Beat the Heat!

Author: Emily Burt, Nursing Team

June 24, 2011


As the weather warms up in the summer months, we often get calls from clients concerned about protecting their feline friends from the heat. After all, how comfortable could it be to wander around in hot weather with a fur coat on? Here are some tips for how you can keep your cat cool during the summer.

Always be sure they have cool, freshwater available. Of course, this is true all year long, but it is especially important during warmer times. Check the water dish frequently to ensure that it is full and cool.

Never leave your cat in a parked car. Again, this is good advice year-round, but critical in hot weather. The temperature inside a parked car can rise very quickly, even with windows down, and can get much hotter than the outdoor temperatures. An animal trapped in a car is very susceptible to heatstroke which can, in a relatively short period of time, be fatal.

For car travelers: If traveling with your cat in a car for long periods, try to keep a comfortable air temperature. If air-conditioning is not an option, placing ice in 1-gallon Ziplock bags and placing that in your cat's carrier can help keep the temperature lower.

For medium-or long-haired cats, a fur trim might be just the ticket. A lion-cut (pictured) might be just the right thing for your longer-haired feline friend. But if you do this, remember that their skin is now more sensitive to sun exposure without that protective layer of hair.

Some cats need sun protection. This is especially true for cats with white ears and/or noses, cats with white patches, or cats with short haircuts. If your cat goes outdoors, be sure they have plenty of access to shade. Consider keeping them indoors if that is an option. Sunburns, just like in people, can lead to skin cancer. Consider using a sunscreen, such as Neutrogena Pure & Free Baby Sunblock, Aveeno Baby Continuous Protection Sunblock, or Burt's Bees Chemical-Free Sunscreen. Avoid products that contain Octyl Salicylate, Homosalate, and Ethylhexyl Salicylate. Ensure that your cat is not grooming excessively and ingesting the sunscreen. When in doubt, indoors is best.

Know the signs of overheating.  These include excessive panting or difficulty breathing, drooling, weakness, lethargy, vomiting, fever, and collapse. If you notice these signs, get your pet into a cool area, consider cooling them with tap water (a damp towel can help), and contact your veterinarian.

Taking these precautions can help keep your cat cool and comfortable during the hot weather.