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Heatstroke in Cats

While it can occur at any time of year, heatstroke becomes a real danger to cats and other animals as the weather gets warmer. Today, our Grass Valley vets discuss the signs and dangers of heatstroke in cats and what you should do if it occurs.

Heatstroke in Cats

Heatstroke, or prostration or hyperthermia, occurs when the body's core temperature rises due to the surrounding environment. A cat's normal body temperature is typically between 101 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If your cat's body temperature exceeds 105 degrees, it is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care!

Why Cats Get Heatstroke

Heatstroke in cats is typically caused by exposure to excessive ambient heat. Some of the most common causes of heatstroke in cats include:

  • Extremely hot outdoor temperature
  • Lack of access to shade
  • Trapped in a hot, unventilated space (such as a car)
  • Lack of access to water 

Signs of Heatstroke in Cats

Some of the common heatstroke symptoms in cats include:

  • Excessive Panting
  • Restless behavior
  • Sweaty feet
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Excessive grooming
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Loss of Balance
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

What To Do If Your Cat Has Heatstroke

If your cat is awake and you think they might have heatstroke, transfer your cat to a cool room and dampen their fur with cool, not cold, water. Then, carefully place ice packs on your cat's feet.

Keep the vehicle's air conditioning on full or open windows while transporting your cat to the vet. This will allow airflow to help cool your cat down.

When is heatstroke an emergency?

Heatstroke is a serious condition, and symptoms should always be treated as an emergency! If your cat displays signs of heatstroke, head to your vet immediately or go to the nearest animal emergency hospital.

How to Treat Heatstroke in Cats

The vet will actively work to restore your cat's body temperature. You can achieve this by using cool water and/or ice packs.

The vet may administer intravenous fluids to help lower your cat's temperature, counteract shock, and reduce the risk of organ damage. Sometimes, oxygen therapy may be necessary.

The team at your vet's office will monitor your cat's body temperature to ensure it returns to normal parameters. If heatstroke is caught early and treated immediately, cats can recover quickly.

Heatstroke is a significant health risk for cats and dogs. The vet will thoroughly examine your cat for any indications of organ damage or other severe complications before granting permission for your pet to come back home. If your cat has recently recovered from heatstroke, monitor it closely for any signs of illness, as evidence of organ damage may not be immediately apparent in some cases. 

Preventing Heatstroke in Cats

Ensure your cat stays safe from heatstroke by giving them a cool, shady spot to relax on hot days, providing ample fresh water to drink, and never leaving them trapped in a hot room or vehicle.

In fact, this is great advice for preventing heatstroke in both dogs and cats. Be sure to share it with all the other pet owners you know!

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Is your cat showing signs of heatstroke? Contact our Grass Valley vets immediately, or call your nearest after-hours emergency animal hospital for urgent care.

New Patients Welcome

Grass Valley Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about caring for pets in the Grass Valley area. Contact us today to book your pet's first appointment. 

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