By Ruth aka Kattaddorra
There is a lot of publicity about not leaving dogs shut in cars in hot weather and making sure they have shade indoors and outdoors and plenty of fresh drinking water.
This is rightly so, but what about cats? They have fur coats too.
OK so cats don’t often travel in cars for pleasure like dogs do, accompanying their owner, but they do sometimes need a trip to the vets. Distressing enough, but to get overheated on the way could cause them to go into shock, especially if the reason they are going to the vets is because they are unwell.
Routine visits to the vet should be postponed until the weather turns a bit cooler, but a cat if overheated and not responding to your cooling down, needs to see a vet urgently, so the journey can’t be avoided.
If a cat gets too hot, cool him down by wrapping him in a cool wet towel, not ice cold water, because that could send him into shock.
The places where cats get the warmest are their bellies, their pads, their armpits, under their chins and on the outside of their ears. Cool down those places with another cool wet towel. If he doesn’t quickly return to normal, phone your vet.
If he is unconscious, after wrapping him in a cool towel take him immediately to the vet as an emergency, car windows wide open to let some air circulate,
Indoor/outdoor cats are mostly sensible and move out of the sun into the shade if they can find any. Our Jozef was searching for a shady part on our front lawn today, he loves to lie in the grass.
Walter had been sunbathing on their sunroof but he came in the house to cool off upstairs where the windows are open. Jo loves to be outdoors, so Babz rigged him up a parasol and he went straight under it.
Black cats, white cats and black and white cats are more susceptible to sunstroke than any other coloured cats but all cats are in danger of overheating.
Most cats get a bit lethargic in hot weather but the main symptoms of overheating are:
- Restless behaviour
- Panting, sweaty feet, drooling, excessive grooming
Even indoors cats can get overheated, so they should always have access to cool shady areas and plenty of water to drink and should not be confined to one room with no air and from which they have no escape if it gets too hot.
Cats should never be shaved because this exposes their skin to the sun and can result in sunburn and the risk of skin cancer, even to an indoor cat sitting in a sunny window.
Groom your cat daily because matted fur is even more uncomfortable in hot weather, ensure he has cool places to lie and plenty of fresh water to drink, don’t take him on unnecessary car journeys and he will hopefully avoid sunstroke or heatstroke.