Thursday, June 28, 2012

Heatstroke - Help Your Cat Avoid It

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:

  • Panting
  • 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
  • Lethargy
  • 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!


  1. Thanks for sharing this I have a stray that I have been taking care of since Feb. He refuses to stay in the house especially during the day. I always have Water out for him but I rarely see him at the bowel. It is over 100 outside now. He does come in for 15-20 mins. Do you have any suggestions? I have tried keeping him in the house but he just goes crazy.

    1. Does he let you touch him? If so rub him down with a wet towel when you can..that will keep him cooler. Also make sure he's got plenty of shade to lay in and I was told to freeze his water overnight, then place it outside..and the bowl should be a narrow bowl to reduce evaporation. Hope that helps.

      My indoor cats are actually looking for the wet towel LOL But I do squirt them with the water bottle every once in a while...probably shouldn't do that since it's used for when their bad.

    2. Yes I can touch him I can hold him even. He even comes in the house but only in the very late evening. I am home most of the day so if it rains sometimes he will ask to come in, I call him a stray cat dabbling with becoming a house cat. Because he purrs and kneads when ever I pet him. The issue's are he refuses to use a Litter box, but will ask to go outside when he needs to go potty. I know that he still likes to hunt because I have seen him catch local lizards and his the amount of food he eats varies depending on whether he has made a kill. right now he is eating about 1/3 -1/2 cup of food a day. Since he isn't loosing weight I know he is getting his food somewhere. I live in an apartment so there is a lot of shade I have put out rugs around where He likes to stand to tell me he is ready to come in so hopefully his feet will not get burned. I just needed ideas.

    3. A house cat in training...I like that!


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