Do cats eat less in hot weather?

CATS are usually very independent animals in all aspects of their lives, including what they eat. But do cats eat less in hot weather?

Many of the things humans struggle with in hot weather are the same for our pets. Cats can be susceptible to heatstroke, sunburn and dehydration during hot spells, so it is important to look out for our pets while the temperature is high.


Do cats eat less in hot weather?

Caroline Allen, Chief Veterinary Officer at the RSPCA, told “Much like it’s not unusual for people to feel less like eating in the heat, cats too can go off their food when the temperatures soar.

“It is not known exactly why this is and could be due to a combination of factors. Cats can be fussy eaters so feeding fresh food early and later in the day should help to encourage them to eat.

“If a cat is completely off their food and appears listless and lethargic, then we would advise the owner to contact their vet as the hot weather could be causing a deterioration in their health, and could also unmask chronic conditions such as kidney disease.”

A study by the University of Liverpool in 2014 found cats eat 15 percent more food in the winter than they do in the summer.

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The study found cats are likely to eat more in the winter to help keep themselves warm, but while the weather is hot cats are more likely to rest.

Veterinarian and study author, Dr Alex German, said: “Cats, like many humans are more inclined to comfort eat when it’s cold outside but, in their case, it’s likely to be due to the extra energy they need to keep warm when out and about.

READ MORE: Heatstroke in pets: How hot is too hot for cats and dogs?

Do cats eat less in hot weather? Cat

Do cats eat less in hot weather? (Image: GETTY)

Do cats eat less in hot weather? Cat drinking water

Do cats eat less in hot weather? It is really important to make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available all the time (Image: GETTY)


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“People should consider the amount of food their cats need at different times of year as this can be part of helping them to maintain a healthy weight.”

If you are worried about your cat’s eating in the hot weather, or they are showing any signs of illness such as vomiting, diarrhoea or wanting to be alone, you should seek veterinary advice.

While the weather is hot, make sure to look out for symptoms of heatstroke in your pets.

VetsNow explains symptoms of heatstroke in cats include agitation, stretching out and breathing rapidly, extreme distress, skin hot to the touch, glazed eyes, vomiting and drooling.

Do cats eat less in hot weather? Cat

Do cats eat less in hot weather? While the weather is hot, make sure to look out for symptoms of heatstroke in your pets (Image: GETTY)

If your cat has symptoms of heatstroke, it's important you contact your vet immediately.

INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: Nearly 80 million U.S. households have a pet, and 42 percent of those households have more than one, according to a 2015-2016 survey by the APPA. There are 77.8 million pet dogs in the U.S. and 85.8 million pet cats.

You should also be aware of your cat’s temperature during a spell of hot weather.

Clare Hamilton, a practice owner and head vet at Cherry Tree Veterinary Practice, in Buckinghamshire said: “One way to tell is by feeling the top of their ears, if they feel hot to you compared to normal, then your cat may have some form of temperature or fever.

“Something that a lot of cat owners don’t know is that it is quite common for cats with white ears to develop skin cancer due to exposure to the sun.

“You can buy pet-friendly suncreams to avoid the chances of this happening and to keep your cat’s ears and skin protected.

“My advice is that if you are at any point concerned about your cat’s health, that you trust your instinct and take them to your local vet for a check up. You know your pet better than anyone.”

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How can you keep your cat cool in hot weather?

There are a number of simple things you can do to help your cat keep cool during a spell of hot weather.

Sarah Elliott, Cats Protection’s Central Veterinary Officer, told “Warmer weather has arrived and your cat may be looking a little hot and bothered.

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"Just like the rest of us, it can make cats feel uncomfortable so sometimes in the heat it can feel like a bit effort to get up move towards their food and water bowl.

Do cats eat less in hot weather? Cat in grass

Do cats eat less in hot weather? You should also make sure there are spots of shade in your garden (Image: GETTY)

"Cats are clever and will limit their activity to keep cool but here are some ways you can help:

"Provide plenty of shaded areas for your cat, both inside and out. Cardboard boxes work really well.

"Place fans around the house to keep the air circulating but don’t point fans directly at your cat.

"Freeze a bottle of water and wrap it in a towel or pillowcase. Place it in an area your cat frequents but ensure your cat can get away from the bottle if they chose."

It is also really important to make sure your cat has plenty of fresh water available all the time, and that their food is fresh.

Keep your pets out of conservatories and greenhouses as these areas can get extremely hot, and make sure to check your pets do not accidentally get trapped inside them.

If it's too hot outside consider keeping your cat indoors, and shut curtains and blinds to keep the heat out.

You can also use damp towels to lightly stroke your cat to help keep them cool, although some cats do not like getting wet.

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Sunburn is also an issue for cats, so keep them out of peak sunlight or use special pet sunscreens if necessary - particularly if your cat is pale.