Cats do not sweat like humans. They do have sweat glands in their paws which help to cool them down. However, on very hot days, they may seek multiple methods of cooling down and they do have some pretty interesting and clever ways of staying cool. Here are 5 cat facts on how your cat beats the hot Singapore weather.
1. They sleep more
While the rest of us humans are dripping sweat and standing in front of the fan or air conditioner units to stave off the heat, our feline companion simply snoozes. You may have noticed your cat sleeping more on hot days. They are not being lazy. They are being smart!
Unlike dogs, cats don’t pant as much to cool down. Instead, they choose to move less to keep their core body temperature down, so they don’t overheat. They will nap away in cool, shaded spots for most parts of the hot day and emerge when the day’s temperature has dropped to a more comfortable level. All their activities are reserved for the cooler parts of the day or evening hours.
One thing that you can do to help your cat cool down is to provide a well-ventilated cooling cat bed. Look for a cat bed equipped with air slits to facilitate ventilation and reduce heat like this Stefanplast Sleeper 1 Anti-Slip Cat Bed (Dove Grey). The ventilation slits at the base of this bed play a crucial role in facilitating airflow and helping your cat to keep cool while all snuggled up inside his bed.
2. They drink more water
As descendants of desert creatures, cats are not great drinkers by nature. On warm days, they are inclined to drink more water to keep cool. However, due to their nature as desert creatures and their fussy water drinking habits, they are more prone to dehydration. If you’re wondering how much water your cat needs, here is a good article to read - How Much Water Does a Cat Need?.
You may want to prepare multiple bowls of fresh water for your cat on hot days. Feel free to put an ice cube in the water if you feel that will make hydrating more attractive to your cat. Some cats are extremely finicky about their drinking water and will not drink if the water bowl is not in the right location – too close to the food bowl or an area with too much foot traffic. Move the bowl elsewhere that isn’t alongside her food or to a quieter corner with little foot traffic.
To minimize the risk of dehydration, you may want to monitor the amount of water consumed by kitty. Using a water dispenser with a graduated scale like this Stefanplast Chic Food & Water Dispenser For Cats & Dogs (Dove Grey) can help monitor your cat’s water consumption. Take note that this water dispenser comes with a non-slip base and is made with BPA-free materials for your pet’s safety.
3. They groom more
One of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming. They lick to wet their fur with saliva and when the saliva evaporates from your cat's fur, it provides a cooling effect, like a human's sweat evaporating off his or her skin.
You may want to try taking a damp washcloth and giving your cat a gentle wipe down. Most cats don’t mind a little bit of moisture on their fur as it helps to cool them down. A cooling bandana like this FuzzYard Cooling Bandana (Candy Hearts) For Cats & Dogs may help to decrease your pet’s body temperature. It’s a win with pet parents looking for a cool fashion accessory that provides icy cold style!
4. They shed more
All cats shed, except for hairless breeds, and the excess loose fur tends to trap heat. You can help your cat to cool down by brushing out this loose fur. Daily grooming to get rid of dead hair will make your cat feel a little more comfortable in the heat. An important cat care tip - Less loose fur equals a cooler cat. This Petz Route Rectangle Slicker Brush For Cats & Dogs will do the trick in helping you to remove excess loose fur. Do take note that the brush comes in different sizes and choose the right size according to the size of your pet.
All that shedding may lead you to think that giving your cat a shave is a good idea to keep them cool, but it's better to leave their coat as they are. Generally, most experts and veterinarians recommend against shaving your cat, though there are exceptions.
A cat’s coat helps them regulate their body temperature, trapping cool air in hot weather and staying warm in cold weather. Shaving away a cat’s coat removes his ability to regulate his body temperature and it may increase the chance of overheating in hot weather. It is counter-intuitive to shave the cat to keep him cool. A better way to help your cat is to keep your house cool. Open the windows to allow the cool breeze in and turn on the fan to keep the temperature down. Make sure your home is well ventilated. Your cat will appreciate the cool breeze blowing through his fur.
5. They choose to rest on cool surfaces
Do you ever notice how your cat seems to take a liking to your cold bathroom floor or sink during hot days? This is because cats cool themselves off by placing their bellies on colder surfaces. Kitty is smart enough to understand that the cooler floors will conduct heat away from his body.
Your cat may also seek out shaded areas, away from direct sunlight like under the bed. Do make sure he has access to different areas around the house that are shaded or have cool tile floorings. Alternatively, try placing a few pieces of cooling pad designed for cats like this PETKIT Pet Cooling Mat. These cooling mats can be a godsend to your cat on hot days. It’s perfect for our hot weather, allowing your cat to relax in peace.
While your cat has a lot of innate abilities to keep his body temperature regulated, do not disregard the fact that your cat can suffer from heatstroke. Take extra care to keep the environment cool and well ventilated on hot days. Ensure that kitty has plenty of fresh water. Symptoms of cat heatstroke include excessive panting, lethargy, drooling, fever, vomiting, collapse, or unconsciousness. In the event of a heatstroke, remove your pet from the hot environment immediately. Apply or spray tepid/cool water onto his fur and skin, then turn on the fan to maximise heat loss. Call the nearest veterinarian and take your pet to the nearest clinic immediately.
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.