heat stroke, we’d always advise seeking veterinary advice as soon as possibe.
Work full time and looking for regular pet care? Perhaps Tailster can help! We have a range of vetted carers across the UK, available to care for your pet as and when you require. For more information, click here.