Cat heat stroke, medically known as feline hyperthermia, is a serious pet health condition that causes many of the body’s internal organs to shut down if they become overheated. The normal body temperature of a cat is about 100.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If the exterior temperature is above 102.5, there is a high risk of your cat experiencing heat stroke.
Treatments for and Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Cats
Symptoms of Heat Stroke in Cats
While cats love spending a lot of their time outdoors, summer can be quite hard on them. This is because they cannot tolerate heat as well as people. Although they can release some heat from their foot pads or by panting, when temperatures rise significantly, they can experience heat exhaustion.
Additionally, if the body temperature of your cat is not brought back down to normal right away, the result can be serious organ damage or even death. As such, if your pet is experiencing any of the following symptoms of heat stroke, you will want to take action immediately.
Early Stages of Heat Stroke in Cats
- Excessive Panting and Drooling
- Excessive Grooming
- Sweaty Feet
- Slightly Elevated Rectal Temperature
- Bright Red Tongue and Gums
Later Stages of Heat Stroke in Cats
- Rapid Pulse
- Labored Breathing
- Vomiting and/or Diarrhea
- Weakness and Loss of Balance
- Rectal Temperature Over 104 Degrees Fahrenheit
- Collapse and/or Coma
How to Treat Heat Stroke in Cats
Cat Heat Stroke – Treatment Early Stages
If your cat is in the early stages of heat stroke, you can begin treatment at home. First of all, cats in the heat need to be removed from their hot environment right away. Using a garden hose, carefully douse your cat with cool water. However, be sure to keep water out of the nose.
If you do not have access to a garden hose, you can also get your pet wet by placing it in a sink or tub and slowly running cool water over its body. Next, offer your cat some clean, fresh water. Another thing you can do to help bring the body temperature down is to place your pet in front of a fan or an AC.
After your pet’s condition has improved, take it to your veterinarian for a checkup. This is essential, in that even mild heat stroke can cause damage to your cat’s organs. It is also important to note that you should never douse your cat with ice-cold water, as this could encourage your pet to go into shock.
Cat Heat Stroke – Treatment Later Stages
If your cat is displaying any late-stage symptoms of heat stroke, you need to take it to a veterinarian immediately. While driving to the vet office, it is preferable if you have your air conditioner on. However, if you do not have an AC in your car, have someone go with you and rub your cat down with a cool damp rag until you get to the vet.
Typically, the veterinarian will try to bring the body’s temperature down by administering a cool-water enema. IV therapy will also be necessary to treat your pet’s dehydration. If your cat is having a difficult time breathing, oxygen therapy and a cortisone injection may be required. Finally, your pet will be monitored for a few days to check for any signs of organ damage.
Heat stroke in cats can be quite devastating, especially when not treated right away. This condition can lead to severe organ damage and even death. However, when you are aware of the early signs of heat stroke and you treat your cat appropriately as described above, you can avoid this deadly condition. Just like cats, dogs can suffer heat exhaustion, learn more about heat stroke in dogs.