Keeping your cat cool in Dubai in the summer months
Keeping a cat in Dubai certainly has its perks - sunny days and stunning surroundings to mention a few! The wonderful weather, however, can prove a bit of a challenge for some cats, especially during peak temperatures. The hottest months are usually June to August when temperatures of over 43’C are common. In June 2021, temperatures over 50’C in the shade were recorded. So, you can imagine that in Dubai, even the coolest cat might feel a little bit frazzled! An added challenge is the humidity which can rise up to 90%. The higher the humidity is, the harder it is to lose body heat and cool down.
Why should I keep my cat cool?
While our beloved pet cats are descended from desert animals they are definitely not immune to overheating, especially when faced with a double whammy of high heat and humidity. Read on to discover why cats may be affected and how to prevent overheating.
Not sweaty enough
There is a reason our cats are such squeaky clean creatures - they only sweat from their paw pads! Sadly, those tiny pads are ineffective when your cat needs to cool down quickly. So, when temperatures begin to rise they will lick their coat. Damp fur gives a similar effect to sweating. However, this method means drinking lots more water than normal. If licking is still not enough to get cool, our little kitties will ramp up their response - and start panting like a dog. It is normal for your cat to sometimes pant after a mad dash or crazy playtime. But if you notice your cat panting in warm weather this is a warning sign that they are starting to overheat so don’t ignore it.
While our beloved pet cats are descended from desert animals they are definitely not immune to overheating, especially when faced with a double whammy of high heat and humidity.
Is my cat at risk?
While any cat can suffer from overheating some breeds are more prone. This includes flat-faced breeds such as Persians and breeds with thick fur. Overweight cats, young kittens, and geriatrics are more sensitive, just like humans. For these cats, and any with a health condition, plan ahead for the hottest season so you are well prepared to keep them chilled out.
How do I know when my cat is too hot?
‘Heat exhaustion’ occurs when a cat overheats and must be treated quickly by cooling them down. Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to ‘heat stroke’ which is very serious. Heat stroke happens when your cat can no longer control their inner temperature. It can lead to life-threatening organ failure, so must always be treated as an emergency. See below for signs and tips on how to prevent overheating.
‘Heat exhaustion’ occurs when a cat overheats and must be treated quickly by cooling them down. Untreated heat exhaustion can lead to ‘heat stroke’ which is very serious.
Signs of Heat Exhaustion
- Looking for shade or water
- Red gums or tongue
- High heart rate
Signs of Heat Stroke
- Breathing difficulties
- Seizures or tremors
- Red skin
- Bright red gums
- Diarrhoea or vomiting
- Little to no urine passed
Preventing heat stroke
As a loving pet parent, it is important to familiarise yourself with these common causes of heatstroke to keep your kitty safe from the high summer temperatures in Dubai.
- No access to shade
- Too much exercise
- Drinking too little water
- High-temperature environment
- High humidity environment
- Too little ventilation
A cat inside a vehicle will experience most of these. If you must travel with your cat ensure they are supervised and have air conditioning, fresh air supply, and access to water. Never leave your cat unattended in a vehicle.
Keeping kitty cool
Give your cat easy access to a continuous supply of clean water with multiple bowls or a cat fountain. You can encourage curiosity and cooling by adding an ice cube to a water bowl.
Shady rooms, air conditioning, and drawing the blinds all give a cooler environment. Make sure there is a good air supply to the room. Keep your cat out of greenhouses and conservatories as they collect heat fast.
Inbuilt ventilation systems are fantastic for keeping your cat healthy in hot weather. Alternatively, keep windows open on the shaded sides of the building. This allows cooler air in. Use cat-proof window fastenings or vent guards for any escape artists. Otherwise, ventilate rooms regularly or use a fan.
Cool Hiding place
Encourage your cat to chill out with open access to a cooling mat in a hidden corner of a well-ventilated, well-shaded room.
Air con or fans
Ceiling fans and air-con are great indoor heat reduction methods to keep kitty cool. If it is safe to do so, leave them on when you are out.
When hot, it is safer to encourage your pet to play inside in the shade, especially if you can control the indoor temperature. If they must go outside, keep them in the shade, keep monitoring them and avoid areas with concrete, asphalt, and sand. These surfaces reflect more heat and are extremely hot to the touch.
Overweight cats are more at risk of overheating so talk to your veterinarian about the ideal weight for your cat and how to help them reach it.
Check on your cat a few times daily to see how they are coping and make sure they have not escaped to somewhere cooler. Cats get trapped in colder places such as garages, underground, or behind cupboards. Ensure your cat has a microchip in case you need to find them.
Kitty ice creams
Make cooling ice pops by freezing water mixed with a little juice from your cat’s favourite treat! You can use tuna in spring water or some stock. Add this to water then freeze in an ice cube tray. Make sure to supervise safe play. You can add in treats before freezing for more fun.
What to do if my cat is hot?
- Immediately move your cat to somewhere cool and well-ventilated, or use a fan.
- Shower, pour, or hose tepid (not cold) water on them. Or cover with water-soaked towels and change every 5 minutes as they heat up quickly.
- Encourage small sips of water if they will drink
- Call your vet immediately as overheating can progress to heat stroke despite cooling so your cat needs to be assessed.
- Do not use ice-cold water as this can cause shock and leads to even more overheating.
If your cat gets early treatment this will help prevent heatstroke. Keeping your cat happy and healthy in Dubai summertime is simple once you know how to protect them from the tropical heat!
Be a cool cat in Dubai
Any cat, even young and healthy, can experience heat stroke but there are many ways to protect your cat from overheating. Ensuring your cat is a healthy weight and has regular checks to identify any health concerns early, will help you safely prepare. Planning and preparation are the keys to helping your kitty cope with Dubai summertime. Knowing how to identify the early signs of overheating will help you catch the condition early before it progresses. If your cat gets early treatment this will help prevent heatstroke. Keeping your cat happy and healthy in Dubai summertime is simple once you know how to protect them from the tropical heat!