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How to Prevent Heat Stroke in Cats

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On a sunny July day, we love soaking up some rays at the beach. However, hot summer days also bring a risk of heatstroke...not just for us, but also for our cats. Heat stroke poses the most serious danger for cats in the summer.

Read on to learn how to prevent heat stroke in cats.

What is heat stroke in cats? 

When a cat experiences high temperatures for a prolonged period of time, her body becomes unable to regulate internal temperature. This causes a fever (usually 104°F) and visible symptoms. If not immediately treated, heat stroke can cause serious damage to a cat's GI tract, heart, and kidneys.

What causes heat stroke

Heat stroke can be caused when your cat spends too long in a hot environment. Veterinarian Dr. Noreen Overeem comments, "Heat stroke…may come from overexertion, usually seizures or having to run a distance in very hot conditions." Cats can also experience heat stroke if they are trapped in a hot car or a clothes dryer (believe it or not, it happens!) 

What are the signs of heat stroke in cats?

A kitty suffering from heat stroke will be panting, sweating from her feet, and acting abnormally. She may be lethargic, or she may act restless and disturbed. Cats with heat stroke can experience vomiting or stumbling. They usually have glazed eyes and a noticeably high temperature.

If your cat has advanced heat stroke, her paws will be cold, while her body temperature will be very high. She may also have bruising on the abdomen, seizures, or stupor, according to Dr. Overeem.

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How should a cat with heat stroke be treated?

First, remove the cat from the heat. Take the cat to the vet immediately in an air-conditioned car. You can also use a fan and wet towels to try to get the body temperature down. 

If your cat shows any signs of heatstroke, don't wait to see if she improves. She needs immediate vet attention to prevent permanent damage to her internal organs. Heat stroke poses a very real risk to your cat--make sure you address it right away!

Which cats are at risk for heat stroke?

Here are some types of cats that have a higher-than-average risk of developing heat stroke.

  • Kittens and elderly cats
  • Cats who are overweight
  • Certain cat breeds, including Persians, British Shorthairs, Scottish Folds, and Himalayans
  • Cats with long, thick, dark coats
  • Cats with asthma or kidney disease

If any of these describe your cat, keep a careful eye on her during hot weather. Be alert for any signs of heat stroke that may develop, and be ready to address them immediately.

Let's Chat:

Has your cat ever experienced heat stroke? If so, what did you learn from the experience? Let us know in the comments!

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