What You Should Know About Your Cat’s Risk of Heatstroke

So often we hear of the cautionary tales of leaving your dogs in cars and other areas where they can easily overheat. But are the risks for our cats just as great? While it is uncommon to take our cats for a jog in the park or a car ride to the store, our feline friends are still at risk of overheating. And as Florida temperatures rise and humidity seems almost unbearable, it’s important that you know how to keep your cat protected.

What to Avoid

There are common situations to avoid so that your cat doesn’t suffer. Make sure your cat has plenty of access to shade and fresh water. Outdoor cats especially need this since they are often facing the heat dead on, and you should take care to close off any oven-like structures your cat could become stuck inside of – like sheds or garages.

There are more stories than you think of indoor cats becoming trapped in clothes dryers, cats love to hide in small spaces. Make sure these machines are closed off to your furry friend at all times.

You may not take your cat for many car rides but if you are taking a long trip or moving, make sure your cat is comfortable inside of the car and the temperature is cool enough for her. Just because you are fine with only the windows rolled down and no AC does not mean your cat is.

It is essential that your cat is not confined to a space without any access to water or without any way for her to cool down.

Symptoms of Heatstroke

You must pay special attention to your cat, as they are very adept at hiding their illnesses. Symptoms to look out for include, but are not limited to:

  • Panting
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Thick/sticky saliva
  • Sweaty feet (cats sweat through glands in their paws)
  • Bright red tongue or mouth
  • Restlessness
  • Disorientation

What to Do

If you suspect your cat is suffering from heatstroke, time is of the essence! Your primary goal is to cool her down. You can do this first by brining her to a shady or cool area and wrapping her in a wet towel or blanket. If she is alert, encourage her to drink water, though in small but frequent amounts.

You need to get your cat’s temperature at around 103°F. A temperature of 104°F or higher is at dangerous levels. If you can get her temperature down with these methods, you can then dry your cat off with a dry towel in order to prevent any excessive cooling.

If there is any possibility that your cat could be suffering heatstroke, even if you think you have the situation under control, take your pet to us immediately for further evaluation. The risks of organ damage or even death from heatstroke is too high for you not to get your cat cleared by a licensed veterinarian.