Do cats get hot?

Cats love nothing better than lazing on the roof under the heat of the sun. It appears that cats have also claimed the spot in front of the fire as their own sleeping area…the nearer to the roaring fire the better would be for these feline friends. If not in front of the fire, cats would be seen sleeping on top of the still warm cook top. With all the fur covering the cat’s body, it is rather amazing how these animals survive the heat during the summer months. Don’t these animals ever get hot? Just like any other animals, cats can get hot too. Cats that have stayed too long under the heat of the sun are known to get sunburn and suffer from heatstroke. However, having descended from ancestors that have survived in arid lands, cats can weather the heat much better as compared to dogs.

Cats do get hot but they are not capable of telling their owners that the heat is already making them uncomfortable. When the weather is very hot, dogs would be seen panting. This is not so with cats as seldom would a cat owner see the pet overheating. Both dogs and cats have poor cooling systems. Humans have sweat glands that efficiently regulate body temperature. Cats on the other hand have very few sweat glands and these sweat glands are only found in the paws. Therefore, it would be very easy for cats to get hot because they do not have an efficient thermo regulating system. What happens if the cat is left inside a car with closed windows or if the cat gets stuck on the roof during the hottest part of the day? The cat would not only get hot…it would suffer from sunburn and it can also get heatstroke. Panting, hyperventilation, increased heartbeat, lethargy and elevated internal body temperature are some of the signs that the cat is suffering from heat stroke.

How would a cat owner help the pet beat the heat? Apart from the independent personality, cats are stoic when it comes to pain and discomfort. It would therefore be the responsibility of the cat parent to take precautionary measures to prevent the cat from being exposed to the hot and sticky weather. A cat parent may not see the pet being bothered by the heat. As mentioned, cats have independent personalities. Hot weather would make a cat instinctively seek cooler spots. The pet that was often seen sunbathing on top of the roof will now be seen sleeping on the grassy patch under the shade of the tree. Cats are fastidious groomers but during hot weather, the cat has the inclination to lick the fur more. The evaporation of the saliva helps in cooling the pet. A cat owner can help cool the pet by rubbing the fur with a damp towel or by letting tap water run on the pet’s feet. The pet must not be allowed to stay outdoors during the hottest part of the day. The cat will surely appreciate being confined in an air conditioned room. A cat would love the coolness of tiles thus instead of letting the cat sleep on the carpeted floor, kitty can be allowed to relocate to the bathroom. Cats are not big on drinking water but frequent sips of water would cool the pet and help combat dehydration. Several bowls of clean water placed in strategic places inside the house would entice the pet to drink every now and then.

Cats love the sun but the sun’s hot rays are not always friendly to the cat. A cat parent has to be vigilant…at the first sign of heatstroke; medical attention must be promptly given to the pet.

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