Keep Your Cat Cool This Summer

The dog days of summer are just around the corner, and cats are just as susceptible to some of the dangers of hot weather as dogs and humans. Even if your cat doesn’t go outside, you’ll still want to take some precautions, especially on those really hot days, to protect her from the heat.

The following tips can help keep your cat comfortable:

Air conditioning and fans

Many people turn up the thermostat or turn the air conditioning off altogether if they’re gone from home all day. Keep in mind that during really hot days, your cat may be uncomfortable if the temperature gets too high, so adjust your settings accordingly. If you don’t have air conditioning, use fans to cool things off. Keep ceiling fans running. Get additional tower, box or table-top fans. Make sure that the fans can’t tip over. I don’t recommend leaving tower, box or table-top fans running when you’re not at home.

Make sure your cat can get to the cooler spots in your home

Basements are usually cooler than upstairs bedrooms. Hardwood or tile floors are cooler than carpet. Some cats may even hang out in the bathtub or sink during hot weather.

Open your windows to let the cool breezes in

If it cools off enough at night to open the windows, open them to get a cross breeze going, but always make sure that screens are secured.

Brush frequently

It seems contra-intuitive to us that fur would help keep your cat cool, but a well-groomed coat without tangles and mats will do just that.

Fresh cold water

Make sure your cat has access to fresh, cool water. A fountain is a great way to offer this. Periodically add some ice cubes to your cat’s water bowl.

Watch for signs of heat exhaustion or heat stroke

Even though heat stroke is not as common in cats as it is in dogs, you’re still going to want to watch for symptoms: panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting and collapse are all warning signs. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency and requires immediate veterinary attention.

Don’t ever leave your cat in a parked car

If you have to travel with your cat, make sure that you don’t leave the carrier in a parked car, not even for a minute. Temperatures inside a car rise to dangerous levels very quickly, even with the windows cracked.

By using common sense and keeping these tips in mind, you and your cats can enjoy a safe and happy summer.

Do you have a tip for keeping cats cool during the summer months? Share it in a comment!

This post was first published in 2012 and has been updated.

Photo by Fabier Bellanger on Unsplash

16 Comments on Keep Your Cat Cool This Summer

  1. Janine
    June 30, 2021 at 5:51 am (1 month ago)

    Leaving pets in a car is one of my pet peeves. I see it all the time here and summers are so dangerous. But I do think people are becoming more aware of the dangers lately.

  2. T. J. Banks
    July 22, 2019 at 12:25 pm (2 years ago)

    Great post, Ingrid!
    My tips are pretty simple. One, if your cats have water bowls, chuck an occasional ice cube in to keep the water cool. A lot of them are intrigued by the crackling noises that the ice cubes make once they hit the water. Two, re-schedule vet appointments if the day is a scorcher. If it’d an emergency, however, remember to run the A/C in your car for a bit before you put your cat in.

  3. Jean
    July 19, 2019 at 11:35 am (2 years ago)

    I have one boy that likes to go out on my screened porch mid afternoon. I make sure he has fresh cool water and check on him frequently. After a few hours I go out and have to carry him inside because he really doesn’t want to come in. I make him stay inside for at least 30 minutes to an hour depending on how hot it is outside even though he scratches at the door wanting to go back out. I always have to brush him every time I bring him in, he sheds so much every time he comes in when it’s hot outside.

  4. Laura Parker
    June 5, 2018 at 2:32 pm (3 years ago)

    My sister has a small TNR feral colony. The ones that have not become house cats yet like her cooling tiles ( she lives in HOT Tucson, AZ). She soaks unglazed clay saltillo tiles in a shallow tray. The tiles absorb water and evaporation cools the cats when they lay on them.

    • Ingrid
      June 5, 2018 at 3:33 pm (3 years ago)

      What a great idea!

  5. Linda ainsworth
    May 2, 2018 at 1:39 pm (3 years ago)

    The owner won’t let me use ac anymore, too costly. We live in the high desert. She has even asked me to leave for the summer, leaving my cats here to suffer. I’m so upset I don’t know what to do.

  6. sharon
    June 3, 2014 at 4:20 pm (7 years ago)

    Since I have an attic apartment, it tends to get very hot. I actually have chillmats that i take out of the freezer and they are available for them to lay on

    • Ingrid
      June 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm (7 years ago)

      What a great idea, Sharon. Thanks for sharing!

  7. Kelly
    June 29, 2012 at 11:44 am (9 years ago)

    Oscar loves to be rubbed down with a really wet washcloth on hot days.

  8. Bopeeps
    June 11, 2012 at 10:07 pm (9 years ago)

    Rikki tends to go in the bathroom . It’s very dark with no windows. It’s her girl cave. Lucy curls up on the lazy boy footrest in the living room with the tower fans blowing.

  9. katie mitchell
    June 11, 2012 at 8:54 am (9 years ago)

    Thanks for the ideas, the catsicles sound like something my 5 kitties would love to try

    • Ingrid
      June 11, 2012 at 4:51 pm (9 years ago)

      Let me know how your kitties like the catsicles, Katie!

  10. Karim
    June 11, 2012 at 6:48 am (9 years ago)

    I cant run the AC for 10 hours so instead i freeze bottles of water and once they are ready I wrap them in towels and leave them by the cool spots, the bathroom for sure and any other place around the house, ceiling fans running and windows open

    • Ingrid
      June 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm (9 years ago)

      Those are great ideas, Karim.

  11. Spunky Doodle and Manny
    June 11, 2012 at 6:37 am (9 years ago)

    We like it hot, even on very hot days, we like lying in the sun (especially Spunky). We’ll even stay upstairs where it’s nice and hot instead of downstairs where it is cooler.

    • Ingrid
      June 11, 2012 at 4:50 pm (9 years ago)

      Allegra and Ruby don’t seem to mind the heat, either. They rarely spend time downstairs, and only move out of the sun puddles on the really hot days.


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