Cats are clever and fairly good at looking after themselves. However, with the exceptionally warm weather across most of Europe this year it does pose a number of risks for our beloved feline friends. It’s important to take additional steps to keep your cat well and protected and potentially make some adjustments to your daily routine. Overheating can cause dehydration, heatstroke or, in very severe cases, even death. Young, elderly or obese cats may not be so capable of looking after themselves, so make sure that you take extra care to keep them cool and healthy.
Do cats sweat?
Cats do have some sweat glands but, as they’re covered in fur, they’re unable to cool down much through them. Cat’s paws have the most sweat glands, but their small surface areas mean that they’re not that effective. Because of this, your cat will look for other ways to cool down in hot weather. Help your cat by taking the following steps during summer:
Ensure that there is a shaded spot for your cat to lie in. It’s a good idea to purchase a cooling mat or cotton blanket which are great at absorbing sweat for house cats. Both can provide a pleasant space for them to cool down. They will also often choose a hard floor, such as a kitchen floor, as tiles are much cooler than carpets.
If your cat is an outdoor cat, make sure there are shaded spots in the garden. It’s vital to ensure that any greenhouses or outdoor sheds and garages are locked at all times so that your cat doesn’t get accidentally stuck inside. It can get really hot in greenhouses and sheds, so be careful of broken boards and windows, as your cat may be able to sneak in unknowingly.
Ensure that your cat has access to plenty of water throughout the day – especially if you’re out of the house for an extended period of time. Put ice cubes into your cat’s water bowl to ensure that the water stays cool. You can also leave an additional, frozen bowl of water in a different location so that your cat will have access to cool water as it melts throughout the day.
If you are feeding your cat a dry food diet it might be worth considering to switch to wet food instead. Dry food will further risk dehydration as your cat needs to drink more water due to the fact that dry food does absorb liquid as it gets digested. On the other hand, wet food will provide your cat with extra much-needed moisture through the broth in wet food. Our partners Almo Nature have a wide range of wet food which is produced with just natural ingredients. We would especially recommend the alternative range as they are made from meat originally fit for human consumption and is cooked using a raw pack method, meaning the meat is inserted into its container raw and carefully cooked in a water bath to ensure your cat gets a delicious & nutritious meal and of course the liquid from the cooking process is still present which as it will have absorbed part of the flavour of the meat will entice your cat to lap it all up!
(Did you know that Almo Nature is now owned by the Fondazione Capellino? All profit from the sales of the food is used for animal welfare projects to save cats, dogs and protect biodiversity through the projects of the foundation)
If your cat seems really warm or unsettled, you can take a cool damp cloth and wipe down your cat regularly to help it cool down. Alternatively, purchase a spray bottle and fill it with cool water to spray onto your cat if it seems particularly hot and bothered. Not all cats might tolerate this method but it’s a great way to cool them down if they do.
Brush your cat on a regular basis to ensure that any matted hair is removed. Well-groomed fur will help keep your cat stay cool during summer.
Make sure that you apply a pet sun cream on your cat, particularly on their ears and nose. These areas can be very sensitive to UV light, which can sometimes cause skin burn or skin cancer. Cats with white or light fur or extremely short to no hair are particularly susceptible, so take extra care with them.
Ensure you don’t use human sun cream as it may contain chemicals that are harmful to pets.
Like humans, cats can also overheat and suffer from heat strokes. If your cat is vomiting, staggering, lethargic, breathing through its mouth for more than a few minutes or has a rapid pulse or bright red tongue, seek urgent vet attention.