It’s summer. You’re sweating, you’re becoming best friends with your air conditioner, and you’re feeling sympathy for the adorable ball of fluffy mewing at your ankles.
Despite the fact that cats are covered in a thick layer of cozy, soft fur, they actually have a few tricks up their sleeves for keeping cool.
How do cats cool themselves?
Cats are professional couch potatoes. While you may be envious of the layabout lifestyle of cats, they’re actually working hard to keep themselves cool this summer.
One of the best ways cats keep their body temperature down is by sleeping and resting most of the day. When it’s nearing triple digits outside, you won’t find your cat romping around. Let the little guy conserve energy, then wake him for play time after dark.
Your cat may also find some unique hiding places in the summer - like under the couch or in the back of your closet. When it’s hot, your cat may try to find the coolest spot in the house and claim it as his own.
To Shave or Not to Shave?
That is the question, isn’t it? If you find yourself asking, “Should I shave my cat in the summer?” you’re not alone.
While your cat may look like the coolest kid on the block with a lion cut, a cat shave isn’t the best idea.
Your cat’s fur works much like the insulation in your house. When it’s cold out, your cat’s fur keeps him warm; when it’s hot, it keeps him cool. Shaving - or even trimming - your cat in the summer strips him of his natural defense against the heat.
A Few Misconceptions
No, cats don’t sweat. Have you seen moist paw prints walking across your lovely surfaces this summer? Don’t be fooled - it’s not sweat.
Cats secrete plenty of moisture from their mouths and tongues, which they then lap onto their paws. The end result is similar to human sweating - as the moisture evaporates, their paws cool.
Excessive shedding isn’t a sign your cat is too hot. If you see an increase in dust balls around the house and are inclined to blame your cat, excessive shedding isn’t actually a response to the hot weather.
Your cat’s fur keeps helps him maintain an internal body temperature between 100.5 and 102.5 F. Excessive shedding in cats is a sign that your cat may have a serious health condition.
What Should I Look Out For?
The best way to keep your cats cool and healthy in the summer is to give them plenty of water, don’t encourage activity until after the temperature drops, and watch out for any signs of overheating.
One sign to check for is if your cat’s ears are hot. Your cat’s ears help him regulate his body temperature. Much like your cat’s warm paws, hot cat ears may feel warm to the touch as they release heat.
However, if your cat’s ears are unusually hot, check for other symptoms of overheating like a warm, dry nose. Alone, these symptoms are not proof that your cat is ill, but they’re a sign that it may be time to take your cat’s temperature. You can do this using a rectal thermometer or take him to the vet if you’re not comfortable taking his temperature yourself.
Summer should be a time for fun, sun, and relaxation. Make sure your feline friend enjoys the season too by letting him keep his fur, giving him plenty of water and rest, and keeping an eye out for signs of overheating.
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