A common concern for cat owners is that their cat isn’t eating much during summer.
Don’t worry, this is completely normal as cats require less energy during the warmer seasons so, providing there are no other signs that they are unwell, it is nothing to worry about.
Read on to find out why your cat is eating less and how to keep them healthy during the heat.
Why Is My Cat Eating Less?
Cats eat more food in winter when the lower temperatures require greater energy consumption and the shorter days encourage food-seeking behaviour.
This means in hot weather they don’t need to be eating as much. In fact, they can eat 15% less during the summer months. This is because of changes in hormones that are triggered by temperature and daylight changes.
Due to this, if you are feeding your cat the same amount all year round you will notice some food being left uneaten when the weather is hot.
Even if your cat is an indoor cat, the changes in light will likely still cause a noticeable difference to their eating habits.
Why Isn’t My Cat Coming Back During the Day to Eat?
As your cat won’t be eating as much you may also notice that you aren’t seeing them as often as you usually do.
This is simply because they aren’t feeling the need to come back for food as frequently and are probably outside laying in the shade somewhere. Don’t worry, they’ll be back soon it just takes them longer to feel hungry in summer.
Keeping Your Cat Cool
With hot weather comes the potential for heat-stroke and exhaustion. Keep your cat cool, happy and healthy with the below tips:
Hydration is extremely important during warmer weather. Just as we need to drink water to stay hydrated, so do cats. Make sure fresh water is available at all times.
If your cat is not interested in bowls of water you could try a cat water fountain as this can encourage them to drink more.
The movement and constant oxygenation of the water in a cat fountain make it more appealing to your cat. It’s also better for warmer weather as it helps prevent the water from becoming stale.
Grooming (Do not shave your cat)
Your cat is likely to shed a lot of fur with the hot weather so help them keep cool by brushing them each day with a de-shedding tool.
Brushing will also help reduce matting and hairballs.
Other Important Tips
Keep your cat happy, safe and comfortable during the heat with these important considerations:
- Provide shady spots in the garden
- Keep the temperature cool in your home
- Always check your shed and garage before closing in case a cat has wandered inside
- Never leave your cat in a greenhouse, conservatory or parked car
- Apply pet-friendly sun cream to your cat’s nose and ear tips (particularly important for white/ light furred cats)
Other Potential Reasons Your Cat is Not Eating
While there’s no doubt that hot weather can impact your cat’s appetite, there are other possible reasons they are not eating too.
Not eating is often one of the first signs that your cat is not feeling good. Potential causes include:
- Sickness – If you notice your cat doesn’t want to eat and is very lethargic it is best to take them for a check-up at the vet to make sure they are not suffering from health problems.
- Taste – it could be as simple as your cat not liking the food. Every cat is different; some cats can become bored if their meals are always the same and appreciate variation while others may refuse to eat if they are offered different food.
- Stress – cats can become stressed quite easily, a simple change in their routine is enough to cause them to lose their appetite. If there has been a recent change (new animal, new family member, moving furniture or moving house) this might be causing your cat to not eat.
Signs of Heat Stroke
During the hot weather, also be aware of heatstroke. Severe heatstroke can be deadly.
Signs of heatstroke in cats include:
- Red or pale gums
- Bright red tongue
- Increased heart rate
- Drooling/ salivating
- Signs of confusion
- Muscle tremors
If you think your cat has heatstroke, immediately take measures to cool them down. Move them to a cooler area, apply cool water or wet cool towels to their fur and skin.
It is important not to cool your cat too quickly as this can cause body temperature to drop too low causing further health complications.
After getting their temperature down, take your cat to the vet as soon as possible.