Is our cat in danger of over heating?
August 29, 2009 10:56 AM   Subscribe

We have an apartment with no air conditioning and it's going to be over 80 degrees today. Should I be worried about our indoor cat over heating?

We live in SF where it rarely gets above 70 degrees. However, today it's 11AM and it's already 80!!!! Our apartment has no air conditioning, but I have opened all the windows and turned on our one window fan.
I am worried that our cat will over heat. I've made sure she has plenty of water, but I'm still worried. I tried wiping her down with a wet towel (which she did not appreciate at all.) Am I being silly, or should this be a real concern? Is there something else I can do to make sure she doesn't get too hot?
posted by firemonkey to Pets & Animals (29 answers total)
I grew up in Texas, where it averages 95 to 115 in the summer - and our cats and dogs did just fine outside all day. The cat will be fine.
posted by bradth27 at 10:58 AM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

We have an old boy cat with kidney problems (and am also in SF) and he seems to do okay in this type of heat.
You can put ice cubes in one of the cats bowls to give them cooler water.
If you nice cool tile in the bath room you might want to make sure the kitty knows its cool in there.
Cats seem to be able to find the places that make them comfortable, so I wouldn't be too worried.
posted by bottlebrushtree at 10:58 AM on August 29, 2009

Let her show you if she's uncomfortable. I live in a house without air conditioning where the outside temps regularly get above 90-95, and I have a 20lb. long-haired Ragdoll cat. When it's over 80 in the house, I put ice in his water dish, keep his access to water clear and easy, and if he shows signs of being too warm, I rub him down with wet hands or an ice cube. He will sometimes choose to go outside and lay in the shade when the house is warm. I've never noticed him being affected badly, his appetite remains good, he stays active and playful, he just tends to nap more when it's warm.

So I guess my advice is that your cat is probably fine, just keep an eye on her and make sure she has enough water.
posted by annathea at 10:59 AM on August 29, 2009

We just had 90+ heat for several days in NYC with no airconditioning. All of our three cats were fine. Just make sure they have plenty of water.
posted by kimdog at 11:00 AM on August 29, 2009

Also in SF, in a 3rd floor flat that faces east/west, and have three cats. Ours have been fine, in this heat wave as well as past ones. They lie on the bathroom tile, or they shift themselves to the cooler part of the house, or, if they're Not Hot Enough, they actually lie in the sun. Freaks.
posted by rtha at 11:03 AM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Water + shade + tile floor to lay on = all good.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 11:03 AM on August 29, 2009

Oh - and: I woke up this morning all sweaty, covered in cats. Go figure.
posted by rtha at 11:04 AM on August 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

I have a couple outdoorsey cats here in Las Vegas, where the high today is only 112...

Your cat will be fine, although they may be uncomfortable due to lack of familiarity with those temperatures. Mine tend to just be lazy.
posted by Rendus at 11:04 AM on August 29, 2009

Yeah, my cats seem to have dealt with the this summer's extremely hot weather here in Mississippi very well. We had about 20 days in a row over 100 degrees, but you wouldn't have known it by observing them. I did try putting put ice in their water bowl, but it just made them look at me funny.
posted by thebrokedown at 11:13 AM on August 29, 2009

Yesterday, one of our kitties was panting with her mouth open and tongue hanging out, after playing a little too hard in the heat (it was around 105 I'd say). We just had her stop playing and cool down a little, drink some water, and she was fine. You might just keep an eye out for anything like that, which is not so much an alarm signal that she needs to go to the hospital or something, but can be a clue for you that kitty may need to cool down a little with some help from you.
posted by so_gracefully at 11:14 AM on August 29, 2009

My long-haired furball survived five Chicago summers without air conditioning. Her water consumption went up, her activity level went down, and she took to sleeping in the nice cool bathtub, but other than that she seemed just fine during the month-long spells of 80° weather and week-long spells of 90° weather.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:26 AM on August 29, 2009

I've found that all of our cats over the years are pretty smart in the heat - they find the coolest spot in the house when the heat gets really high. My old cat used to snuggle around the back of the toilet. My current cats head to the basement. If they have plenty of water and fans, they'll be fine. If you find the cat hanging out somewhere unusual like that, put a water bowl in the vicinity.
posted by xsquared-1 at 11:27 AM on August 29, 2009

If it's your cat's first time with this kind of heat, you might have to suggest the tile floor to her. If it's really hot and the cat seems listless, try moving her to the bathroom & see what happens.
posted by amtho at 11:51 AM on August 29, 2009

Anecdotal: I live on the 5th floor in Providence, where the heat in degrees Fahrenheit and humidity both can reach 90 in the summer. For part of the summer, our air conditioning was busted.

