How to Keep Your Cat Cool In The Summer

If you’re overheating in the summer weather there’s a good chance your feline friend is too!  While cats originally came from the desert that doesn’t mean they are still used to the scorching hot temperatures that come with desert living.  Cats have a comfortable temperature range somewhere between X and Y degrees. The fluffier your cat is the more likely they’ll start getting uncomfortable in the hot weather. Just like us humans your cat get into pretty serious danger if they get too hot, they can suffer from anything as simple as dehydration all the way to organ failure.  So what are we humans to do?

While the obvious answer is keep them cool it might not be so simple to keep your cat cool. Some of us have the benefit of an air conditioned household there are plenty of folks out there who don’t have AC or who have cats that might spend a good chunk of time outside where we can’t control the temperature one bit!  Given this let’s talk a little bit about keeping your feline friend nice and cool in the hot weather!

The Most Common Options:

Air Conditioning: The most likely solution is to leave your AC at a workable temperature for your cat(s) during the day. That being said, running AC is expensive and it is incredibly wasteful to run it for an entire house if your cat is the only one home. If this isn’t a good option for you there are plenty of other ways to help keep your furball cool on the hot summer days.

ice cubesIce: While it may seem obvious, do your best to drop a few ice cubes in your cats bowl at the begging of the day. If you’re using a water fountain for your cat you can just as easily drop the ice cubes into the reservoir of the fountain. It shouldn’t cause any problem for the pump if there’s sufficient water to ensure the cubes stay high up over the intake.  The Catit Water Fountain is perfect for this because the pump draws water in from the side where the cubes will never sit.

Fans: A great option that uses up a heck of a lot electricity than AC and will help keep your cat cool. Not only can you place a fan so it circulates air in your cat’s favorite resting places, but you can also place them in open windows to keep air moving. If you do decide to use the windows be sure to place fans so that the fans creating a draft throughout the house to help keep things cool.

The Basement: If you’re fortunate enough to have a basement it can be a huge perk in the summer months.  Leave your basement door open for your cat to go relax in the coolest part of the house! If you don’t normally let your cat down in the basement be sure to check for any potential hazards (chemicals or tools that might be out and about) and be sure the space is safe for your cat first.

Window Shades: Your house acts just like a car in the sun, just on a much larger scale.  The longer the sun shines through your windows the more it heats up throughout the day. Be sure to close the shades on your windows before you leave for the day to help keep the amount of sunlight down.

Hands On Approaches:

wash clothCool Damp Towels: If you’re home and you know your cat is hot you can also cool down a wash cloth or towel with cold water from the sink (few free to drop a few ice cubes in as well) and then give your cat a quick rub down. Note your towel will likely come away covered in cat hair so be sure not to use your wife’s guest towels, but it should also help cool your furball down a bit.

Grooming: First off, definitely don’t fully shave your cat. It is dangerous for their skin because it exposes them to sunburn. That being said a constant grooming schedule including a good brushing helps remove some of the extra loose fur on their body. This is especially true for long haired cats that can develop lots of extra fluff and need more brushing help. Not only is this good for minimizing hairballs, but it’ll help cool them off too.

A Cool Bath: We all know that most cats don’t particularly love baths (those of you with cats that love them have a leg up here), but a cool bath can also be a nice respite from the heat. You can use room temperature tap water (usually a lot cooler than the air) to help give your cat a nice break. Definitely don’t add ice to the water and be sure to help dry your cat off a bit after! If you have never bathed a cat before be sure to check out this great how to guide from WikiHow.

A Catsicle: You can create a catsicle (cat popsicle) per this awesome guide from Catster. While I haven’t tasted one of these myself they sound like they’d probably be a wonderful treat for a furry cat on a hot day!

The High Tech Approach:

Cooling Cat Pads: If you’re wondering how to keep your cat cool in the summer, but you want to do it the high tech way then look no further. You know how there are car seats that keep your butt cool now?  Picture the same for a cat.  These don’t work in quite the same way because they aren’t electrical, but these cooling pads are pretty slick and they’re totally safe for your cat. This is one of the best ones out there (even though it has a picture of a dog it is for cats too!). These pads work based on the laws of nature and will keep your cat cool for a few hours at a time before requiring a ‘break’ to work again.

