Many pet owners are not aware that their animals can get heatstroke. Just because your pets are not complaining much about being hot does not mean that they are not feeling too warm. Both cats and dogs are not as good at cooling themselves off as humans are, which can lead to major health issues when it is hot out. Cats can only cool off by panting and by sweating through the pads of their feet.
Cats can get heatstroke, just like people or dogs. This is common when a cat is kept in a small, hot space or when a cat lives outside, and can’t get access to enough water. Cats can sometimes also be picky about the water that they drink, which can be deadly for them during the hot part of the year. Knowing more about how heatstroke can impact cats and how cats can get heatstroke will help to prevent your cat from falling victim to this preventable health issue.
Symptoms of Heatstroke in Cats
Cats show a lot of the same symptoms as dogs when they get heatstroke. These symptoms don’t look like too many other conditions either, which makes it fairly simple for owners to recognize the signs and get their pet to the veterinarian right away. Heatstroke in cats is a medical emergency and your cat will need to get to the vet right away if you think they have heatstroke.
Here are the symptoms to look out for:
- Very red or very pale gums
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing issues
- Muscle tremors
- Little to no urine production
- Weakness and lethargy
While the early warning signs of this condition might seem to be something else like an upset stomach, the condition of cats with heatstroke will progress rapidly over the course of the first half an hour that the condition is present. Cats will need to get medical care right away within half an hour of the onset of symptoms or it might be too late to save them.
What To Do if You Think Your Cat Has Heatstroke
The first thing that you should always do when your pet might have heatstroke is to call your vet. The vet will be able to direct you on how to prevent damage to your pet’s organs, or if you are close enough, they might just want you to head to their animal hospital right away. If your vet is not very close to you, you should be sure to wet down your pet’s fur and turn a fan on them as you are getting ready to leave. Do not use ice-cold water, as this could cause them to go into shock. Be sure that you keep your pet in a cool area and hurry to the vet with the air conditioning on in the car.
You should only observe your cat’s behavior for a few minutes before deciding if you need to go to the vet. Time is very important when it comes to taking care of a pet with heatstroke. Even if you get to the vet and your pet does not have heatstroke, it is much better to be safe rather than sorry. Your vet can also be sure that your cat is not dealing with something else like poisoning or a gastric infection.
How to Prevent Heatstroke in Cats
One of the best ways to be sure that your cat will not get heatstroke is to keep them indoors in the summer months. Make sure that there is plenty of air circulation where your cat is living, and always give them access to ask much water as they need to stay hydrated. Even if your cat has to stay in a smaller area outside of the main part of the house, you need to be sure their needs are met so they can stay cool enough.
Provide Clean, Fresh Water
Cats can be really picky about drinking dirty water, so replacing dirty water with clean water matters. You will also want to be sure that you have the water in a place that your cat feels safe drinking. Some cats can be intimidated to drink by other animals or in places where there is a lot of traffic.
Your house might be warm in the summer months, but you will almost always have air circulation in the home that is not present outdoors. This is one of the reasons that keeping your cat inside in the summer can be so key to your cat’s well-being. Cats might struggle to find shade in the summer, and if the pavement is hot, things can be even worse for your cat.
Allow Your Cat to Come Inside
Just because your cat isn’t going to go running or hiking with you like a dog doesn’t mean that they can’t get too hot outdoors when it’s warm out. Indoor/outdoor cats will likely choose to come back to the house and go inside when it’s hot out, but if they are not able to come home for some reason, this could be disastrous for them.
Cats Can Get Heatstroke Just Like Dogs and People
Cats can get heatstroke just like dogs. Dogs are more likely to get heatstroke than cats because their owners take them on hikes and runs. However, cats can still get sick if they are kept in small spaces that are really warm. Cats that are not given enough water might also be at risk for this condition. Since this is a life-threatening condition, you want to be sure that your cat is not put in situations that might lead to them getting too warm.
Always make sure that your cat is able to keep cool and that they are not going to be trapped outside if it’s warm out. Your cat will thank you for paying attention to their well-being and taking them to the vet right away if they seem to be showing symptoms of heatstroke. The early symptoms of heatstroke can look like other health conditions, which is why cat owners need to be sure that they pay attention to anything that might be a possible heatstroke.