Heat Stroke in Cats - Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention
It is a common opinion that heat stroke can only affect humans and dogs. Although they are not the most susceptible to heat stroke, cats are also in danger. It is less common that cats will be trapped in hot areas (like dogs in hot cars), but that doesn't mean they are safe. Cats can experience heat exhaustion, and that can develop into heat stroke. By noticing early signs of heat stroke, you can help protect your cat and potentially save your pet. Stay with us and find all the necessary information about heat stroke in cats, symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
What is heat stroke in cats?
Heat stroke is a very dangerous and potentially deadly condition that will occur when n cat's body temperature becomes exceptionally high. This condition can happen very fast and without any warnings. The average cat temperature must be between 99,5°F (37,5°C) to 102,5°F (39°C). Temperature over 102,5°F (39°C) is considered abnormal, and if you don't eliminate the hot environment, your cat can develop heat stroke.
Heat exhaustion in cats will happen before heat stroke. The cat's body temperature will become dangerously high, and you must remove your cat from hot areas to prevent the development of heat stroke. When the cat's body temperature rises above 104°F (40°C), heatstroke will begin. If your cat has already developed symptoms of heat stroke, you should get to the vet as soon as possible.
Can cats get heat stroke?
All cats can get heat stroke. Although it is less common that the cat will be trapped in a hot area, you should always be careful and take care of your cat. If your cat spends a lot of time in a hot place, provide her with fresh cold water and try to cool her down.
Signs of heat stroke in cats
Cats are known to be great at hiding signs of illness. Your cat may hide signs of heat stroke until things get more serious.
Symptoms of heat stroke in cats are:
- Body temperature over 104°F (40°C)
- Fast breathing
- Extreme drooling
WORLD CAT FINDER TIP: The best option is to use a digital rectal thermometer to take cat temperature.
How to treat cats with heat stroke?
If your cat is experiencing heat stroke, the best thing you can do is get to the nearest vet clinic as fast as possible. If the cat's temperature is above 104°F (40°C) , you must cool the cat down. You must be very careful when cooling the cat down. You can't just use ice and cold water because you can cause more problems.
If you over-cool the cat, you can cause hypothermia, another dangerous health problem.
RELATED: 6 Reasons Why Cats Hate Water
Use these steps to cool the cat down:
- Take your cat to the cool and ventilated area
- Offer your cat cool water but take note that many cats will refuse water in this situation
- Soak the towel and place it on your cat (you shouldn't wrap your cat since heat can be trapped)
- Measure your cat's temperature – make sure to stop cooling your cat when her temperature falls underneath 104°F (40°C) since constant cooling can lead to hyperthermia
How will the vet treat my cat?
Fluid therapy is most commonly used to treat cats with this condition. Your vet will monitor your cat for organ damage, blood pressure changes, or neurologic symptoms.
What is a prognosis?
For most cats, noticing early symptoms and adequately taking care of your cat will help your cat recover fast without any damage. If you get to the vet clinics in time, there is a great chance your cat will not experience organ damage. For organ damage to occur, it can take 2 to 3 days, so if your cat does not get back to normal after 2 to 3 days after heat stroke, you should contact your vet and see your next steps in treating your cat.
What is the best prevention?
The best prevention is to keep your cat in an appropriate environment and not allow your cat to spend a lot of time in hot areas. Also, noticing early symptoms of heat stroke can help your cat recover faster without any consequences.
You should always provide your cat with fresh and cold water and a cool place to rest. Leaving AC or fan for your cat is an excellent way to provide a cool environment.
VET TIP: You should never shave your cat. Although you might think you will help the cat, you are doing the opposite. Shaving cats fur will cause sunburns, and the cat will lose the ability to cool herself down.
Heat stroke in cats is a serious health condition, and you must act fast if you notice symptoms of heat stroke with your cat. Seeing early signs is crucial for your cat to recover without any consequences. Remember that prevention is the best treatment, and you should always watch your cat and take care of her.
World Cat Finder Team