Spotting The Signs of Feline Heatstroke

Feline heatstroke

Though cats tend to be better than dogs at regulating their own body temperatures, when the heat of the summer strikes it is important that you keep an eye out for the signs of heatstroke in your cat. Being aware of the signs of feline heatstroke (hyperthermia) means that you can act fast when it arises, reducing the chance of fatalities.

What can cause heatstroke? 

  • A warm/hot, humid environment with little ventilation (e.g conservatory or a car)
  • No access to shade outside
  • No access to drinking water
  • Excessive exercise during warm weather

Spotting The Signs

 

Panting-

It is not normal for cats to pant with their mouth open, and if you notice your cat doing so you should seek veterinary advice immediately. This can be a sign of other issues besides heatstroke, but should be checked out nonetheless.

Lethargy-

Cats are not always the most active animals, which means that noticing lethargy might be easier said than done. However, you will know your cat’s normal activity levels, and a drop in these could be a sign that your cat has heatstroke.

Stumbling-

If your cat has heatstroke it is likely that their balance will be off, which could result in them stumbling and staggering whilst walking.

Vomiting-

As with humans, a cat suffering from heatstroke is likely to vomit. This may or may not contain blood, but your cat should be taken to the vet immediately anyway.

Restlessness-

Before your cat becomes lethargic, you may notice that they become restless or agitated as they search for a spot or a position that they can be comfortable in.

How To Prevent Feline Heatstroke

If you notice that your cat is suffering from any of these symptoms, you should seek to rectify the problem as soon as possible.

Provide Water

Providing your cat with plenty of cool water to drink will help to reduce their body temperature and rehydrate them. You should ensure that this is topped up throughout the day and that it is out of direct sunlight. This will also help to prevent your cat from suffering heatstroke. You may need to encourage your cat to drink more by placing several bowls of water around your house. Water fountains are also a good idea if your cat is a fussy drinker. 

Cold Towels

If your cat has started to show any of the above symptoms, use a cool, damp towel (cooled by being soaked in cold water) to wrap around their body. This will help to bring their body temperature down.  You should not use an overly cold towel as the temperature contrast could put your cat’s body into shock.

Keep Them In A Cool Room

If your cat is showing symptoms of heatstroke you should keep them inside and out of the direct sun, ideally in the coolest room of the house. This also means that you can keep a close eye on your cat to see if their state deteriorates.

If you notice that your cat is showing any of these symptoms, or if you have the slightest concern about your cat’s health you should seek advice from your vet.