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Cornell Feline Health Center

Supporting Cat Health with Information and Health Studies.

Feline Heat Safety

Beautiful tabby cat sitting next to a bowl of water, placed on the floor next to the living room window. Selective focus
A cat sits in front of a window with a water bowl.

When the temperature rises during the onset of summer, it serves as a good time to review a few heat safety recommendations to keep your feline friends safe and comfortable.

The following are some guidelines for addressing this important issue. As always, your veterinarian is your best source of guidance if you have any questions or concerns about these recommendations or the well-being of your cat.

  1. Help to maintain hydration by assuring that fresh water is available at all times. Providing a running water source like a fountain may encourage some cats to drink more. Make sure that water is always available both indoors and outdoors for those cats that are allowed outside.
  2. Provide shaded areas for cats that are allowed outside. These may take the form of tress, umbrellas, sun sails, and/or indoor places to which a cat has access.
  3. Provide ice cubes for your cat to play with and cool down while doing so.
  4. Use cooling mats (available for purchase online and through other outlets). You can also make a cool space for cats to hang out in by wrapping ice packs in blankets.
  5. Keep cats indoors (if possible) in air-conditioned areas when extreme heat is forecast.
  6. Check sheds, garages, greenhouses, barns, and other outbuildings to make sure there are no places in which cats can become trapped.
  7. Use pet-safe sunscreen on the ear tips and nose of cats with light colored fur to help prevent skin cancer.

Know the signs of heat stroke, which can become life-threatening very quickly. These include:

  • Weakness/collapse
  • Excessive panting
  • Drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If you notice any of these, immediately place your cat in a cool area with a draft, gently wet her fur with cool (not very cold) water, and contact your veterinarian immediately.

Taking these easy steps and knowing what to watch out for can help assure that your cat is comfortable and safe during times of extreme heat.

July 2024