Similar to humans, cats’ moods are affected by changes in the weather. Some of these seasonal mood swings even reflect the same feelings that humans experience. The most pronounced changes occur between seasons and sunny and stormy days. Just as some people get the winter blues or hate rainy days and Mondays, your cat can. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an indoor or outdoor cat.
Cold weather makes cats feel more lethargic, tired, and hungry than usual. Sometimes, the lower temperatures and lack of sunlight cause winter depression. Cats have an aversion to rainy weather, thunder, and lightning storms because of the wetness and loud, sudden sounds. Hot weather triggers mating behavior in many non-neutered cats but can also cause lethargy, overheating, sunburn, and heat stroke.
Cats prefer mild, warm, sunny weather. They maintain a comfortable temperature when resting, as their body temperature drops slightly during sleep.
It is a popular myth that only cold weather can cause cat discomfort. Instead, both extremes, icy cold and sweltering heat, can make your cat sick.
Can Weather Affect Cat Behavior?
In the past, superstition and popular belief held that cats could predict weather changes. This belief was based on observations that cats’ behavior changes immediately before a weather change.
In fact, cats are more sensitive to atmospheric changes because of their enhanced senses.
More precisely, cats can perceive changes in air pressure with their inner ears. This affects how they act, feel, and behave in the following hours or days.
Even if the cat is unaware that a storm is coming, she notices that the air feels denser.
This allows her to react to the new information. She may become anxious or decide to hunker down for a while.
So, can cats sense lousy weather? In a sense, yes. However, cats respond to many types of weather.
Since many of the symptoms relate to your cat’s mood and general health, you can’t necessarily use your cat as a substitute for the weather report.
Does Cold Weather Affect Indoor Cats?
Cold weather can cause your apartment cat to become more exuberant, active, and playful. This occurs out of a desire to stay warm.
Activity levels may increase because your cat:
- Wants to move around to keep his blood moving
- Looks for a source of warmth somewhere in the house
Even though apartment cats are not exposed to the elements, outside temperatures can still be felt through the windows in the house. This is especially true if the temperature inside the house is not constant.
Apartment cats are often frisky in cold weather, and their appetites may change accordingly.
They use more energy because maintaining a specific body temperature, especially when the environment outside is colder, consumes calories.
This is also true when they move more because they want to stay warm.
Therefore, cats need more food to compensate for this energy expenditure. Your cat’s appetite may increase, and he may be more likely to accept treats or food he previously refused.
However, make sure there is not an underlying problem causing the changes in activity or appetite.
Cat activity and appetite patterns can change not only because of the weather but also because the cat is in pain or sick.
Negative Changes in Cold Weather
Unfortunately, cold weather can also have a negative effect on indoor cats. This is especially true when there is a lack of sunlight.
Examples of what cold weather can do to your cat include:
- Winter depression
- Stiffness and inflammation in the joints
- Dry skin
Winter depression is a psychological phenomenon that can occur in humans and animals. It is usually the result of a prolonged period without sunlight.
Sunlight ensures the production of serotonin. This is a hormone that, among other things, increases mood and energy.
So if your cat does not receive sunlight for an extended period, its serotonin levels may be low. This can lead to winter depression.
If your cat is suffering from winter depression, he may exhibit behavioral changes, including:
- Toileting accidents in the house
- Lethargic behavior
- Loss of fur
However, activity levels can change in either direction. Your cat may become either more active or less active when it gets cold.
It is not uncommon for cats to be lethargic because of the cold. However, if the cat is not moving enough, this will cause problems all by itself.
The lack of exercise combined with the low temperatures can cause stiffness and inflammation in the joints.
This can be very uncomfortable or painful for your cat. It can discourage them from moving around more.
Similar to humans, cats also suffer from dry skin in colder temperatures. Dry skin usually feels itchy and will be uncomfortable for your pet.
Such conditions also make cats prone to other problems, such as:
- Flaky skin
- Skin infections
- Matted fur
Look After Your Lethargic Cat
If your cat becomes lethargic in cold weather, you shouldn’t worry too much at first.
However, if certain symptoms accompany the lethargy, it may be a cause for concern. Your cat may be too cold if he is lethargic and exhibits some of the following symptoms:
- Loss of appetite, especially for her favorite foods.
- Inattention or lack of alertness
- Pale gums
- Fixed gaze
- Barely perceptible heartbeat
Consider the latter symptoms emergencies. It would be best to warm up your cat as soon as possible.
Cats should maintain a specific body temperature, around 100.4 to 102.6 °F (38.0 to 39.2 °C). Otherwise, they could become ill with hyperthermia or other diseases or even freeze to death.
Does Rainy Weather Affect Cats?
Rainy weather can positively or negatively affect your cat, depending on their breed and character.
Cats generally don’t like water because it affects their fur. Water makes their fur heavier, which makes it much more difficult for them to move around.
If they are outdoor hunters, the extra weight prevents them from hunting properly.
