Wondering How to Cool Down a Cat? 9 Tips

When it comes to summer, one of the most important things for feline parents to know is how to cool down a cat in hot weather. Check out a few tips and tricks for keeping your kitty cool and comfortable no matter how hot it gets.

A closeup of a cat drinking water and her tongue.
A closeup of a cat drinking water and her tongue. Photography ©Oranit6666 | Thinkstock.

During the summer heat, you can strip down to shorts and a tank top, but your cat has to wear a fur coat all year long. This can easily become a health issue. Wondering how to cool down a cat? Check out these nine tips:

1. Cool Your Cat Down with Ice

A cat with an empty bowl of food or water.
Add ice cubes to your kitty’s bowl to cool her down. Photography ©Lightspruch | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

If you’re going to be away all day and you know it’s going to get warm in the afternoon, drop three or four cubes into kitty’s water bowl before you head out.

2. Keep Your Cat Cool with Some Homemade Air-Conditioning

Fill a small soda bottle with cold water and leave it in the freezer overnight. In the morning, wrap the bottle in a towel and put it in your cat’s favorite lounging spot. If she gets overheated, she’ll appreciate the kitty cooling room. Don’t fill the bottle to the top: Water expands when it freezes, and you could have a mess on your hands if you don’t leave some air space.

3. Elevate the Bed

Cloth-covered plastic frames with short legs will allow your cat to sleep in comfort during hot weather, and the air passing under her bed will help to keep her cool.

4. Give Your Cat a Fan

A hot black cat in the summer next to a fan.
Give your cat a small box fan to stave off summer heat. Photography ©arkady2013 | iStock / Getty Images Plus.

Get a small box fan and set it on the floor near your air conditioner or an open window. If your kitty gets too hot, she’ll appreciate the breeze blowing through her fur to keep her cool. For extra cooling power during summer heat, put one of those frozen water bottles in front of the fan.

5. Pet Your Cat with a Wet Cloth

Take a damp washcloth or paper towel and stroke your cat with it. Most cats don’t mind a little bit of moisture on their fur, especially when they notice how it can cool them off. In fact, one of the ways cats cool themselves down is by grooming, which is nothing more than wetting their fur with saliva rather than water.

6. Close the Curtains

Close the curtains or blinds in your south- or west-facing windows. Not only will it keep your kitty cooler, it’ll save you money on your a/c bills as well.

7. Avoid Cooling Gel Packs

Although gel cold packs are made with ingredients that are considered nontoxic for humans, the gel could be harmful to your cat if she happens to poke a hole in the plastic with her claw and ingest it.

8. Postpone Playtime with Your Cat

Even if your cat loves a rousing game of Chase the Mousie, it’s best to wait until the end of the day, when it’s cooler. Cats can get overheated pretty quickly by strenuous exercise on hot days.

9. Never, Never, Never Leave Your Cat in Your Car

Not even for a quick errand. A closed car can reach temperatures well over 100 degrees in a frighteningly short time.

If your cat starts panting, drooling or having trouble breathing, or she seems to be losing consciousness, get to your vet or the nearest emergency clinic right away. These are symptoms of heatstroke, and if left untreated, your cat could suffer from kidney damage, heart dysfunction or other potentially fatal problems.

Tell us: What are your tips for how to cool down a cat?

This piece was originally published in 2013.

Thumbnail: Photography ©Oranit6666 | Thinkstock. 

July is the CHILL ZONE on Catster.com! Learn how to keep your cat cool, calm and collected this summer with articles on preventing summer mishaps, staving off stress and more. 

About JaneA Kelley: Punk-rock cat mom, science nerd, animal shelter volunteer, and all-around geek with a passion for bad puns, intelligent conversation, and role-play adventure games. She gratefully and gracefully accepts her status as chief cat slave for her family of feline bloggers, who have been writing their cat advice column, Paws and Effect, since 2003. JaneA dreams of making a great living out of her love for cats.