Outdoor Cats Need Support Too:

Shade: Providing shade should be priority number one for your cat if they’re an outdoor cat.  Ensuring there are safe cool places should be pretty easy as most plants and trees provide great starting points. If you have a garden you can also consider some of the bigger plants I mention that are safe for cats in this article. Particulars include things like squashes & pumpkins because they develop huge leafy coverage your cat can hide under on a sunny day.

Fresh Water: Always be sure your cat has access to a fresh and clean water supply.  Dropping ice cubes in the water outside can be just as helpful as it is to your indoor kitty.

A few other items worth noting:

While all of the above are great options there are a few other things you’ll want to consider when thinking about how to keep your cat cool in the summer. I’ve outlined a few additional items below worth keeping in mind:

  • thermometer showing 120 degreesIce Packs: A handmade ice pack made out of a water bottle or a bag filled with ice cubes can definitely be placed in your cats favorite place to sleep to help keep them cool. That being said you’ll want to be careful of using any of the ice packs that have chemicals or gels inside of them unless your cat is supervised the whole time or unless it is specifically noted as non-toxic. If your kitty decides to get mischievous and break them open they could easily end up very sick.
  • Play Time: If your cat has play time on a daily basis be sure to shift that play time to a later cooler part of the day. If your cat gets amped up and exercises a bunch when they are already really hot they’re more likely to get dehydrated and get themselves into trouble.
  • Cars: If you do so have to travel in the summer heat be sure to never leave your cat in a parked car alone. If you need to leave the car then take your cat with you. Just like kids and dogs, plants even, cats left in a parked car in the sun will quickly become incredibly hot and could die if left alone. NEVER leave your cat in a parked car alone.
  • Hire Some Help: You can always hire a guy with one of those big leafs to constantly fan your cat. Given most cats believe they are king or queen of the household this might make your cat feel like they’ve finally arrived while also staying cool as a cucumber.

Let’s wrap things up!

While cats may have come from the desert historically, our resident house cats aren’t built to handle desert temperatures!  We need to keep an eye out for their best interest as well as we can. Here’s a quick list of signs you should keep an eye out for on hot summer days. If you see any of these signs definitely do your best to get your cat to your vet straight away:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Breathing trouble

The above are all signs that your kitty might be suffering from a heatstroke which can cause significant long term damage. Err on the side of safety if you’re not sure and give your vet a call!

If you have any other novel ideas or thoughts on how to keep your cat cool in the summer days please do share them below or email me directly at so I can get them added to the list.


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16 thoughts on “How to Keep Your Cat Cool In The Summer

  • August 17, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I really liked the “high tech way” to cool a cat lol 🙂
    I have never thought about this original solution. As in France, the apartments get really hot in the summer, with bad isolation, it can get quite hot especially when you live on the last floor…

    Thanks for sharing these cool tips. Great reading

    • August 17, 2017 at 8:15 pm

      Yes! I’m waiting to see them come out with the electric version of the cooling bed. They now have car seats that cool down, I’m sure pet beds are only a short period of time away…

  • August 17, 2017 at 1:13 pm

    Hey Craig, I had no idea that cats originally came from the desert! That is so cool, and just makes me like them even more!

    I think that having a variety of options for keeping your cats cool is a good idea so that you always have something to fall back on. For example, my parents live out on a farm, and they have several cats. To help keep them cool outside, my parents have a barn that stays pretty cool that the cats use.

    But they also water them everyday to make sure they are always staying hydrated. Water is one of those things you don’t really think about, until you’re dying to get some. Best to make sure the cats have enough too!

    When it comes to grooming your cat to make sure you get all of that excess hair brushed off, how often would you recommend doing it? It is a daily thing?

    • August 17, 2017 at 8:14 pm

      Cool! I always love when I meet barn cats out and about. My wife takes riding lessons every week and they have 3 barn cats there that are super into people and just roam wherever.

      As for grooming, I’d aim for daily if you can. You don’t need to brush a ton of hair out of your cat if you do it daily. If you can’t go daily aim for 2-3 times weekly.

  • August 17, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for these tips. My parents moved and their new place gets quite hot and the cat doesn’t seem to like it. He meows a lot. My parents already use fans but I will suggest that they start using cool damp towels and see if this helps. I’m wondering how he will react as he can’t stand baths. Hopefully he won’t hiss and attack. Their cat already got mad at me once and he still is mad at me to this day. :/

    • August 17, 2017 at 8:12 pm

      A damn cloth shouldn’t be nearly as traumatizing of an experience as a bath can be for your cat. Let me know how it works out!

