With the summer heat rising, many animals will, unfortunately, be prone to heatstroke. Here are a few ideas to help your feline friend.
Although heat stroke is more common in dogs, because of people's propensity to leave them in parked cars, cats can be affected too. Cats can't always tell you they're not feeling up to par, but they sure can show you.
Early symptoms of heat stroke and the accompanying dehydration are:
- Anxiety, possibly demonstrated by pacing
- Increased heartbeat
- Respiratory distress or hyperventilation (Breeds with flat noses may exhibit this earlier because of compromised airways.)
- Dark red gums
- Increased internal body temperature Your cat's internal temperature should be between 100.5° and 101.5° F. A temperature of 104° or more is a definite warning sign.
If your cat exhibits any of the signs above that lead you to think he is suffering heat exhaustion, cool him down as quickly as possible by immersing him in cool water, and then wrapping him with wet towels. Then get him to the veterinarian immediately. This is a serious, potentially fatal condition.
How to Help Your Cat Avoid Heatstroke
You can help your cat survive extremely hot weather by:
- Keeping him indoors in a cool interior room
- Rubbing him down with a damp towel will help
- Immersing his feet in a tub of cool water
- Wrapping a cold compress under the cat's neck will also help cool him off
- Wrapping a plastic bag of frozen peas in a towel, place in in his bed for a cool spot to lie.
- Make sure he has several bowls of cool water available...strangely enough, cats affected by external heat may refuse to drink water
Cats and Sunburn:
White cats, or cats with white ears and faces, are particularly susceptible to sunburn.
White cats should be kept out of direct sun as much as possible, but if they must be in the sun, you can help them prevent sunburn by using a sunscreen on their ears and noses. Ask your veterinarian one which will not be harmful if ingested.
Be aware of your cats condition on sweltering summer days. If you have any doubts at all, get him to the veterinarian immediately.
You are the only defense he has!