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Cat Health

Beating the Summer Heat: How Temperatures Affect Your Cat’s Health

how hot is too hot for cats

As temperatures rise, you might wonder if the family cat is comfortable or not. The cat always looks calm and collected.

In fact, cats are affected by the summer heat. They’re very tolerant animals, but they do have their physiological limits.

How hot is too hot for your cat? A confined room rising into the 100-degree range is cause for concern. Cooling the temperature down, offering water and opening up a window should be your immediate reactions.

Take a look at how your cat can beat the summer heat with only a few changes to their environment. Fluffy will be healthier as a result.

Cats and People Share Heat-Tolerance Levels

PetMD cautions cat lovers to pay attention to ambient temperatures at home. If you think it’s too warm, the cat probably agrees. Both humans and cats have about the same tolerance levels when it comes to heat.

When a cat sunbathes, it will move out of the light when it feels too hot. Cats cool down in a home with moderate temperatures. A home that’s confined and heating up during the summer poses a problem, however.

The cat may move out of the direct sunlight, but the house itself is still hot. They may not be able to cool off as needed. This scenario can lead to heat exhaustion.

Sweating Isn’t a Cat’s Greatest Cool-Down Mechanism

With all of that fur, cats look the part for cool-weather conditions. You might figure that they sweat under that coat, but felines only sweat through their foot pads. In most cases, this sweating strategy works well to keep the cat as cool as possible.

The sweat cools the foot pads, which translates to a cooler body above. A cat might lick the foot pads in order to facilitate even more cooling sensations also.

To help with a cat’s cooling mechanism, offer it a cooling mat on those particularly hot days. These mats are designed for both dogs and cats with an attractive blue hue.

Rising Temperatures Create Problems

When cat owners think of heat-related issues, felines who live mainly outside often come to mind. In some ways, outdoor cats have more options when it comes to hot days, remarks VetStreet. They can escape a hot area and seek out shade.

A cat that lives indoors can have problems when the temperatures rise, however. Every window and door might be closed. No fans are running.

Sunlight beats through the window. The house is getting hotter by the minute. It’s these conditions where a cat can start to feel heat exhaustion.

A home that has an 80-degree Fahrenheit temperature or higher with no cooling relief poses a threat to the family cat.

Air Circulation Plays a Role

Consider the difference between a closed room with a ceiling fan and the same space without air circulation. On a hot day, that fan makes the room a lot more comfortable for both humans and cats.

Your cat can probably tolerate 80- or 90-degree temperatures in that room when there’s a fan moving the air around. This wind chill cools the cat’s skin and fur.

Think about adding a cat tower to a room with a ceiling or floor fan. This tower might be several feet off of the ground, which brings the cat a bit closer to the moving air. It will appreciate the cooling sensation.

How Do Cats React When They’re Hot?

There are several reactions that are typical of cats as they feel the heat. An obvious reaction is panting. Similar to a dog, this panting strategy allows air to move across the palate and tongue in order to cool the cat.

You might notice more subtle reactions, such as sunken eyes, a fast heartbeat, drooling and overactive licking. If the cat reaches a cool area with these reactions, it may be able to relax with time.

A cat that continues to react in this manner needs some professional attention. It must have a chance to cool off or severe health problems might persist.

Checking the Cat for its Temperature

A precise way to verify if a cat is overheated or not involves a rectal thermometer. If the cat has a rectal temperature of 100 to 103 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s in the normal range.

A range of 103 to 104 degrees F. requires a vet’s care. Any temperature rising above these ranges is extremely serious.

Perform this temperature examination only if the cat is calm. An agitated animal might become injured if the thermometer is used. Take the cat to a vet if you cannot make a clear distinction on its health.

Certain Breeds are More Affected Than Others

Every cat breed has unique features. They will all try to cool off in the same manner because of their genetic makeup. However, some breeds are better at cooling off than others.

Cats with pointed snouts can pant with ease. Their jaws can open wide with ample surface area for evaporation. You may even see the tongue hanging out a bit.

Flat-faced cats, in contrast, cannot open their mouths as wide as other breeds. Their panting is less effective for cooling purposes. As a result, these cats will have more problems with cooling down than other pets.

When is it Time for a Veterinarian Visit?

It may be difficult to gauge when a trip to the vet is warranted. Observe the cat for its everyday behavior. Do the cat pounce and play like normal? Do you notice any lethargy attributed to its movements?

A cat that’s lethargic may need a vet’s assistance. Hill’s Pet Nutrition suggests a pinching test on the skin between the shoulder blades.

The skin and fur should relax into place after a gentle pinching. Skin that remains in a pinched shape, however, means that the cat is dehydrated.

It’s time for a vet visit in this case.

Cool off the Interior With Simple Alterations

Use common sense when it comes to cooling off the interior space. Close the blinds to the incoming sunlight. You might install darkening drapes to cool the space even further.

Give the cat access to tiled floors where it can lay out in relative comfort. Don’t forget to run the fans in the home.

A hot day can be manageable when you think of the space from a cat’s perspective. Hiding areas, such as under furniture, can be incredibly cool. A cat’s freedom to cool off on its own will reduce the chances of any heat-exhaustion issues.

Turn to Air-Conditioning Options

Aire Serv advises that air conditioning can be a viable choice to keep your cat cool during the spring and summer. There’s no need to break the bank with this appliance running either.

When the family is away, the AC unit can be set at 80 or 82 degrees. This temperature is certainly warm, but the cat can tolerate it. Your pet will be close to the floor where it’s cooler anyway.

Use a mixture of AC power and fans around the house if the temperatures are set to rise into the 90s or 100s, especially during the summer. The cat will be comfortable with both types of air circulation.

Keep up With a Full Bowl of Water

Cats don’t appreciate lukewarm water, reports Fox Valley Cat Clinic. Water temperatures above 80-degrees Fahrenheit will often go untouched.

Ideally, offer fresh water to the cat throughout the day. It doesn’t have to be ice cold, but a cool temperature must be achieved. The cool water only encourages the cat to drink more, which leads to hydration and less risk of heat exhaustion.

Consider a water dispenser if you’re at work or school most of the week. Place the dispenser in a shaded area within the home so that the water is always cool as it dribbles into the open reservoir.

Your cat is relatively self-sufficient, but it may make bad choices in a hothouse. Always be aware of the local temperatures.

Hot days can suddenly arise while you’re at work or school. By maintaining a cool house, every pet will be happier when the owners return home.

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