Tips for Keeping Cats Cool: What You Need to Know to Survive Japan's Hot Summer

Tips for Keeping Cats Cool: What You Need to Know to Survive Japan's Hot Summer

In recent years, there have been more days in Japan with scorching temperatures exceeding 35 degrees Celsius.

Cats are often thought to be heat-resistant, but in reality, they are not that resilient to extreme heat.

Especially in Japan's humid climate during the summer, it can be tough for cats.

So, this time, we'll introduce tips for keeping cats cool during Japan's hot summer to make their lives more comfortable.

 

Table of Contents

1. Techniques for Regulating a Cat's Body Temperature
2. Tips for Keeping Cats Cool
∟ 2-1. How to Use Air Conditioning Wisely
∟ 2-2. Blocking Direct Sunlight with Curtains
∟ 2-3. Ensure Fresh Water is Always Available
3. Is a Summer Cat Cut an Effective Cooling Method?
4. Cooling Gear That Cats Will Love
Conclusion

 

1. Techniques for Regulating a Cat's Body Temperature

When cats groom themselves, it's not only to keep their bodies clean but also to regulate their body temperature.

Licking their fur moistens it, and as the saliva evaporates, it helps dissipate heat from their bodies.

This is how they prevent their body temperature from rising too much.

Cats' ancestors, such as the African Wildcat, lived in desert areas, which may lead people to believe that cats are highly heat-resistant.

However, the reality is that they are not that heat-resistant.

Actually, in Japan's high humidity during the summer, wet fur does not dry efficiently, making it difficult for them to regulate their body temperature.

In other words, despite lower temperatures compared to deserts, the high humidity of Japan's summer makes it an unfavorable environment for cats.

That's why proper temperature management is necessary.

 

2. Tips for Keeping Cats Cool

Cats are said to be comfortable in temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius and humidity between 50 to 60%.

However, in most regions of Japan during the summer, both temperature and humidity often exceed these comfortable ranges.

Considering this, keeping a cat without any measures against the heat during the summer is unwise.


 

2-1. How to Use Air Conditioning Wisely

Most of a cat's sweat glands are on their paw pads, so they can't cool down their bodies by exposing them to the wind.

In other words, using a fan won't help them regulate their body temperature.

Therefore, the most effective way to combat the heat is to use air conditioning.

Set the air conditioner to around 26 degrees Celsius to prevent overheating.

It's recommended to set it about 2 degrees higher than what humans find comfortable.

Many cats don't like direct airflow from air conditioners, so ensure that their favorite places, like cat towers or nap spots, are not in the path of the cool air.

Also, when leaving your cat home alone, be careful not to leave the air conditioner remote within their reach.

Cats might climb on it or play with it, accidentally turning it off.

To prevent such issues, it's best to hide the remote in a drawer or another inaccessible place.

Cats are good at finding comfortable spots (ideal temperatures), so keep doors open if they need to move to a warmer place.


 

2-2. Blocking Direct Sunlight with Curtains

Rooms with direct sunlight tend to have higher temperatures.

In such cases, close the curtains to block sunlight.

Even partially blocking direct sunlight can help reduce the rise in room temperature.

If possible, create shade indoors using furniture or other means to make your cat's favorite spots more comfortable.


 

2-3. Ensure Fresh Water is Always Available

Cats are not very sensitive to thirst and are prone to becoming dehydrated.

Dehydration can lead to heatstroke, and conversely, heatstroke can lead to dehydration.

Therefore, ensuring that your cat has access to an adequate amount of fresh water at all times is crucial.

Additionally, consider increasing their water intake with these methods:

  • ・Place water bowls in multiple locations
  • ・Use an automatic water dispenser
  • ・Provide wet cat food
  • ・Offer soaked dry cat food

An easy way to increase water intake is to place multiple water bowls in different areas where your cat frequents.

If your cat is curious, they may be interested in trying a bowl that looks different from their usual one.

For cats who prefer flowing water, an automatic water dispenser can be effective.

Cleaning it regularly is essential, but many cat owners have reported an increase in water consumption when using one.

If your cat doesn't drink much water, consider offering wet cat food.

While dry cat food contains about 10% moisture, wet cat food contains about 75-80% moisture.

You can replace one meal a day with wet food or use it in combination with dry food to increase their water intake.

You can also moisten dry food by adding lukewarm water at around 40 degrees Celsius, letting it sit for 15-30 minutes to soften before feeding.

This method won't provide a large amount of extra moisture, but it can be helpful for cats who don't like to drink much water.

 

3. Is a Summer Cat Cut an Effective Cooling Method?

Cutting a long-haired cat's fur short to help them stay cool during hot summers is a practice some cat owners consider.

However, it's not highly recommended for several reasons.

As mentioned earlier, cats regulate their body temperature by grooming themselves.

When their fur is shaved off, they lose the ability to regulate their temperature effectively.

Cats have evolved to handle heat and cold by going through shedding cycles, so getting a summer cut does not eliminate the need for air conditioning.

On the contrary, shaving the fur may lead to the following disadvantages:

  • ・Direct sunlight on the skin can cause skin problems and sunburn
  • ・Cats can experience high stress when restrained for grooming
  • ・Excessive grooming may disrupt proper fur growth
  • ・Rough licking with a bare tongue can damage the skin

While shaving the fur may provide some relief from the heat, it's not a significant improvement. When considering a summer cut, it's best to think it through.

 

4. Cooling Gear That Cats Will Love

It's recommended to use cooling items to help cats stay comfortable in the heat. Some options include:

  • ・Aluminum or marble mats or beds
  • ・Water bottles filled with frozen water

Materials like aluminum and marble have high thermal conductivity and can efficiently dissipate body heat.

Simply lying on them provides a refreshing and comfortable feeling for cats, making them popular as cat beds and nap spots during the summer.

They are easy to clean and maintain, ensuring hygiene.

For a more straightforward solution, consider placing water bottles filled with frozen water in areas where your cat usually relaxes.

However, avoid direct contact with the bottle, as it can become too cold. Use a towel or other covering when offering it to your cat.

Additionally, there are high-tech items such as beds made from cooling materials or smart pet houses that can be controlled via smartphones. Choose according to your living environment and preferences.

 

Conclusion

Cats are comfortable in temperatures ranging from 20 to 28 degrees Celsius and humidity between 50 to 60%.

Therefore, Japan's hot and humid summers can be challenging for cats.

To ensure your cat's comfort, make effective use of air conditioning (set at around 26 degrees Celsius).

Also, it's essential to provide access to fresh water at all times to prevent dehydration and heatstroke.

If you notice symptoms such as "open-mouthed panting, loss of appetite, restlessness," it could be early signs of heatstroke.

If you observe symptoms like "vomiting, diarrhea, wobbling, high fever," your cat may already be experiencing heatstroke.

In such cases, do not wait and seek immediate veterinary attention.

 

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