What Temperature Is Too Hot for Cats?
Cats love warm temperatures. They're always seeking out a sunbeam or a hot spot in your home so they can soak up as much heat as possible. But what temperature is too hot for cats?
What Is Your Cat's Normal Body Temperature?
Your cat's normal body temperature will typically be between 100.5 to 102.5°F.1 This means your cat can tolerate hotter temperatures than you can since a person's average body temperature is about 98.6°F. Even though your cat can tolerate warmer temperatures, you should still be very cautious about how high you let the temperature get in your cat's environment.
Keep an Eye on the Heat in the Summer
If your indoor cat goes outdoors, you need to keep an eye on how hot the weather is outside. Some days will be too hot for your cat, no matter how much he loves being warm. If he loves the outdoors, take him for short jaunts on a harness during the early morning or evening hours when it's cooler.
Because of their high body temperature, cats can theoretically be okay in hot weather, around 100°F outside.2 Their tolerance can vary widely depending on humidity, your cat's health, age, and even type of fur. It's best to err on the safe side and avoid the hottest parts of the day altogether.
If you have feral cats that can't come inside, provide shady spaces, raised beds, and access to a covered, ventilated space like an air-conditioned patio if you can. Leave out a Coolin' Bowl for them too, which can keep drinking water cool for at least 15 hours.
Know the signs of heatstroke, just in case your cat overheats. Symptoms include rapid breathing, clumsiness, a temperature of 105°F or more, lethargy, throwing up, or a red tongue or mouth.3 Take your cat to the vet right away if you suspect heatstroke.
Ideal Indoor Temperatures for Cats
What's the ideal temperature in your home? Your cat can handle warm temperatures, but many veterinarians still recommend you leave the AC on if you're not there. To be safe, leave your thermostat set, so it doesn't get any warmer than 78 to 80°F when you're not home.4 It's also okay to let the AC run cooler than that if you want to treat your pet.
Keep in mind that running a fan without the AC isn't enough to keep your cat cool on a hot day.5 Fans work best by evaporating the sweat on our skin. Furry animals don't use sweat in the same way, so fans don't work as well on them.
How to Help Your Cat Cool Off
You can do a lot to help your cat beat the heat. If you're outside, make sure there's plenty of shade and lots of water. If you're indoors, keep the AC on.
Cooling mats for cats can also help. The Cool Bed III has a specialized cool core and works best in the shade. You might want to trim your cat's nails, so she doesn't accidentally puncture it.
Another great option is the Coolin' Pet Cot, which has a cooling center and is raised above the ground, so it doesn't get too hot. The K&H Original Pet Cot also avoids the hot ground. Both cots are compatible with the K&H Pet Cot Canopy, which provides extra shade for your kitty.
When it comes to the heat, it's best to err on the side of caution. Keep your cat inside during the hottest parts of the day, and keep the AC running. While you're both inside, open the shades so your cat can lie in a sunbeam and enjoy watching the world all around her.
1. Alcorn, Joe. "How Hot Is Too Hot for Cats." Care Animal Hospital, http://www.careah.com/articles/how-hot-is-too-hot-for-cats/.
2. Schmidt, Rebecca and Michelle Miller. "What Is a Cat's Normal Body Temperature?" Chicago Tribune, 22 April 2013, https://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/libertyville/chi-ugc-article-what-is-a-cats-normal-body-temperature-2013-04-23-story.html.
3. Best Friends Vets. "Protect Your Cat from Overheating." BestFriendsVets.co.uk, 14 July 2017, https://www.bestfriendsvets.co.uk/article/protect-your-cat-from-overheating/.
4. Butler, Kiera. "Should You Leave the AC on for Your Cat or Dog?" Mother Jones, 2 July 2012, https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2012/07/should-you-leave-air-conditioning-your-cat-or-dog/.
5. The Humane Society of the United States. "Keep Pets Safe in the Heat." HumaneSociety.org, https://www.humanesociety.org/resources/keep-pets-safe-heat.