The cats fared much better than the humans when the apartment temp hovered around 92. They are still alive.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 12:12 PM on August 29, 2009

I've heard that cats originally came from Mesopotamia and Egypt. They are desert creatures.
posted by conrad53 at 12:24 PM on August 29, 2009

My cat was seeking out sun puddles to lie down in when it was 80F inside my house yesterday. Unless your cat has underlying health issues she can take much more heat than you can.
posted by jet_silver at 1:04 PM on August 29, 2009

The cats fared much better than the humans when the apartment temp hovered around 92. They are still alive.

Putting these together, you're posting from beyond the grave?

But yes, if 80F killed cats, nobody in the US outside of a few extremely mild-climated places (like SF) would have been able to keep cats.

Much less Egypt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:06 PM on August 29, 2009 [5 favorites]

Cats tolerate heat better than people do. Had a friend who was a metal artist and worked in an un-air-conditioned forge where the temperature was often above 110 degrees. His cats were quite comfortable, and two of them were long-haired. Your cats will be fine.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:26 PM on August 29, 2009 [1 favorite]

Cats, in there natural condition, live in very hot climates. They come from Northern Egypt and around there. They are naturally adapted to be in heat.
posted by charlesminus at 2:21 PM on August 29, 2009

Nthing the "cats are fine." Because it's 110 around here, I leave the house at 84 on weekdays while I'm gone (80 when I'm home). Both my cats, even the long hair, are just fine. The only caveat is to make sure to leave them plenty of water.

Oddly enough, even when it's 84 in the house, the cats will want to curl up on my lap. So 84 ambient plus 98 lap = cats are freaky critters.
posted by krisak at 2:37 PM on August 29, 2009

Oh, and if you're really worried, just put a fan in the window. They'll be able to run the air over their ears to radiate heat if need be.

Actually, I'd put a fan in the window anyway, just for your comfort.
posted by krisak at 2:38 PM on August 29, 2009

During the big blackout of 2003, our cat let us know when she was feeling overheated by laying on the floor in what was normally the path of the window unit air conditioner. Then she'd look over her shoulder pointedly at me and Mr. Adams as if to say"What's wrong with you? Turn on the cold air!" We soaked some paper towels in cold water, wrung them out, and rubbed her down several times per day to keep her comfortable. Also put ice cubes in her water dish, which apparently started a trend, because to this day she'll meow loudly in protest if she goes for a drink and there is no ice in her dish.
posted by Oriole Adams at 3:43 PM on August 29, 2009

Nthing cats will be fine. Vancouver just had a heat wave last month where the temps hit 100, and of course no one here has AC either. My three black cats were grumpy and did nothing but sleep on the cool tile floor of the bathroom, but they were fine. Make sure they have access to tons of fresh water. They'll need more than you think they'll need; they'll drink a lot and it evaporates fast in those conditions.
posted by cgg at 5:34 PM on August 29, 2009

(Oh -- the other thing I did for my cats during the heat wave? I pureed some tuna with water, put the tuna goo in an ice cube tray and essentially made tuna icecubes. I put the cubes a few at a time in a big tupperware dish on the floor, and let the cats at them. They loved them!)
posted by cgg at 5:39 PM on August 29, 2009 [3 favorites]

Here in NC, we keep our air conditioner set at 80 and one of the cats likes to sit on me to stay warm. Our black cat likes to be outside in the sun on 100+ degree days with 85% humidity.
posted by hydropsyche at 8:51 PM on August 29, 2009

If you cat does appear hot and distressed, rub her belly and the inside of her back legs with ice. If she won't drink water, soak her front paws so she will lick the water.

There is almost no chance your cat will be hot and distressed.

If you cannot open windows because you don't have screens, go to a hardware store or big box store and get a fan like this.
posted by Lesser Shrew at 9:11 AM on August 30, 2009

Response by poster: OK, you were all right. I put some ice cubes in her water dish and my cat survived. Furthermore, when I came home she was lying in possibly the hotest place in our apartment, right in the sun.

Cats are weird.
posted by firemonkey at 3:10 PM on September 12, 2009

If you turn on fans and give your cat frozen water bottles to lay by, it should be fine.
posted by AOTF at 2:48 PM on September 14, 2009

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