Cats and the Summer Heat
At Catastic, we are not always about selling cat odor eliminator. Sure its the main thing we do, but we also want to help out and offer up general cat care tips from time to time 🙂 You often hear it referred to as the “Dog Days of Summer” but cats are just as susceptible to heat stroke, heat exhaustion and exposure dangers.
The effects of hot and humid weather is something you typically don’t hear or read much about as most cats tend to be indoor dwellers. When its blazing hot outside like it is now, the heat can cause some stress for your kitty.
The first thing we need to look at is the physiology of a cat. Cats don’t have the ability to regulate temperature changes very well. Due to fur and body fat, as an owner, you need to keep a close eye on them. Once they start to experience too much heat, it may be too late. Remember they don’t have the ability to pant like dogs do as a heat regulation mechanism. The same can be said for water intake. Cats typically don’t drink large amounts of water to offset the heat like dogs do.
If you have a cat that spends most of its time outside or maybe a feral cat that you keep an eye on, its important to make sure they have some sort of well ventilated structure that provides respite from direct sunlight. Cats by nature will seek out a cool spot to hang out, but the more you can help the better.
So what are the signs of heat stress in a feline?
1) Reduced activity – If you notice a significant decrease in activity that does not seem to get better later in the afternoon or early evening, this may be a sign to check on your cat.
2) Excessive Grooming – Your cat may try and compensate for the heat by grooming him or herself more often in an attempt to create an evaporation effect.
3) Increased Hairballs – As a product of the extra grooming your cat is performing, you may notice more hairballs or hacking.
4) Changes in Stool – This can go either direction. If you notice diarrhea, constipation or softer stools that are not in normal range, this may indicate dehydration from the heat/humidity.
5) Loss of Appetite – When a cat stops eating, this is a big sign and needs immediate attention. The side effects of not eating can be extremely detrimental to your cats health. It ranges from increased heart and breathing rates all the way up to kidney failure.
So what can I do to help my cat during a heatwave?
1) Add some water to your cats food to increase the amount of hydration they are receiving.
2) If you have a canned version of their normal food, feed that instead of dry food
3) Increase the ventilation in your house. Try setting a fan on the floor or leaving your ceiling fans running.
4) Create a shaded spot for your cat to go to avoid the heat of direct sunlight.
5) Add an additional water source or two around your house so you are absolutely sure your cat has ample access to water.
When it comes to cats and the heat, err on the safe side. If you notice strange or unusual behavior from your kitty, don’t hesitate to call your vet or animal hospital. If in doubt call. It’s better to be a bit over cautious during the summer than end up with a critically ill cat.
Let us know if you have any other helpful tips or tricks for keeping your kitty cool during the summer 🙂