  • August 18, 2017 at 1:39 am

    I have two cats and I do not even attempt to give them a bath. My ex girlfriend tried to do that one day and she got scratched up real bad. You have orange tabby cats also because the picture looks just like my cat? I wish I had more time to play with my cats but I have been so busy lately. Hiring some help maybe a good idea.

    • August 20, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      Yeah, to give your cat a bath you have to be incredibly careful and you might be better off with just a wet cloth unless it is an absolute necessity (because of a skunk spraying or something).

      The cat in the picture there is not mine, mine are on the about me page here, I have a black longhair and a gray shorthair. I also foster all the time so I often end up with lots of random cats at my house.

  • August 18, 2017 at 6:38 am

    Hello Craig,

    These are great ideas! I am in Alaska so this is rarely a problem for us but on the hottest days of summer they can be. When it is in the 80’s outside and it can be even hotter inside (yes, it does get that hot here!) my long hair cat likes to sit directly in front of the fans. Even when it isn’t hot he will sit directly in front of the air filter fan. He just likes it!

    I did not know those cooling mats exist. I need to get one for myself! I have chronic bursitis in my hips and use ice packs every night to sleep. I wonder if one of these would work in other places. Not cold enough to replace ice but they might be handy for a little cooling like on a car seat or chair.

    Thanks for all the great idea to keep our kitties cool!

    • August 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm

      They should certainly work for limited cooling purposes, but you’re absolutely right, they won’t be a replacement for your standard ice packs by any means.

      Glad you found the information helpful and thank you for stopping by!

  • August 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    This is a very interesting post! As someone else mentioned in the comments, I had no idea cats came from the desert either! Learned something new today 🙂 Very good tips as well. I don’t have any pets but I always hear that cats don’t require much attention. Of course, you still need to take care of them and make sure they’re comfortable 🙂

    • August 20, 2017 at 7:42 pm

      While there’s certainly no guarantee it is 100% accurate to say they came from the desert, it seems very likely given much research. The first records of cats were found near the fertile crescent areas of the world, right where farming started, but it is suspected they might have wandered out of the desert to join our human friends when they started farming in those areas. Check out this info from National Geographic for some more details:

  • October 30, 2017 at 12:28 pm

    Hiya. I have two cats Filly and Molly, They’re mother and daughter so one looks after the other, I live in Ireland so the weather here is alot cooler but when it.s warm, the cats either go under the wooden shed which is located out in the back garden or they come indoors. so they have been well looked after. anyway. I love your site on everything related to cats in which I will come back again soon. Thanks for sharing this 🙂

    • October 30, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      Ah! Nice that you have that option available. My cats are with me in downtown Chicago. Fortunately here most apartments have air conditioning, but some don’t and it can get really hot and humid here in the middle of summer.

  • April 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    I have two girls and during the winter they have figured out how to turn on my electric blanket on the bed if they get too cold. During the summer my older girl KMAG who is more fluffy will go lay on the vents for the A/C and cry until I break down and turn it on for her. She used to lay down in the bath tub to cool off but then she figured out how to turn the water on and plug the drain ( all she has to do is step on it) so I have to close all the bathroom doors if I am leaving for the day. During the summer she will hop in the shower with me, if I close the master bathroom door she cries and head butts it. If I try to give her sister Min a bath it takes forever to find her because she hides as soon as I start filling the tub with water. However, Kmag will come running when I start to fill the tub and if I try to drain the tub before she is ready to get out then she will just plug the drain until she is ready to get out. It is odd how her behavior to water has changed. She used to live with my best friend and helped him with his PTSD until he passed away and she came to live with me. When she lived with him it took both of us to get her in the tub and we always came out soaked. Now it is one of her favorite things.

    • April 24, 2019 at 6:15 am

      Wow! Now that’s quite a story! Thanks for sharing.

      You should definitely submit Kmag to us as Cat Of the WEek, she sounds like quite the character and I bet you have lots of fun stories of her.

      You might also want to check out one of these cat cooling pads to see if Kmag would go for that instead of the tub.


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