Cats love the sun, but when the heat is unbearable what risks do they run? Here are 5 secrets to protect them from the unbearable heat.
When the warm season is about to arrive, it is important to enjoy the first sun with our cat friends too. After a winter indoors and hours behind the windows watching the rain, it’s time to get some sun. But even in intense heat there can be problems. Here are the risks of the cat for excessive heat and all the remedies to face the summer.
Do cats suffer from heat?
Do you think that only humans have the sensation of suffocating on the hottest days of summer? Unfortunately, even our feline friends do not tolerate high temperatures and above all the combination of heat and humidity. Just think that cats have extremely hot blood: their bodies can easily reach 40˚. The fundamental difference between the cat and the human is that if our body is dripping with sweat thanks to the sweat glands scattered over its entire surface, the cat sweats only in certain areas such as the fingertips. This involves an excessive accumulation of heat on their body without the possibility of getting rid of it through sweat. So they suffer from the heat, even more than us!
Which cats suffer from heat the most
Of course, all cats suffer from heat but it is obvious that the sensation varies according to the age and weight of the cat. Caring for an older cat also includes being foresighted about the risks it could run in the hottest seasons of the year. The same goes for overweight cats: obesity makes movements much slower and more difficult, and of course there is a greater expenditure of energy than a young and agile cat. There are some breeds that tolerate heat less, and they are those with long and thick hair. They are: the Maine Coon, the Norwegian Forest Cat or the Persian cat. The latter, in addition to suffering from the heat due to the thick coat, actually also have a very small mouth to get air. Of course, if we have cats of these breeds at home it is important to be careful, but others can also have breathing problems: therefore it is always advisable to have the veterinarian’s number at hand.
The risks of heat on the cat
If adequate measures are not taken, there is a risk for our cats of heat stroke or sunstroke. The first can have devastating consequences on the cat’s body, which could even die. A cat subjected to high temperatures for a prolonged time can undergo hyperthermia, i.e. its body can reach temperatures so high that the internal organs would be devastated. Even sunstroke could cause burns and scalds, especially in the most sensitive areas of the cat’s body, such as belly, genital areas, armpits and some facial features.
The 5 remedies for excessive heat
Based on a 2013 Ministry of Health Vademecum, there are several methods to protect our four-legged friends from the heat. Here’s how to avoid all dangers with useful measures that could save the life of our cats.
It may seem obvious but the first thing our cats shouldn’t miss is fresh water. Both the one in the bowl and the one that will be used to wet towels and old towels to cool the forehead and paws, water is the most precious weapon against the heat. It is important to get steel bowls that keep the water temperature cooler and more constant, or immerse yourself in an ice cube to prevent it from heating up immediately. Furthermore, if we know we have to be away from home for several hours, it is advisable to get water dispensers that can be operated by its paw or that provide it with the necessary water at regular intervals of time.
Staying in a cool room or in a breezy environment definitely helps fight the heat, but be careful not to overuse fans and air conditioning. It will be enough not to direct the jet of cold air on the cat, as it could easily fall ill with a cold. And make sure that the cat does not easily approach the fan so as not to injure its paws with the blades in action. An excellent remedy is certainly to keep the shutters down and the window shutters open, so that the sun does not shine directly into the room. It will be equally useful to close the curtains and always guarantee shaded areas throughout the house, including of course its kennel.
As with dogs in the summer, cats can also have advantages if we shorten their fur. Especially in the case of the aforementioned breeds, making the coat less dense is certainly an extra help. But be careful not to shorten the coat too much: the light skin of cats is easily prone to burns and scalds.
In the sultry heat it is important that the food given to the cat is different from that of the winter diet. If during the cold the cat had to receive the energy necessary to face the winter from the food, in the summer he will not need it. Between wet and dry food, the former is by far preferable, as it is able to nourish and hydrate the cat at the same time. Make way for fruit and vegetables: fresh and sweet foods that are sure to please our feline friend. A great idea is to break up the food and make several bites to eat throughout the day so your cat doesn’t get weighed down with just one meal.
And in the car …
First of all, leaving the cat in the car under the beating sun is always a very risky action and as such absolutely not recommended. The high temperatures that the interior can reach can suffocate our cat and cause it to die of asphyxiation. In reality, this behavior falls within the rights against animals punishable by law. Better to avoid long car journeys with the cat, except when strictly necessary, and prefer early morning or evening to travel with the cat.