How Do Feral Cats Survive In The Heat

Your kitty will always be nice and comfortable with you around. But what happens to feral cats when Summer hits and the heat starts climbing? How do these feral cats survive the heat with nobody there to take care of them?

Obviously feral cats find ways to survive in the heat, otherwise you would never see any during the warmer months. Cats are extremely resilient creatures and we need to keep in mind that they survived without humans for thousands of years. 

Feral cats are expert survivalists. They’ve lived their entire lives, and sometimes many generations, without the help of humans. But how can they do this when they’ve covered in fur and the Summer months have brought sweltering heat? (You might also enjoy: How hot is too hot for cats?)

Feral Cats Know All Of The Shady Spots

Cats are crepuscular (not nocturnal!) which means they take many naps throughout the day. A feral cat who needs to sleep so frequently obviously knows the best places to hide in order to stay safe while sleeping. 

Seeking out cool, dark areas is on of the best ways that feral cats will beat the heat and stay cool. Whether it be under your shed, behind someone’s stoop, or even under the dumpster at a restaurant, they’ll always find the best places to cool off. 

Hydration Is Key

When you’re sweating like crazy in the summer heat, you’ll want to drink plenty of water. It’s important to stay hydrated as much as possible during this time of year. Cats are no different—they need a lot of fluids, too!

In fact, they may need even more than usual during hot weather because their bodies can’t handle the heat well without enough water. So if you see a feral cat panting try to give them a bowl of water! 

Cold Objects Are Wonderful To Lay Down On

Another awesome way that feral cats stay cool is by using the power of Conduction. Conduction basically means that the cats transfer the heat from their bodies into something that’s cooler than their body’s temperature is at that time. 

Have you ever noticed your indoor kitty laying down on the cold bathroom tiles whenever the house is warm during Summer? This is your cat’s way of transferring his body heat into the bathroom tiles. 

Feral cats are no different. They, too, will transfer their body heat onto colder surfaces. Cold, shady concrete is a favorite place for feral cats to rest!

Feral Cats Groom More To Survive In The Heat

One way that humans cool off is by sweating. As the sweat we produce evaporates, it cools us off. Now, obviously cats don’t sweat, but they use a similar process to cool themselves off. 

Cats will groom themselves more during the hotter months and hotter parts of the day. Whenever their saliva evaporates, it cools their bodies off, just like our sweat does to us. How cool is that?

Sleep Lowers Body Temperature

Do you have a cat that likes to sleep between your legs? Or maybe a cat who chooses to sleep with your partner more than they do with you? Cats do this because their body temperature drops a few degrees while they sleep. So when they’re safely indoors they like to seek out warm places to sleep. 

Feral cats will sleep more during the day. If they can lower their body temperature simply by falling asleep then it makes sense for them to sleep during hot parts of the day. 

Feral Cats Hunt & Eat At Night

A lawncare company in Arizona is not going to want to cut your lawn at 1pm in July. Instead, they try to come earlier in the day or later in the evening so that they can get their work done when it’s at least a little bit cooler outside. 

Rather than expending all of their energy trying to hunt and eat during the Summer heat, feral cats prefer to do this at night. Energy expenditure warms their bodies up so hunting at night when the sun is down makes a lot more sense. 

How do feral cats survive in the heat

How Can I Help Feral Cats Stay Cool

One quick note before we discuss this next topic. Feral cats are different from stray cats. A feral cat is a cat that was born without, or has gone their entire lives without, any human interaction. A stray cat is just somebody’s cat that got lost.  Feral cats can be dangerous, so use caution!

If you’ve got some feral cats living on or near your home or work and you’re concerned about them during Summer, there are plenty of things you can do to help them beat the heat! 

Share A Roof With Feral Cats

We don’t necessarily mean go pick the feral cat up and bring it into your living room. That might be a recipe for disaster. There are, however, other ways to put a roof over a feral cat’s head. 

Do you have a garage that you can leave open during the day? what about a shed or a barn? You may think your shed gets hot during Summer, but any place to hide and escape the sun is better than nothing at all! 

Feral Cats Survive The Heat With Hydration

Obviously cats need water, and obviously feral cats need plenty of water. Dehydration is one of the biggest dangers for feral cats during Summer. The excess heat will dry up many water sources that feral cats are used to. 

Leave plenty of bowls of cool water outside. If you’re going to be gone all day then fill a bowl up with ice water so that even as the ice melts the water will stay cool. This is a great way to for feral cats to survive the heat AND build trust. 

Leave Out Dry Cat Food

Wet cat food is a great choice if the feral cat is right there by you when you set the can down. But leaving wet cat food out as you go to work might not be a good idea. The heat can make the food go bad and the moisture can attract all kinds of bugs and insects. 

Instead, leave out some dry kibble which will last a lot longer in the heat. Additionally, this keeps the feral cat from having to go out and hunt their own food, thus expending more energy when it’s warm outside. 

Help Keep Their Paws Safe

This is an extremely important part of helping feral cats survive the heat. Cats will expel heat through their paw pads. Additionally, a cat with burned paws is going to have a hard time getting to shelter, finding food, etc… 

Depending on where you live, many feral cats are stuck walking on hot concrete and/or asphalt. Help ensure the feral cats you’re looking after have something cool and soft to walk on. Grass is a great option, a dirt path is also a good option. Even placing a towel down over hot walkways and stepping stones is better than nothing! 

Conclusion On How Do Feral Cats Survive In The Heat

There are two key things to remember here:

  1. Hydration and Shade are the two most important aspects of a feral cat’s survival when it’s hot outside. 

  2. Cats are very resilient creatures who have survived without humans for many years. Sure, a little human intervention is amazing for them, but even without it they are still likely to find ways to beat the Summer months and wait for cooler weather again. 

Featured Image: @eartips_in_alabama

Sleeping Kitty: @fosterericats