How Hot Is Too Hot for Cats?

Cats need relief from the heat, too.
Cats need relief from the heat, too. / Jeremy Poland/iStock via Getty Images

During heat waves, pet owners tend to worry most about dogs. Canine companions are susceptible to heat-related illness owing to their need for walks or going for car rides, both of which can be hazardous in high temperatures.

The self-sufficient cat is another story. Some cats may even choose to sunbathe in front of a window in weather that humans would consider stifling. While you should never assume cats are immune to heat, they do tend to strategize when it comes to coping with warm weather. Here’s how.

When it’s hot, cats tend to reduce their activity level, relegating activities for cooler parts of the day. They may nap more, or seek out shade in or out of the house. All of it helps keep a cat’s body temperature between 99.5 and 102.5°F, a normal range.

Cats are also good at finding cool surfaces, like porcelain tile or sinks, to help keep their body temperature down. A thick fur coat may also be an advantage, keeping their body insulated and their temperature consistent.

But keep in mind that cats may not be the best judge of how hot is too hot for them. During especially hot weather, it’s important to make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water to stay hydrated, along with access to cooler surfaces like sinks or tubs. You can also brush your cat to remove any excess fur.

Because cats sweat through their paws, wet prints may indicate they’re getting a little too uncomfortable. Lethargy, loss of appetite, or redness around the mouth are also signs your cat might be overheating, which can lead to hyperthermia or heat stroke. (A body temperature above 102.5°F is concerning.) You should consider relocating the cat to an air-conditioned space or shaded area.

Bottom line? Cats generally do just fine in heat, but make sure to watch for signs they're not coping and intervene when necessary.

[h/t Diamond Pet]