Domestic cats, unlike their larger African cousins, tolerate heat no better than humans. The body of a cat is only kept cool by sweat glands in its foot pads and the act of its panting. If a cat gets too hot it will more than likely suffer heatstroke which, if untreated, will lead to death.
The biggest cause of feline heatstroke is, unsurprisingly, a high air temperature. Luckily, heatwaves are usually forecast a few days in advance; that should give you time to adequately prepare your cat’s living quarters.
Here are a selection of measures you can take to ensure that when temperatures rise your cat can stay cool.
- Try to keep her out of direct sunlight.
- If she prefers to be outdoors then make sure she has a shady spot to lie beneath
- Indoors, make sure the house is well ventilated and as cool as possible
- ALWAYS make sure she has enough cool water to drink
Remember, you must never keep your dog or cat in a car in direct sunlight, even in the winter.
What to look out for
We humans are able to express how we feel. If we have heatstroke we might complain about a headache, nausea, rapid heartbeat and dizziness. Our pets of course cannot vocalise how they are feeling so it is our responsibility to be vigilant of the signs of illness.
Of cats, the symptoms of heatstroke include:
- Excessive panting
- Redness of the tongue
If you suspect your cat is starting to overheat you must waste no time in helping her. Immediate care should include your soaking the cat’s body with water and allowing her to drink as much water as she wants. Thereafter, be sure to take her to a vet straight away to be checked over.