It also takes a long time for the cat’s coat to dry. Wet fur can make cats extremely cold, which affects their body temperature.
However, they need to maintain the correct body temperature to avoid disease. Therefore, you should dry your cat after being outside in the rain.
This is even more important for breeds with long coats, as it takes longer for them to dry out.
However, rainy weather does not always harm cats. Certain breeds even have a more water-repellent coat.
This allows them to endure the rain better than other breeds. These breeds include:
- Abyssinian cat
- Bengal cat
- Maine Coon cat
- Turkish Van
On the other hand, past experiences may override this. If a cat has had a bad experience with water in the past, it may fear water altogether.
This is often the case with rescued cats from shelters. Rain can be associated with wetness, cold temperatures, and other unpleasant experiences.
Does Windy Weather Affect Cats?
There is no general rule when it comes to cats and windy weather. It depends on the cat’s past experiences and how strong the wind is if windy weather affects the cat or not.
If it storms more often where you live, cats and windy weather may not get along well.
Cats may associate windy weather with upcoming storms and become frightened.
They are also sensitive to other people’s feelings. If you are afraid of windy weather or storms, your cat will mirror your behavior in these situations.
She may become just as anxious or stressed in windy weather as you are.
In addition, windy weather can also cause things to be knocked over in your yard or elsewhere in the neighborhood.
These noises can frighten cats because they don’t like loud, sudden noises. This can cause unwanted stress.
Do Thunder and Lightning Affect Cats?
Cats have keen senses. It was not for nothing that sailors used to believe that cats could predict storms. They were taken along on voyages as an early warning system for dangerous weather.
Before a storm, warm, moist air rises from the ground and cools as it rises. This cold air condenses and forms clouds.
Cats can sense the changes in air pressure that come with approaching storms. When they sense them, they may behave differently than usual.
Are Cats Afraid of Storms?
Thunder and lightning can frighten cats because of the booming rumble and sudden flashes of light they cause.
A cat’s first instinct is to hide from such sounds because they seem threatening.
Hiding during thunderstorms is an innate behavior that protected their ancestors in the past. That is why it has not disappeared in domestic cats.
Hiding and waiting during thunder and lightning is normal for cats. However, this behavior can prove harmful, especially if they continue to hide long after the thunderstorm has passed.
If they refuse to leave their hiding place even when they should be eating, this may be a cause for concern. There may be an underlying problem causing this intense fear.
Remember that cats have keen senses, too. They respond to changes in the environment as well as changes in their owners.
Some experts assume that cats are able to smell the ozone created by lightning. In this way, they can sense incoming thunderstorms and lightning.
If you fear thunder and lightning, your cat will mirror your behavior. If you act anxious and stressed during thunderstorms, your cat will also begin to show anxious behavior and signs of stress.
Does Hot Weather Bother Cats?
Hot weather can very well bother cats, especially if they are exposed to the heat for extended periods and are unable to cool down naturally.
Cats are usually more lethargic in hot weather. Since they are less active, they also require less energy.
Consequently, they forage less often than usual and have less appetite. However, this is not always a cause for concern.
Warm Weather and Mating Behavior
Warm or hot weather is associated with mating season in cats. The warmer temperatures and longer daylight hours trigger cats’ mating behavior. However, this may depend on the age of the cat.
Cats can technically mate at any time of the year. Nevertheless, mating season tends to be associated with warmer weather.
Therefore, hot weather may cause cats to exhibit mating behavior. In female cats, this is referred to as estrus or heat.
A phase of estrus can last about six days on average. Overall, the entire estrus cycle can last anywhere from 1 to 6 weeks.
Some of the signs that your cat is in heat include:
- Increasing attachment.
- Demanding attention
- Rolling on the floor
- Raising the rear end and kicking out the hind legs
- Increasing vocalizations
- Urinating more frequently
- Spraying urine on objects
Unlike female cats, male cats do not usually go into heat. However, during mating season, they do spray their urine. This is especially true if another female has previously marked that area.
They will attempt to mate with female cats inside or outside the home.
However, in cats that have been neutered, hot weather does not cause mating behavior.
If a cat is neutered, it is unlikely to exhibit any of the above behaviors.
Negative Effects of Hot Weather
Scorching weather can have a detrimental effect on cats. Among the most severe consequences of hot weather are the following.
You might think that a cat’s coat is enough to protect it from the damage caused by the sun. But that is far from the case.
Sunburn can indeed occur in cats, which looks similar to sunburn in humans.
If your cat’s skin is irritated or red after prolonged exposure to the sun, she may have a sunburn.
Cats may flinch when touched in sunburned areas or even react negatively to petting or touching.
If you want to ensure your cat doesn’t get sunburned, cat-friendly sunscreens are available.
Cats can develop skin cancer in extreme cases of sunburn and sun exposure.
Cats with white fur or thinner fur have a higher risk of developing skin cancer.
However, skin cancer can also develop in cat breeds that do not meet the above criteria.
Extended sun exposure can affect areas of the cat’s body with thinner fur. These include the ears, nose, eyelids, and lower abdomen.
