Cats & Summer Heat

Inherently Sensible, Cats Lie Low


A couple of weeks ago you wrote, “Presumably we have enough sense not to leave pets in the heat”…outside. What about inside? Can we leave our pets in the house without air conditioning or some type of air circulation? If so, are cats better able to handle this than, say, dogs or ferrets?

Dr. Nichol:

You’re right. My heat stroke column did not address indoor disasters. A hot house without ventilation can be miserable and possibly dangerous. Leaving a window open is a start but a good evaporative cooler or air conditioner is a whole lot better.


Overheating for smaller creatures, like cats and ferrets, is a lesser risk because they have more surface area relative to their body mass. Cats are generally safest because they have inherently more common sense about life and death matters. If it’s hotter than blazes, they instinctively lay low. We humans and our dogs and ferrets tend to compulsively run through our daily “to do” lists with little regard for our safety. Those relaxed cool cats set a good example.