How to Keep Your Cat Cool in the Car

How to keep your cat cool in the car

What if you have to go somewhere with your cat on a hot day. Traveling in a warm car could be a short ride to the vet and a longer trip to a family member. You decide to take the cat with you because you can not leave the cat alone for so long. However, making sure that the trip is pleasant can sometimes be difficult, especially for yourself and the cat.

To keep your cat cool in the car, you have to make some preparations. It starts before you even get inside the car. The preparations start inside your house. Before taking your cat out, you will want to make sure your cat is properly preparing for the trip. Start your car and immediately turn on the air conditioner. If it is cold in the car, then you can put your cat in it.

In this post, I answer the question of how to keep your cat cool in the car, how cats deal with heat, how you can prepare for a car ride on a hot day, and what stuff you should take with you.

Cats and Warmth

Before taking a cat on a trip, it is good and useful to know how a cat responds and handles it. A cat that gets sick true the warmth does not occur often. For the average cat, an environment temperature of 22 ° C is perfect. It has been expelling that the domestic cat descends from a mix of at least three different related wild cat types:

  • The African wildcat (Felis silvestris libyca)
  • The desert cat (Felis margarita)
  • The swamp cat (Felis chaus)

Cats are desert animals of origin. The body of the house cat’s ancestors is making for life in the desert. This is reflecting in the house cat. Cats drink very little and get most of the moisture they need from the animals they eat. Cats are also smart with warmth. They sleep more during the day, and they choose to be active and at night. 

If a cat has the possibility, it is searching cool places and is less active when it is very hot. Cats must always have access to drinking water; with high temperatures, it is also more important. My cat likes to lie on a chair in the sun. She loves it so much that she sometimes wants to get out of the chair for something to eat.

cat is on the chair in the sun

Body temperature

Cats are warm-blooded animals. The temperature of the cat has a stable value. In this way, the body performs optimally. The average body temperature of the cat is between 38 and 39.5 ° C. The temperature can quickly rise 0.5 to 1.0 ° C due to stress and exertion. A cat can tolerate very high temperatures, even cats like extreme heat. Because they are quite insensitive to heat, they can become too hot for the hair, causing it to burn. The cat does not feel this. It is, therefore, necessary to watch out as the owner if you have a fireplace or a stove.

Preparations to Keep Your Cat Cool in the Car

If you travel with the cat by car, you can prepare several things. These tips can be helpful because it makes traveling easier for the owner and cat.

  • Put the car in a shady place the night before.
  • Most cats are naturally playful and active. It is better that you do not play before you go or let the cat running. The less energy the cat wastes, the less it suffers from the heat.
  • Take a bath towel. If it is very hot, you can hang it in front of the window. The cat does not have to sit in the car in the sun.
  • Fill a drinking bowl and bottle with tap water
  • Put bottles of water in the freezer. On the day, you can roll them in towels and put them in the cat travel basket
  • Put ice packs in the freezer. The next day you can roll it in a towel and place it in the travel box
  • Place the cat bed, blanket, or towel on which the cat sits in the car in the back seat. In this way, the smell of the cat is already in the car. This smell gives a cat a more familiar feeling.
  • If your car has air conditioning, make sure the coolant is topped up. When the liquid is empty, the air conditioning works no longer.

Cat Car Travel

Most cats are not particularly happy travelers. A cat is often strongly attached to its territory and feels very attackable in a different unknown environment. Dogs like to stay with the family, explore a new environment, and be in a new area, but it is not the case with cats. Cats prefer to stay in their familiar place. If you want to take the cat with you by train, car, or plane, you have to be sure that the cat is safely and comfortably in a suitable travel basket. Leave the cat in the travel basket until the journey’s end until used to the new environment. If the weather is warm, you have to consider the weather conditions. This is with the place where you leave as with the weather conditions of the destination. In one place, it can be even warmer or colder than in another place.

If it is very hot, use a travel basket that allows good airflow. By this, I mean that the travel basket is not somewhere clamping between, for example, between two car chairs. Fresh air can’t be adding, and the cat will get warm sooner. There must also be sufficient air openings in the travel basket. Otherwise, there is still no fresh air in the travel basket. It is important to leave a window open during the car ride; fresh air can get into the car and blow it through. Air conditioning is a luxury that cats appreciate. Cats do not like fans because it is too much air. So is there air conditioning in the car, then it can be turned on? Make sure that the cold air flows are not directing at the cat.

Keep your cat cool in the car

A list of supplies that are useful to take with you:

  • Coolant air conditioning
  • Air conditioning and/or fan
  • Bottles water
  • Water
  • Ice packs
  • Bath towel
  • Drinking bowl
  • Cat towel

Cat Stress and Heat

Most cats can not deal with stressful events. Behavioral problems but also physical problems can be caused by stress. We humans can indicate (usually) well when there is stress. So possibly with a little help also do something about it. This is a bit different for cats because stress is often not recognized at the beginning. Stress is a physical reaction to an uncontrollable or unpredictable situation. The body prepares to fight or flee. Your heart rate and breathing are increasing, more blood is transporting to the muscles, and extra energy is released.

When people have stress, they often also get warmer. Your body is working harder. If stress is short, it is handy and not necessarily unhealthy. It makes you alert and ensures that you can act immediately in situations where it is needed. This reaction also applies to cats. No cat with stress shows the same symptoms. From different lists of symptoms, it appears that a cat with stress does not get warmer. Is car driving for your cat more stressful, and is it also a hot day? Then you do not have to worry that the cat will get even warmer because of the stress. Keep an eye on the cat because no cat is the same. Do you think your cat is more bothered by it or shows more stress symptoms? Then go to the vet for safety.

Points of Attention

Cats can not sweat like people. People have many sweat glands, but cats have very few. Cats can only sweat through their soles. They can, therefore, dissipate heat worse and quickly overheat. Especially cats with overweight or a short snout, such as the Persian, are at extra risk of overheating. Kittens and older cats also have an extra risk.
Preventing overheating is very important on hot days. Animals that get too hot can even die from this. Never leave a pet unowned in a car. The temperature in the car can reach 50 degrees Celsius within 10 minutes. Even an open window does not provide enough cooling! Make sure your cat always has access to drinking water.


How to keep your cat cool in the car? There is now an answer to this question. If you travel on a hot day with your cat in the car, make sure you leave well prepared. Like humans, cats need special precautions in warm and sunny weather. Cats love heat, but the warmer it gets, the higher the chance of heat-related disorders. Never leave the cat unowned in a car. If it is very hot, use a travel basket that allows good airflow.

Maybe if you like cycling, this post about how to ride a bike/cycle with your cat could be interesting. Cycling with your cat is a good option with warm weather; you get fresh air for yourself and your cat.

I hope your cat likes warm weather and the sun. Also, when you know someone who has cats and wants to know how to keep your cat cool in the car, then feel free to share this post. Additionally, do you have any tips for traveling in warm weather with your cat?


By Marleen

Marleen van der Leest is a truly madly deeply cat lover and founder of That Is for My Cat. She wants to share her knowledge about cats with other people who like to know more about cats.


  1. Need to take my cat to the vet. My truck has no air conditioning . The outside temp is 92-95 degrees (f) . Is it safe for my cat to travel in these conditions or should I wait fo cooler weather ? She is a little overweight also.

  2. I have a question I’m planning on moving with my cat in the car I’m moving to port Charlotte Florida how can I keep my cat cool when I’m the only one in the car and I’m driving what do I do if I have to leave the car to go to the bathroom and it’s just me driving and I’m the only one in the car

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *