The origin of the domestic house cat can be traced back to wild cat species from desert-like environments, such as those in Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Egypt. Cats have natural ways to keep themselves cool in the hottest places. You may notice your cat’s behavior changing a bit during the summer months, but don’t be alarmed – it’s just their instincts kicking in to beat the heat.
Cats are warm-blooded animals and must maintain a body temperature of 100 degrees Fahrenheit. They seek out cool surfaces, which is why you may find them sprawled out on the tile floor, or lounging under the couch or table for a bit of shade. They lay on their stomachs and spread out to dissipate heat. Cats also conserve energy by sleeping more often. Much like a mini-hibernation, your feline friend will spend the day sleeping and be a bit more active at night. They are known to sleep 12 to 15 hours per day when it’s hot. Your cat may seem sluggish, but staying as still as possible helps keep their body cool.
When we are hot, our body cools itself down naturally through sweat. Similarly, your cat has sweat glands located in their paws, but they are not large enough to cool themselves down – so your cat creates their own cooling system to compensate. Their fur coat is insulating, and you may notice that your furry friend is grooming more often. They lick their coat to create a cooling sensation as the air moves against their wet fur. Although you may be tempted to shave your cat, their coat is like a personal air conditioner that also helps keep them hydrated and protects them from sunburn. Try to brush them more often instead.
Your feline friend will also keep cool by drinking water more often. Sometimes cats will pant to help evaporate saliva from their tongue, but be sure to watch out for heavy panting as it may be an initial sign of heatstroke.
Cats can adapt and keep cool on their own, but a little help never hurts. For more tips, check out 5 tips to keep your cat happy in summer.