Heatwave advice for cat owners

A cat lying in some shade

Much like us, our cats can be affected by the weather. Without proper care during the warmer months, cats can suffer from dehydration, heat exhaustion, and heatstroke, all of which can be life-threatening. 

Here’s how to keep your cat safe and healthy during hot weather… 

Top 10 tips for keeping your cat safe during a heatwave

1 - Keep your cat indoors: The safest place for your cat to be during those hotter days is inside your home, where you can control the temperature and keep them cool.

2 - Provide fresh water: Ensure your cat has access to a constant supply of cool, fresh water. You could add ice cubes to their bowl to keep it cool longer or look at buying a cat water fountain to keep them interested in drinking. 

3 - Create cool spaces: Use fans, cool mats, wet towels, and curtains to provide a cool, shaded area where your cat can retreat to and relax in. 

4 - Avoid car travel: Never leave your cat in a parked car, even for a short period, as temperatures can soar quickly. If you need to travel with your cat, make sure the air conditioning is on or the windows are open. 

5 - Groom your cat regularly: Brushing your cat frequently will remove any excess fur, which can help with cooling.

6 - Offer wet food: Wet cat food has a higher moisture content than dry cat kibble, keeping them hydrated. 

7 - Fun with ice: Your cat might enjoy playing with ice, helping them keep their paws and noses cool. You could even try making your own icy treats.

8 - Limit their activity: Try and encourage your cat to rest during the hottest parts of the day, saving playtime for cooler mornings and evenings.

9 - Watch out for symptoms: Keep your eyes peeled for signs of overheating, and act quickly if you notice any worrying changes. 

10 - Speak to your vet: If your cat has any pre-existing health conditions, discuss any additional precautions you should take during a heatwave with your vet. 

Signs of heatstroke in cats

Since cats have a very limited ability to sweat, they’re less efficient at cooling themselves, making them more susceptible to overheating. Knowing the signs of heatstroke in cats will help you seek help when it’s needed. 

Symptoms that suggest your cat is suffering from a heat-related illness include:

  • Panting.
  • Restlessness.
  • Drooling.
  • Red or pale gums.
  • Rapid heartbeat.
  • Vomiting.
  • Lethargy or weakness.
  • Confusion or disorientation.

What to do if you think your cat is suffering from heatstroke

If you suspect your cat is suffering from heatstroke, or another heat-related illness, you should seek veterinary help immediately. Here are the other steps you can follow to try and regulate your cat’s body temperature before you take your cat to the vet:

Move your cat to a cool area: Quickly take your cat to a shaded spot, preferably with a fan or cool breeze. You could place them on a damp towel to help them regulate their body temperature. 

Use water: Spray cool water on the cat’s fur or use a damp cloth to moisten their fur, making sure you wet their head, neck, and paws. Remember to avoid using ice-cold water, as it can cause shock. 

Keep them cool: When transporting your cat, make sure the air conditioning is on or open the windows to let in a cool breeze.

Even if your cat seems to recover, take your cat to the vet once their condition is stabilised. Heatstroke can cause internal damage that may not be immediately obvious. 

When is the weather too hot for cats?

While cats have ways of conserving energy when it’s hot, temperatures above 29°C can start to pose risks to our feline friends. Since our cats rely on sweating through their paw pads and cool themselves by grooming, these methods might not be enough in a heatwave. 

Cats particularly vulnerable to the heat include:

  • Kittens and elderly cats.
  • Cats with health issues (like heart or lung disease).
  • Long-haired breeds.
  • Obese cats.
  • Brachycephalic (flat-faced) cats.

By following these steps, you can help your cat stay cool, comfortable, and safe during hot weather. Let us know how you keep your cat happy and healthy in the summer months on our Facebook or Instagram page. 

For even more advice about keeping your cat happy and healthy this summer, have a chat with the vet experts over at Joii Pet Care!

Looking for more cat advice?

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