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How to Keep Cats Cool in the Summer

keep cats cool in summer

How to keep cats cool in the summer

In Chicago, you can tell it’s summer by how many people you see drinking on patios.

In our house, you can tell it’s summer by how many cats you see flopping on the floor. 

Normally, our cats love napping on couches, blankets, beds—basically anything soft and cozy. But as soon as the temps rise, they hit the floor. 

This is because even indoor cats feel the effects of summer, particularly on super hot days. You might notice they drink more water, avoid their usual sunny spots, or even stop sleeping in bed with you (the audacity!).

With the city *finally* starting to warm up, here are a few ways to keep cats cool:

Make a Cave

Nine months out of the year, our long-haired cat Fitz couldn’t care less about coming into my bedroom (offense taken). But as soon as summer hits, he moves right in. While we get a fair amount of light in our apartment, my room gets very little sun. It’s dark and cool and cave-like, making it the perfect summer retreat for one longhaired kitty—and one very moody adult.

If you have cats, make sure you’ve got a room like this in your home. A dark, cool place where they can hunker down and escape the sun for a bit. Even when we’re not home, we leave the ceiling fan on high so Fitz can feel the wind in his beard. 

Groom Often

One easy way to keep your cat cool is to brush them. Long-haired cats like Fitz have thick undercoats, which trap in heat. By regularly brushing Fitz (he demands no fewer than three sessions per day), we help him shed all that extra fluff, thus keeping him cool—and ridiculously handsome.

Some of my favorite brushes include:

Glove brushes for sensitive kitties. My cats don’t really love to be brushed, so this is a happy compromise. It’s also a staple in many UT cat homes!


UT cat Dreyfus melts before The Glove.

Bristle Combo brushes for daily brushing. Works with long- and short-haired cats. The classic pin side grabs extra floof and undercoat, while the bristle side polishes and removes dander. 

FURminator for serious de-shedding. We don’t use this every day, but when we do, it is soooo satisfying to see how much fur comes out.

Clear the Dance Floor

Make sure your cat has access to cool hardwood or tile floors. If you’ve got a lot of rugs down, consider taking a few up, just for the season. Call it the Cool Cat Aesthetic.

Floor flop

UT cat James flopping his beautiful body on the hardwood

Run the AC

Keep the AC running, even when you’re not home. Also, if you’re going out of town, ask your cat sitter to keep an eye on the thermostat. Generally, I find if it feels too hot inside a home, something is probably wrong. I always check the Nest when I’m cat sitting to make sure it hasn’t gone rogue. It happens more often than you’d think!

Leave Extra Water

Make sure your cat has access to plenty of fresh water. Our cats like to have multiple watering holes scattered throughout the house. (Even though my cat Joan will just help herself to any drinking glass left unattended.)

And because I completely and utterly despise cat fountains, we sometimes turn on the faucet to let our cats have supervised “splish splash time.”


UT cat Fitz enjoying splish splash time

Watch Vulnerable Cats

Keep in mind that kittens, senior cats, overweight cats, and brachycephalic cats (breeds with short noses or flat faces, like Persians or Scottish Folds) are more susceptible to overheating. If you have any of these at home, keep a watchful eye on them in the summer, and be sure to tell your cat sitter to do the same. 

Some signs to watch out for include:

  • Rapid breathing, panting or respiratory distress
  • Vomiting 
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Dizziness/disorientation
  • Dark red gums or tongue
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Sweaty paws
  • Drooling, often with thick saliva
  • Tremors or seizures


For more on heatstrokes in cats, including signs and treatment, check out this post from The Spruce Pets.