Some people find the heat very wearing. But how do our domestic tigers feel about high temperatures?
As animals whose ancestors came from the desert, they can actually cope quite well with summer conditions. All the same, you must never leave a cat on its own in an overheated room, still less in a closed car – cats too can suffer heatstroke!
The sweat glands of cats are located in the area of the lips, on the anus, around the mammary ridge and above all on the balls of the paws. The cat’s ears also dissipate heat.
At the beginning of spring the cat starts to grow a lighter summer coat.
It is particularly important with long-haired cats to encourage the change of coat by regular brushing. This is because the cat can swallow too many hairs when licking itself, and these can then lodge in the digestive tract in the form of fur balls. Here it is a help if you make sure that your cat has access to cat grass (you can find it in garden centres, sometimes as an indoor pot plant) – this helps the cat’s digestion. Sometimes on very hot days cats lick their fur with particular intensity, and moisturise it in this way. The resulting evaporation helps to cool them down. They may sometimes pant a little, with their mouths open – this has the same effect.
When it is hot, cats sleep more than ever. Just like human beings, they favour quiet and shady places for a nap – on cool stone tiles, for example. It is very important to make sure that they have sufficient sources of water. Milk is unsuitable, as it goes off quickly, and it does not agree with all cats. In hot weather cats need more water than at other times, and are happy to help themselves from watering cans, plant saucers or bird baths. Indoors you should take care to provide sufficient toilet facilities – these must be clean and easily accessible.