The most common type of skin cancer in cats is squamous cell carcinoma. This can lead to the formation of scabs and non-healing wounds and can be fatal if left untreated.
Intense hot weather can also cause heat stroke. However, several signs will alert you that the cat is overheated before it happens.
Most of these signs are behavioral and include:
- Excessive grooming, as the cat’s tongue helps it cool down.
- Seeking out cold surfaces
- Increased drinking frequency
- Sweaty paw pads
Overheated cats should not be left alone without assistance or the opportunity to cool off naturally. Otherwise, they may suffer heat stroke.
This occurs when the body temperature is elevated above average. This causes stress and damage to the body.
Heat stroke can be fatal. Elevated body temperatures can damage the cat’s internal organs and tissues.
If your cat shows any of these signs, be sure to cool him down as soon as possible:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Discolored gums and tongue (dark or light red)
- Muscle weakness
- Excessive panting or drooling
- Mental confusion
Does Humid Weather Affect Cats?
Humid weather often goes hand in hand with hot weather. For this reason, humid weather naturally affects cats, and not in a positive way.
Like hot weather, humid weather, and cats don’t mix well.
High humidity prevents them from cooling naturally, leading to heat stroke.
This is especially dangerous in cats because they can’t sweat to cool down like humans. Instead, they must rely on external factors to avoid overheating.
Fans, cold floors, drinking more water, and grooming help cats cool down.
Excessively humid weather can cause your cat to become lethargic and exhausted. It can also lead to cramps and heat stroke if humidity and heat are not regulated.
As mentioned earlier, heat stroke is life-threatening for cats.
Maintaining proper ventilation and tolerable temperatures in your home is necessary for comfortable living and survival.
Cramps can also result from elevated body temperatures and loss of body fluids due to dehydration.
What Kind of Weather Do Cats Like?
Cold weather and hot weather can make cats sick, while thunder, lightning, and windy weather can frighten cats. So, is there any weather that cats really like?
Despite all the negatives, bright, sunny, warm weather is ideal. Most cats like it, and chances are that your cat will be most comfortable on a warm summer day.
Of course, that doesn’t mean your cat will like all sunny, warm weather. Severe heat, high humidity, or dryness can make your cat sick or even be fatal.
However, leaving your cats out in the sun should not be a problem if the temperature and humidity are modest and the intensity of the sun’s rays is not too strong.
Remember, however, that your cat should always have access to food, water, and shade.
In this case, the weather can even lift the cat’s mood.
What is the Best Temperature for a Cat?
Most cats require a specific temperature range. The body temperature of a cat is near 100 °F (38 °C), on average between 100.4 and 102.6 °F (38.0 and 39.2 °C).
Of course, you should not keep your cat at such temperatures. She needs to keep the inside of her body warm in relation to the outside temperature.
This is because many organs and chemical processes in the body work best at these temperatures. Therefore, the recommended temperature in the apartment of a cat should be between 64 and 75 °F (18 and 24 °C).
However, for many owners, it is not always possible to keep their apartments in this range. After all, it can be expensive, and you should also ventilate.
With seasonal temperatures come seasonal changes. To mitigate these fluctuations, you should adjust your home accordingly.
During the colder months, it is best to provide warmth for your cat, such as by:
- cuddle places
In the warmer months, on the other hand, you should provide ample opportunities for your cat to cool down by:
- Access to water
- Ventilation through fans or air conditioners
- Cold tiles
- Shaded areas
Why Do Cats Like Sunshine?
Cats prefer sunshine. There are two main reasons for this:
- It’s in their genes.
- Sunshine helps retain body heat while sleeping.
The dun cat or African wild cat (Felis silvestris lybica) is a common ancestor of all domestic cats. This is a feral cat that lives mainly in North Africa.
It has been determined that domestication originated in the Middle East and Egypt. There are desert ecosystems in these regions.
So, it might be in the cats’ genes that they like the sun since their ancestors grew up in warm climates.
Sunshine helps the cat retain body heat during sleep and is very relaxing.
The body temperature of cats and many other animals drops during sleep. Cats like to seek out places with natural sunshine to prevent them from getting too cold.
This keeps cats warm and comfortable during sleep. As a result, owners often see their cats sleeping by windows or glass doors during the day.
Depending on the sun’s position, they may even move to a different place in the house to feel the warmth.
Do Seasonal Changes Affect Cats?
Cats and humans are not very different regarding moods changing with the seasons.
Spring and summer bring warmth and sunlight, which can improve a cat’s mood and well-being. They also trigger the onset of heat or mating behavior.
Winter and fall are usually the dark, cold, and wet seasons. This can lead to lethargic cats and even winter depression.
Of course, the intensity of temperatures or seasonal temperature changes depends on where you live.
Regardless, cats are affected in the same way as us humans. Even if your pet is an indoor cat, the effects of weather or temperature changes are not spared.
The cat depends on you to keep it safe and comfortable.