Since a cat’s internal cooling system is very inefficient they can get overheated very easily. Cats do not sweat. If their temperature reaches 104 degrees, it is considered moderate heatstroke. This can be handled in about an hour with the proper care. If the heatstroke is severe and temperature reaches 106 degrees emergency care is needed. At this severe heatstroke level the consequences can be deadly.
Signs and Symptoms
• Panting; Very rapid breathing compared to their normal breathing
• The tongue will turn bright red
• The gums will either be pale or red
• Their saliva becomes very sticky and thick
• Cat Vomiting can occur. There can be blood in the emesis
Your Actions can save them
Get your cat into a cooler area as quickly as possible. Try to get your cat to drink on his own, offer water or the pediatric type rehydrating drinks. If you cat is not fully conscious, do not offer liquids as choking can occur.
Call your veterinarian and prepare to take him to the office or clinic. Before you leave for the vet, his temperature can be lowered by bathing him in cool water. Smaller breeds of cats should have lukewarm bathing.
Do not use ice water or very cold water as this will send them into shock. Creating a greater health risk and limiting the recovery window. Initially the surface blood vessels will constrict and the core or inside temperature will rise.
Check the temperature with a rectal thermometer every five minutes. When the temperature reaches 103 degrees cover your pet and transport him to the vet. Your veterinarian will check for dehydration or other potential complications.
Your Veterinarian will do the Following
Your veterinarian will continue to lower the body temperature to its proper level. Monitoring of the temperature will continue. Your pet may be given fluids and oxygen if necessary. Close observation for signs of stroke, heart irregularities, Cat Difficulty Breathing, Cat Renal Failure and all possible organ failure. Blood clotting problems are a frequent complication of heatstroke. Therefore clotting time will be checked.
At Home Care
Often your cat can recover from moderate heatstroke with no health problems. If there is severe heatstroke there is the possibility of some organ damage. In the case of organ damage a special diet may be ordered by your veterinarian. When a cat has heatstroke one time, their chances of repeating are greater and you must protect them from getting it repeatedly. Special caution needs to be used on hot humid days.
If your cat does not have a place to cool off, such as a shade or other shelter, it is up to you as its owner to prevent heatstroke.
• If your cat has other health problems, keep him inside during hot weather. This is true for obese cats, older cats or cats with heart issues or breathing problems.
• Water should be available all of the time. It too should be sheltered. Hot water is not palatable.
• Never leave your cat in the car if you are going shopping. Heat rises quickly and you could return to a dead cat when you are through.
• If you keep your cat outside, provide some shade or a shelter.
• Concrete and asphalt hold heat. Avoid them if possible.
• If you take your cat in a carrier, place moist towels inside to keep them cool.
• If you have air conditioning in your home, rather keep your cat inside. If you don’t, freeze water and place it in a sock or a towel for your cat to lie on. Provide a fan to circulate the air to keep your cat cool.