What is really the best temperature for the cat’s room? Most cats have a favorite spot – the windowsill, the top of a cat tree, or right in the doorway. They often follow the sun and nearly warm themselves to a sizzle.
Cats like, and can tolerate, warmer temperatures than dogs and some people. TCS forum member Arlyn says, “If you have no other pets in the apartment, you can keep it quite warm (85-90), and the cats won’t be uncomfortable as long as the air is moving. Cats handle heat far better than other pets.” If it’s possible to leave windows ajar and a fan on, the air circulates and keeps rooms at an even temperature.
Scruffy, also a TCS forum member, says she set her air conditioner at 70, but the high energy bills gave her pause. She was relieved to hear most forum members set the temperature at 78 or a little higher when they’re gone for the day. KKH went with 78 but says her cat, Ku Ku, meows when the air conditioner kicks on, as if to say she’s freezing.
Judging Your Cat’s Level of Comfort
Abby by AbbysMom keeping warm in the doughnut position
Abby “opens up” in warm weather – by AbbysMom
Some cats are vocal and quick to express their discomfort. If your cat meows constantly at certain times of the day and you’ve ruled out other reasons, consider the room temperature.
Cats instinctively compensate by choosing a cooler, or warmer, location. During summertime, you may notice your cat looking for shady and air-conditioned rooms, lying on the bare floor or on a chair or shelf. In wintertime, she’s more likely to hog a spot of sunshine coming in through the window and snuggle up on the couch, preferably in between the folds of a warm throw.
Your cat’s body position can also help you assess how warm or cool she is. When feeling cold, a cat tends to curl up or bring its extremities – paws, tail, and face – close to the core of its body. Typical postures are the round doughnut or the “cat loaf“. When feeling too hot, a cat is more likely to sprawl, exposing as much of its body to the air.
A water bowl is mandatory any time, but especially on hot days. If the temperatures are climbing, put ice cubes in a bowl and let Kitty play with the cubes to cool off her feet as well as get a cooling drink as the ice melts. Access to the bathroom will let Kitty chill on the tile floor or in the tub or sink.
Wintertime, how cold can you go?
Kitty will complain at anything lower than 60, some before it even gets that low. Provide fleecy blankets or a tent for Kitty to snuggle in. At night, many people lower the thermostat, sometimes to 55 degrees. An electric blanket or a smaller version the size of a lap robe, placed at the foot of the bed, will keep Kitty and human feet toasty warm.
In the summer, a cold drink helps to regulate Kitty’s internal thermostat. In the colder weather, warm her food. There are low- or no-sodium broths that can warm Kitty like a hot bowl of soup does a human. Freshwater, room temperature, will be welcome too.
Older cats often have less body fat and need extra blankets to keep themselves warm. Cats who are chronically ill or suffering from old age and stiff joints will appreciate a bed warmer—check the pet supply stores. The warmers don’t use much energy but will feel wonderful to a chilled cat.
Also, consider the pet sitter if you’ll be gone for more than a couple of days. Sitters like to spend time with Kitty during the visit, but that’s harder to do if the house is hot and stuffy or cold and uninviting. Kitty is also more likely to hide and be unwilling to come out for a visit. Sitters want to check on Kitty’s overall health and happiness so a visible cat is important.
If you find the temperature uncomfortable when you come home from work, Kitty did too. A digital thermostat that can be programmed is a good way to reduce the energy bill. As an experiment, for the first month lower the temperature by only five degrees and see what difference it makes to the cost. Adjustments can be made accordingly. Weatherproofing the windows and doors will also help Kitty stay comfy while you’re gone.
All in all, a constant temperature uses less energy than raising/lowering the thermostat and makes for a happy cat.
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