In hot weather, we can shed a few layers, help ourselves to cool drinks, take a dip in a pool and seek the comfort of the shade. But what about our Maine Coon cats? They can’t peel off their heavy fur coats for relief from the soaring temperatures. So can they live in places where the weather is generally hot or cope with the occasional heatwave in a cooler climate?
Can Maine Coons live in hot weather? Though Maine Coons were obviously well built for cold climates, they can thrive extremely well in hot weather as long as they are given access to cool areas and plenty of water.
Their early ancestors roamed the sweltering Middle East more than 100,000 years ago and these days, in spite of all that glorious fur, Maine Coons can definitely thrive in hot climates.
So Maine Coon cats can live in Florida, South Africa, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Brazil – anywhere hot as long as you follow the advice below. If you are tempted to give your cat a lion cut to cope, you’ll be surprised at how unnecessary and in fact unhelpful that is.
How Do Maine Coons Keep Cool
Laying On Their Backs
On a really hot day, you might notice your Maine Coon sprawled out on its back, legs akimbo, and completely still. Take note… this is not an invitation for you to tickle its tummy.
Your cat is letting out the heat and staying motionless to prevent any more heat from building up. Let it be. Don’t disturb it as you will prevent it from cooling down in its own, natural way.
Your Maine Coon should naturally drink more water in hot weather to help keep its temperature down.
Believe it or not, your Maine Coon’s coat actually helps to keep it cool. Those fabulous insulating qualities that keep it warm in cold weather also keep heat out in the hot weather.
Though they are sun worshippers who enjoy the heat, Maine Coons will naturally seek out a cool or shady area to while away the hours on an extremely hot day.
On really hot days a Maine Coon will naturally sleep more than usual. This is because the less active it is the cooler it stays. So don’t disturb it unless it’s an older cat and you are worried that it is not drinking enough.
Most of a cat’s sweat glands are in its paw pads. These do not really provide a large surface area to dissipate heat through so cats also lick their fur to cool down. As the saliva they deposit evaporates, it has a cooling effect.
How To Help Your Maine Coon Keep Cool
Though your Maine Coon will naturally do its best to keep cool, there are plenty of things you can do to ensure it doesn’t suffer in the heat. As a rule of thumb, think about how comfortable you feel in a room.
If you are OK with the temperature, your Maine Coon will be. If it is unbearable for you your cat will be affected too.
Provide Plenty of Water
On hot days, place a bowl of water near to each of your Maine Coon’s favorite cool spots. Add ice cubes to each to prevent the water from warming up. Consider a drinking fountain as the movement keeps the water cool. Here are some excellent examples.
Keep Your Maine Coon Indoors
If your Maine Coon usually goes outside, consider keeping it in on really hot days and make sure it has access to the coolest areas of your home.
Allow Access to Cool Floors
If you have
Close Your Curtains
In rooms where the sign shines through the window, keep the curtains or blinds closed to prevent the sun from heating up those areas.
Allow Air To Circulate
Open windows enough to let air circulate but not enough for your Maine Coon to squeeze out through.
Put a Fan On
If you have a ceiling fan, use it to create air movement and cool the room down. If you don’t have a ceiling fan, use a freestanding fan set on cool to create a welcome breeze for your cat.
Air Condition Your Home
If you have air conditioning, leave it on in a room your cat can access. You don’t have to make the room chilly just cool enough for comfort.
Granite Work Surfaces
Your cat will likely be drawn to any granite surfaces in the house because their coolness is refreshing. Don’t worry about hygiene – your cats comfort in the heat should be your concern, you can always clean the surface when you want to prepare food there next.
Frozen Water Packs or cooling mats
If you have the type of ice blocks you can fill with clean water, freeze them and place them below your cat’s favorite blanket – make sure they are well covered. This will provide a perfect cool place to sleep. Or you could invest in a self-cooling mat.
You can encourage your cat to sleep on a damp towel to keep cool or you can pat it down with a damp towel to give relief from the heat.
