Posted on: August 12th, 2014 by Dr. Dale Rubenstein

It’s August, and although this summer has not been as hot as usual in the central Maryland area, it’s important to think about summer heat safety for your cat before heading out for a ride. With another month of summer weather left, we’re bound to get some 90 degree days.

When 3-year old Zorro came in for a routine exam and to have the long hair clipped under his tail, his owner thought since she lived nearby, she didn’t need to worry about cooling off the car before driving over. It was a warm day, and Zorro proceeded to share Dawn’s water bottle, licking the water she put into the cap of the bottle. Concerned about Zorro, we immediately offered him a bowl of water and he drank the entire bowl. It is rare to see a young, healthy cat drink water during an office visit, so we checked kidney function and tested for diabetes, but all was normal.

Our cats, especially those used to air conditioning indoors are not acclimated to extremely warm temperatures. And, even cats who go outdoors usually stay in the shade to avoid very high temperatures.

While cats are less likely than Fido the dog to want to accompany us in the car, it is important to remember how sensitive our pets are to hot weather. If your cat is traveling with you in the car, no stops “even for 5 minutes”, unless you are able to leave the car running and air conditioning on. Cars heat up quickly, even with the windows cracked! Heat stroke is very serious and often irreversible. So, if it is hot for you, your cat is just as affected by extreme heat.