The Star-Herald

Cool cats

The summer heat has finally arrived in Aroostook County. Most of us love it, though some of us, not so much.  When the temps and humidity start rising, it can be a concern, not only for people but for our pets as well.  

A few articles back we spoke of how to protect your dog when the temperatures soar, but what about your felines? 

Our previous kitties, Willie and Annie, were indoor cats for 18 years.  Willie on occasion would go out with us if we were sitting in the yard, but he never ventured far.  Mostly they were content to sit on the window bench, watching the birds and chipmunks, and were more than a little spoiled.

Your cat’s normal body temperature will typically be between 100.5 to 102.5 degrees F.  So this means your cat can tolerate hotter temperatures than you or I can, since our average body temperature is about 98.6 degrees F. 

But your kitty’s tolerance can vary widely depending on humidity, state of health, age, and even the type of fur they have. It’s best to be cautious and avoid the hottest parts of the day altogether.

Please use common sense when it comes to your pets and excessive heat.  If you happen to see your cat panting — because cats don’t typically breathe with an open mouth like dogs do — take notice. You can cool down your cat by wetting their abdomen, ears and paws with warm water and turning a fan on.

Many Aroostook County barns will have feral cats. It’s important to try to make them comfortable, as well. Provide shady spaces and keep fresh water available if possible.

Knowing the signs of heatstroke could certainly save your pet’s life. The following are some of the most common signs of heat exhaustion, according to  breathing or panting rapidly, racing pulse, red tongue and mouth, vomiting, lethargy, stumbling or staggering, and a rectal temperature over 40.5 Celsius, or 105 degrees F. 

Eventually, the cat’s body temperature will increase to the extent that the cat will collapse, have seizures or slip into a coma. Please, if your cat is showing any of these signs, see a vet as soon as possible.

May you and your pets enjoy this beautiful summer.

If you are interested in adopting, stop by the Central Aroostook Humane Society in Presque Isle or check out our Facebook page. Please be responsible — spay and neuter your pets.

Gloria J. Towle is the secretary and a member of the board of directors for the Central Aroostook Humane Society.

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