Wet Shower Floor
After you’ve showered you may notice your cat is drawn to the wet floor and lies down on it. Let it as this is another great way to cool down.
Even when you fill your enamel coated bath with hot water have you noticed how cold the parts the water doesn’t reach feel to your skin? Even when empty, on a really hot day this bath surface feels deliciously cool to the touch. Your cat will appreciate this refreshing experience. Don’t add cool water though as your cat might run a mile and overheat with the exertion.
This has much the same effect as laying in a cold bathtub. Find somewhere else to wash your hands!
Daily grooming will really help to keep your cat as cool as possible during hot weather and it will prevent it ingesting too much fur as it licks itself to keep cool.
Things To Avoid
It’s not a good idea to attempt to cool your cat using the type of cool packs that are filled with gel or anything other than water. If your cat punctures one or it leaks for any other reason it could make your cat ill.
These can overheat dangerously in extremely hot weather and prove highly dangerous for a senior or unwell cat. Close the area off if you possibly can. The heat generated from a conservatory can soon drift into the rest of your home.
If you have a greenhouse make sure your cat can’t get in it. It doesn’t have to be a particularly hot day for a glasshouse to overheat to a temperature that is dangerously high to a cat.
Stagnant Water Sources
Have a good look around for any receptacles that may have collected rain water that has gone stagnant. In extremely hot weather a thirsty cat will drink any old water. Be particularly careful if you have a birdbath as the water in those can be full of all sorts of germs.
Cats can suffer from sunburn so if yours is out and about in a country where the sun is often out, use a cat sun cream – ask your vet for details.
Shaving Too Much
Some people have their Maine Coons shaved when it’s really hot. This is not at all necessary. A slight trim is OK but avoid a lion cut if your cat goes outside as its risk of sunburn will be extremely elevated.
Play and Other Exertion
Don’t play with your cat anywhere where the temperature is high. You will just be helping it to overheat. Help your cat to stay cool by keeping everything it needs in close proximity, in the coolest area of your home: food, drink, bed,
Outdoor Runs With No Cool Area
Don’t leave your cat in an outside run where there is nowhere to keep cool. Remember if the area has an outdoor cat house, this could become overheated by the sun and provide no safe haven.
If your cat rides in the car with you for any reason, never leave it in the car – not even for a few minutes. It takes hardly any time for the temperature inside a car to sore to a dangerously high level.
Often hot weather brings biting insects. Make sure you cat is always protected from these by spot on treatments.
Heatstroke in Maine Coons
A cat’s body temperature should be somewhere between 100.5 and 102.5° F. It’s not easy to measure a cat’s temperature at home but if you want to get an idea of this, the easiest way is with an ear thermometer.
This isn’t as accurate as a rectal measurement but can give you a good idea. If you take a note of your cat’s temperature in cool conditions you can use this is a guide to see if its temperature is higher than it should be in hot weather.
Warning Signs and Treatment
If your cat is suffering in the heat it will be very restless, drooling, panting, licking its fur excessively, have sweaty paws and its temperature will begin rising above 102.5° F.
At this stage move your cat to a cool area and encourage it to drink some cool water and check its temperature returns to normal.
If your cat’s body temperature rises to 105° F, it will show further signs of heatstroke which include:
- Rapid breathing
- Racing heart rate
At this stage apply cool (not cold) water to your cat and give it water to drink. Then take it to your vet for further
If left untreated heatstroke will cause a cat to collapse and become comatose.
If you find a cat in this advanced stage of heatstroke, soak it quickly with cool water, apply cold compresses to its limbs, and immediately go to your vets.
Maine Coons can live in any climate as long as relevant adjustments are made to their environment. It is important to prevent dehydration by encouraging them to drink plenty of water in hot weather and ensuring they spend as much time as possible in the coolest areas available.
So whether you live in a cold climate or the hottest of countries you can still have the pleasure of keeping a Maine Coon cat.
For more useful Maine Coon information, you might like my article: A Complete Guide To Maine Coon Cats.