How Hot Is Too Hot For Cats?

Cats can tolerate up to 100ºF for short periods of time in emergency situations and up to 90ºF for longer periods of time. This varies greatly depending on humidity, your cat’s age, and their fur thickness. 

Cats are pretty resilient creatures who can handle a lot more than we realize. They can also handle different environmental changes. But just how hot is too hot for cats? They obviously love being warm, and they love warm temperatures. They’re always looking for a sunbeam peeking through the window for them to lay in. But you need to make sure they don’t get too hot!

Anything higher than 100ºF or any prolonged exposure above 90ºF raises their core body temperature to a point that might put them at risk of Heatstroke. Heatstroke can be devastating  for cats so we’re going to do our best to help you prevent that from happening! 

Your cat’s core temperature should be anywhere from 100.4ºF to 102.5ºF and anything above that puts them at risk of heatstroke. If your cat’s temperature goes above 105º then it can be fatal. 

Monitor Outdoor Conditions!

Outdoor temperatures up to 90ºF are generally safe for cats, but there are certain weather conditions that can affect this. When deciding how hot is too hot for cats you may have you need to pay attention to other weather variables:

Will your cat be exposed to direct sunlight? Direct sunlight can make it feel 10-15+ degrees warmer than it actually is. This can raise your cat’s core body temperature. 

What is the humidity going to be like? Even just 50%+ humidity can make the heat index (“Feels Like”) go up by 10-40º+. So 80º with 50% humidity might make your cat feel like they’re outside in 110º weather!

What House Temperature Is Too Hot For Cats?

A house temperature of 90ºF or higher is too hot for cats. Remember, if you’re hot then your cat is hot. A house temperature of over 80º is going to be uncomfortable for your cat but likely won’t cause any health concerns, but of course this varies from cat to cat. 

If you have an indoor cat then it’s best to leave your thermostat set to no higher than 78º-80º. This will ensure your cat can be comfortable without running your utility bill up too high. 

Keep in mind that in a lot of Southern states and in a lot of homes without proper insulation that setting simply setting the thermostat to 78º doesn’t always mean the house will actually stay at 78º. Try to make adjustments based on your home and the climate you live in. 

As a bonus, keeping your house extra cool means your kitty is more likely to come snuggle up against you!

How To Tell If A Cat Is Too Hot

How hot is too hot for cats?
ig: @alicia_inwonderland

Cats are great and letting us know when they’re too hot. It also helps that they’re creatures of habit so noticing something out of the ordinary should be fairly easy for an cat owner.

  • They’re less active than usual. A crazy kitten might be the exception as they need up to 20 hours of sleep!
  • They’re seeking out cooler spots in the house, such as a cold tile floor
  • They’re panting. If your cat is panting from being too hot then you need to immediately get them to a cool area and get them some fresh water. Monitor them very closely and call your vet if you have ANY doubts about how they’re dong.  
  • They’re drooling (ignore this one if they’ve just had some catnip!)
  • They’re grooming themselves nonstop. Cats groom themselves as a way to cool off (it works similar to how humans sweat to cool their bodies off)

Some Cats Tolerate Heat Differently

It’s entirely possible for one cat to be able to tolerate 95ºF like it’s no big deal, while other cats might suffer serious health problems at that same temperature. But why is this?

Fur/Coat – Obviously a cat with a thick coat is going to struggle more in the heat than a shorthaired cat. A cat’s coat will trap the heat underneath so it makes them much harder to regulate their own body temperature. 

Age – Because cats use grooming as a way to cool off, senior cats will likely struggle in the heat more so compared to younger cats. Alternatively, kittens rely on their mothers for heat control so young kittens will also struggle with higher temperatures. 

Weight – If your cat is obese then those extra layers of fat are going to trap eat that will be hard to release. An obese cat that gets overheated will be much harder to bring back down to a normal temperature. 

What is the latin name for cat

How To Keep A Cat Cool

If you think your cat is overheated or suffering from heatstroke then call your vet or an emergency vet clinic immediately! 

Check the weather! Sure, it might be a cool 70º when you wake up in the morning, but how hot is it going to be later in the day? Don’t forget to factor humidity and the heat index! If it’s going to be too hot then try and keep your cat indoors. 

Shade, shade, shade. Make sure your cat has plenty of shade that they can go hide under to escape the sun. 

Unlimited water. You cat will need unfettered access to clean, cool water. This helps keep their body temperature low while also fighting off dehydration. 

Frozen goodies. Freeze some cat treats or even some wet cat food and leave them out in a shady spot for them to cool off with.

Beware Of Hot Cars!

Just because it’s cool outside doesn’t mean it’s going to be cool in a car. When cars are parked the sunlight beams in through the windows, heats the interior up, but then that heat has nowhere to escape. I know it’s not common for people to ride around with cats like they would a dog, but NEVER leave your cat in a car unattended. 

Look at these stats from the Humane Society:

  • If it’s 72º outside with certain conditions the inside of your car can reach over 115º within an hour. 
  • When it’s 80º outside the interior of your car can reach 99º within 10 minutes!
  • Simply rolling the window down has been proven to have very little effects on the interior temperature of the car