Just like humans, cats need special precautions in hot and sunny weather. Burning, heat exhaustion and dehydration due to a lack of moisture can have an effect on both indoor cats and outdoor cats. Therefore, ensure that both you and your cat are fully prepared for a long, hot summer. Cats love heat, but the warmer it gets, the greater the chance of heat-related illnesses. However, you can take a lot of precautions yourself to keep your cat healthy and safe during the summer months.
White cats or cats with white ears and a white head are extra sensitive to burning. Coat their ears and head with a sunscreen with a high protection factor, because you cannot be sure that they will remain in the shade. When the sun is strongest we advise you, if possible, to keep the cat inside to prevent burns.
Preventing heat stroke
In extreme heat you can prevent sunstroke in your cat by keeping her inside in a cool room. You can also wet her coat with a damp cloth; in addition, you can put her with her feet in a container of cool water or tie a cold compress under her neck.
Also try to wrap a bag of frozen peas in a towel and place it on her bed / resting place so that she has a cool place. The peas will adjust to her body automatically.
If you suspect that your cat has contracted sunstroke, you can recognize this by the following initial symptoms:
- Unrest, for example, by walking a lot
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing difficulties or hyperventilation (varieties with a flat nose show this sooner because of previously closed airways
- Dark red colored gums
- Elevated body temperature (the temperature of your cat is normally between 38.1 and 38.6 degrees Celsius. A temperature above 40 degrees is a strong warning signal).
- If your cat shows any of the above symptoms, allow her to cool down as quickly as possible by immersing her in cool water and wrapping her in wet cloths. Then go directly to the vet with her because, in extreme cases, heat stroke can be fatal.
Dehydration can occur quickly, so make sure there is enough water in different places in and around the house. Don’t forget to top up water in time. Some cats drink less in hot weather, but you can encourage them to drink more by, for example, putting an ice cube in the water and changing the water regularly.
Provide protection indoors
Cats that live indoors should be protected from the full sun by, for example, keeping the curtains closed. The sun warms up a house quickly during the day, so if you need to leave curtains open, make sure there is at least one room where the curtains are closed and there is plenty of shade. This keeps the room temperature lower for longer and gives your cat extra protection against the heat and the sun.