How Hot Is Too Hot for Cats?
Most cat owners have a good gauge of how their cat is feeling. However, even the most observant cat lovers can find themselves wondering, do cats get hot? The answer is yes. But one complicating factor is that cats enjoy and are naturally attracted to heat but can't tell when they've absorbed too much warmth.
Every summer, your neighborhood veterinarian receives calls about pets suffering from heatstroke, so it is important to understand and recognize the ways that heat can affect your cat, and the steps you can take to provide them with some quick relief.
How hot is too hot for cats?
The average temperature range for cats is between 99.5 and 102.5 Fahrenheit. Anything above that puts your pet in the range for suffering heat stroke. Your cat's temperature should never reach 105, as that level of heat stroke could prove fatal.
How do cats sweat?
Surprisingly, cats sweat just like humans. However, you won't see water pouring off their brows. Cats actually sweat through their paws. If your cat leaves a trail of wet footprints, they may be too warm. However, paws aren't big enough to fully relieve a warm cat, so your pet may find a shady spot to lounge in or spread out on a cool floor to find relief from the heat.
What are the signs of heat stroke in cats?
Heatstroke can arise quickly in dogs and cats, even with limited exposure to hot weather. Persian cats are more prone to heatstroke because they can't pant as effectively. Older, or overweight, cats are also at higher risk and must be carefully monitored. Some of the signs of heatstroke include:
- Sweaty paws
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble breathing
- Redness around tongue and mouth
How to take a cat's temperature in the ear?
Most cats aren't too comfortable with having their temperature taken. Taking their temperature should be a two-person job. One person should hold the cat in their lap. The other should insert the thermometer lightly into the horizontal ear canal. Hold the thermometer at a 90-degree angle with your cat's head. If your cat's body temperature is high, try to cool them down and reach out to your veterinary provider.
How to tell if a cat is dehydrated?
Cat dehydration is a major issue, especially if your pet has gotten too hot. Signs of dehydration include loss of energy, lack of appetite and dry gums. One other test for dehydration is skin tenting.
You can check this by gently taking a small portion of skin around your cat's shoulders and lifting it up. When you let it go, the ideal result is that it snaps back into place. If the skin falls back into place slowly, that is a sign your cat may be dehydrated. If the "tent" shape holds, your pet is dealing with severe dehydration.
To prevent dehydration, always have fresh water available. The average cat should consume around 7-9 ounces of water per day.
What does it mean if my cat's ears are hot?
Most of the time, nothing. Your cat's ears are among the thinnest parts of their body, and sometimes heat can radiate out from the ears, especially if your cat was outside or sitting by a window. If you are concerned your cat may have a fever or is overheated, check their stomach and underarms, which are more reliable gauges for fever or heat stroke.
Should I let my cat outside in the summer?
As we noted before, cats enjoy the heat. But if it is hot outside to you, it will also be hot for your cat. On warm days, you should limit your cat's outdoor exposure. Hot sidewalks can be rough on your cat's paws. A grassy area is a better solution for outdoor time.
Also, a reminder that you should never leave your cat inside a parked car. Temperatures inside a car can rise quickly. On an 85-degree day, a car with the windows opened slightly can reach 102 degrees in just 10 minutes.