Read more about summer and cats on Catster.com:

22 thoughts on “Wondering How to Cool Down a Cat? 9 Tips”

  1. I rub ice on my cat's body. I use burts bees cat wipes. They are like baby wipes. They cool my cat off and has natural ingredients. My cat like to sleep under a wicker bend in the living room. I place a pillow case for him to sleep on. He will lie down on tiles by the front door. I also have 3 fans going and A/c too when it is so hot we feel like we will faint. Never have fans or a/c on when i am not home of course. He also likes fancy feast broth cat food to prevent getting dehydrated. Also whickas cat milk. It is lactose free.

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  5. I m looking for advice for an outdoor cat that does not like to come indoors. He is 15 years old and recently diagnoses with heart issue. The heat index is 100 degrees today. I am worried about the affect of this heat. How can I help cool him off when he is outdoors? He sleeps under the front porch which helps but I would like to do more. I have lots of water out for him. Is there a way I can provide a cooling option? I don’t have a closed in area or pet door. I am looking for a DIY approach where I can put a fan or compact mini A/C. Ideas or thoughts?

  6. It got me when you said that the cooling gel might not be good for cats, so it is best to avoid them if the person wants to safely cool their cat down. I will tell my sister about this since she is willing to try anything now to help her pet. It might be best to ask a vet. Or maybe she can try supplements.

  7. Well, I do pretty much all of the above but also, when my black cat lies down on the patio in the shade and only his head is actually in the shade I push his furry butt into the shade too. Usually not appreciated though.

  8. My mom wants to shave our cat even though I have repeatedly shown her the Catster article that says it isn’t necessary.

    1. Hi Ivory,

      Thanks for letting us know and for sharing our articles.
      Here are more pieces that might help:

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  10. Do NOT leave ANY fan on when you are NOT home! I almost burned down my home when a NEW fan I bought SEIZED and blew out light bulbs and made the wall that the fan’s wire was plugged into — VERY VERY HOT. I was LUCKY. So were my cats!!!!

  11. Welcome to Florida, where it’s hotter than Hades! I have a lanai, something I didn’t have back in Ohio, and the kitties love it. I had a cat flap installed in my kitchen door, so they have 24/7 lanai access; and even on the hottest days they’ll sprawl out on the tile floor. They have a choice, and whenever they want, they can come back into the air-conditioned house. It should be noted that last January, when we had some nights that made me think I was back in Ohio, they wanted to be out in the lanai then too!

  12. Deborah Sullivan

    My cats are up with me in the morning and hitting against the air conditioner in my living room. They stay there all day. They love fans. I pit ice cubes in their water . I have one that drinks out the toilet. I haven’t tried Tina ice cubes but I am going to.

  13. like tuna ice cubes – how is it done please – large black cat just will not drink enough but loves fish

    1. Michaela Conlon

      Hi there Carol!

      Thanks for reaching out. Here is a recent article on how to get your cat to drink more water:


  14. I have bought multiple fans, for my two fur babies which they flop themselves in front off, usually in the middle of the room. I have also invested in a pet cooling mat which works a treat. They also tuna frozen icecubes as it keeps them cool, and there is a tasty treat when they melt!

    1. Hi Damian,
      Sorry to hear that! We have a few more tips on how to cool down cats at the bottom of this post.
      In addition, here are some links about cat fights that might help your situation.

  15. Pingback: Wondering How to Cool Down a Cat? 9 Tips | Cat Central

  16. I try to encourage my cat to sleep on the tiles of the kitchen or landing rather than the carpet, since it’s a bit cooler. I also definitely brushed her a few times to help relieve some of the undercoat that’s shedding. I make sure her water is cooled off with ice cubes, and I’m going to try the frozen bottle trick since she likes to sleep in her carrier where it’s dark. My cat is prone to asthma attacks, and we’re currently experiencing a heat wave where I live (45 degrees celsius with the humidex) and we don’t have AC. Poor thing; all I can do is keep an eye on her and help her cool off when I can.

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