What is the Ideal Temperature for a Cat?

a cat walking in the snow

Given we’re getting into the heart of winter here in Chicago I was wondering what’s the right temperature for my cats. Especially when I’m gone during the day at work and nobody is home.

Is it alright to let it cool down to 65? Or maybe even a bit lower? Or will my feline friends get too chilly?

On the opposite side of things this got me thinking about when summer rolls back around. Do I need to keep the AC on a low temperature, or is it ok to let it get up there pretty high?

My understanding is cats originally came from being desert hunters, but does that mean that they can handle the highs and lows that come with living in a desert environment too?

So what is the ideal temperature for a cat? Let’s dig into this in a bit more detail. If you happen to be looking for details on cat body temperature then check out this article here from PetMD.

How Cold Before Your Cat Complains?

Most domestic cats are going to complain if the temperature gets any lower than 60 degrees unless they have a nice warm cuddly spot to hang out.

If you live in an extra cold environment, especially in the winter, you’ll want to make sure that you’ve got some warm cuddly blankets available for your feline friend.

a cat under a blanket

My personal favorite is to provide a cave for my cats because they each like to cuddle up in nice dark warm spots anyway.

You’ll of course be able to fiddle with this temperature a little bit depending on the type of cat you have. If you have a huge fluffy Norwegian Forrest Cat then you probably won’t have as much of a problem at 60 degrees as you will with a standard Domestic Short Hair.

If you're truly worried about your cat being chilly you can also always ensure your cat has a very warm place to sleep. There are hundreds of cat beds on the market, but finding the right one can make all the difference both in general use and in making sure your cat stays nice and cuddly warm.

Be sure to check out my article on the top cat beds on the market if you're curious about good ones to choose from!

You might consider a heated cat bed if your place gets really chilly. Or if you just happen to find that your cat sleeps on top of you for warmth and it is interrupting your sleeping.

My little fur ball Beast loves to sleep right next to me on the bed which makes me hot as can be. Given this I tried a heated cat bad and voila she decided that was the place to be! If you're interested you can check out my article on the best heated cat beds.

Most heated cat beds run on low electricity and they are also designed to only turn on when the cat is in them. This means they aren't running up your electric bill all night long if your cat is sleeping out on the couch.

What About the Hot Side of Things?

Similar to the above, there’s no specific temperature where every cat will be too hot.  It’ll obviously vary if you have a Sphynx versus a Maine Coon.  That being said there’s a good rule of thumb that cats are generally comfortable up until about 80 degrees Fahrenheit and after that they might start to get too hot.

How Much Water Should A Cat Drink a Day

If you notice your kitty seems uncomfortable with the heat then you can help in a lot of different ways. The best one is to ensure your cat has a constant supply of fresh water. Cat water fountains can help ensure your kitty drinks plenty of water.

You can drop ice cubes into the water to ensure that it stays cool.  A running water supply usually helps your cat drink more consistently.

There are also special pads and mats out there made for cats to help keep them cool in the summer. They work based on simply physics and thermodynamics and will provide several hours of cooler temperatures than whatever the air temperature is in the room.

Be sure to find one that is completely free of toxins and such in case your kitty decides to chew on it or accidentally punctures it with his or her nails.

One additional thing you can do is wipe your cat down with a nice cool washcloth. Just dunk it in some cold water with ice cubes in it and wipe your feline friend down. This is good for removing excess fur, but it will also help your cat cool down a degree or two.

How Will My Cat Let Me Know If the Temperature Isn’t Right?

Cats are kings and queens of making themselves comfortable. If the temperature isn’t just right they’ll initially compensate by choosing a new spot that makes them more comfortable.

You’ll often see cats moving across the room throughout the day so they can continually lay in the sunny spot on the floor if they aren’t warm enough.

You might also run into cats that love to cuddle themselves right up under a blanket head and all, this could be a sign your kitty is too cold! You might also see them hop into tight spots like the ones we call caves to get a nice warm nap in.

a cat in the cave part of a condo

Or if your house gets a ton of natural light and heats up pretty quickly you may notice your cat hiding in shady spots or laying right near your AC vents. Either way cats will try to find a comfy spot on their own.

If a cat can’t find a good spot because the temperatures simply aren’t bearable no matter where they go then some cats will let you know vocally. Meaning they’ll basically meow up a storm.

You might have to figure this out by trial and error, but if you happen to find that late at night when you let the heat turn off your cat meows constantly and is cuddled up right next to you that might be a pretty darn good hint that she is chilly!

Your cat's body position can also help you figure out how your feline friend is doing. When cats are cold they’ll curl up in a ball with all their paws and such wrapped up tight.

If your cat is a bit warm they’ll likely sprawl out and they’ll likely choose a good spot for it like a tile floor that might be a bit cooler than the rest of the house.

Anything Else I Should Consider?

Age and health are two other considerations to take into account. Most cats tend to lose weight as they grow older and this results in a loss of body fat. No surprise, just like us humans, the less body fat you have the more likely you are to get cold more easily.

two senior cats grooming

Having extra blankets available or even a cat bed warmer is a good idea to help your elderly cats’ joints stay more mobile. Cat warmer beds are very similar to a heating pad for a human, they use a little electricity to warm a spot up for your cat.

The same can be true of a cat that might be will. Any creature with a rundown immune system will typically struggle to stay comfortable compared to their healthy counterparts so be sure to account for this if your kitty is in a tough position from a health standpoint.

Wrapping it Up on The Best Temperature for Cats

While there will be obvious differences in the right temperature for your cat depending on short hair, long hair or no hair at all, it is safe to say there are some good windows to work within where most cats will be comfortable.

That’s usually in the range of 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit. For anyone reading outside the United States that’s about 15-25 Celsius.

You should monitor your cat and keep eyes out for signs that he or she might be uncomfortable and adjust your temperatures from there. It is pretty safe to say that if you are freezing cold your cat is likely to be chilly too.  The same goes for if you are extremely hot!

What temperatures do your cats like? Do they like it extra warm or do they get chilly when it drops below 65 degrees? Every cat is different and we’d love to hear about your cat!

If you have any experiences you’d like to share about your cat at the temperatures he or she is comfortable at then please let me know by leaving a comment below.

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