Last week, our air conditioning quit working. I was quite concerned about Marty and the Poodle Pair since temperatures were hovering near the 90 degree mark. Luckily, the repair man was able to get our AC going again the same day I called in needing repairs. Prior to repair, it seemed the pets were becoming lethargic since the indoor temp was 80 degrees and rising. I began to question, what is a safe temperature for cats and how hot is too hot for them?
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According to an article in the July 2021 issue of the Catnip newsletter, cats can tolerate, and even prefer, temperatures higher than you might think. Cats have a normal body temperature in the range of 100-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Cats can tolerate temperatures in that range, but often struggle if the temperature rises above that range. This is true for young and senior cats, those that are overweight, or have medical conditions such as congestive heart failure.
Flat faced cats, such as Persians, can also become overheated easily since they can’t pant as easily as other breeds to regulate body temperature.
Cats are good at finding cooler places to hang out, especially if it gets warmer inside. Be sure your cat has access to drinking water (with a couple of ice cubes to keep it cooler), and places without direct sun access and a cooler surface such as a tile or wood floor.
Interestingly, cases of heatstroke are much lower in cats than dogs.It’s more important for them to have heat indoors in the winter than air conditioning in the summer.
Don’t Forget the Sunscreen
Even though cases of cats becoming overheated is relatively low, cats are still susceptible to getting sunburned. Cats with white faces and/or ears are the most at risk of getting squamous cell carcinoma if they aren’t protected from the sun.
For cats that like to hang out in areas of the house that have direct sun exposure, apply a sunscreen especially for pets to the nose and tips of the ears to prevent sunburn. Do NOT use human sunscreen on cats. Look for pet sunscreens without zinc oxide (can cause digestive issues if your cat licks areas where you’ve applied the sunscreen. If you aren’t sure if a sunscreen you have is pet safe check with your vet before applying it to your cat’s skin.