What is Heatstroke?
When a cat is left exposed to direct sunlight, there is a rapid rise in her body temperature. The inability to maintain a normal body temperature can result in the occurrence of a heatstroke. Cats can only regulate their body temperatures through panting or sweating from their sweat pads and so this makes them more susceptible to heatstrokes. When a cat is left without access to water, in a poorly ventilated area where she is unable to avoid direct sunlight she can quickly succumb to a heatstroke.
These heatstrokes can be life-threatening as your cat’s organ can gradually begin to shut down due to increased body temperatures. You should immediately contact your veterinarian if you suspect that your cat is having a heatstroke.
Symptoms of Heatstroke in Cats
If your cat has been exposed to sunlight for a long time, the symptoms of the heatstroke will be more severe. They range from initial behavioral symptoms your cat will exhibit in an attempt to regulate body temperatures to symptoms indicating that organs are beginning to shut down and the nervous system has been impaired.
Early symptoms of heatstroke can be:
- Sweating from feet
- Excessive grooming (to cool down)
- Elevated body temperatures/ 103°-104° Fahrenheit
- Red tongue
- Rapid pulse
- Rapid breathing
Treatment For Heatstroke in Cats
- The first and foremost step you can take is cover up your cat with a wet blanket or a towel and move them to a shady or air-conditioned environment to avoid further heat absorption.
- You can add some tuna water or chicken broth to encourage them to drink. But you don’t want them drinking too much or too fast, as either can cause an additional problem.
- Take note of the time. This will be helpful when you arrive at the vet, and it will also keep you from performing first aid too long and unnecessarily delaying veterinary treatment.
- If you have a fan available, blow some cool air on your cat’s upper body. Spray cool water over your cat if their body temperature is above 104°F (40°C).
- Immediately inform your vet that your cat has suffered a heatstroke and visit him as soon as possible. Pre-cool your car before you take your cat in.
- Once your cat has suffered from a heatstroke, there is a greater risk of developing it again. So take the necessary precautions in order to avoid future accidents.
- Consult your veterinarian immediately if you see any unusual behavior in your cat. Monitor your cat’s health on a regular basis and make sure she hasn’t had any long-term damage caused by the heatstroke.
- Watch for blood in the urine.
- Your veterinarian may prescribe a special diet which will put less strain on the damaged kidneys.
- Keep your cat on quality pet supplies to ensure optimal health. There is a lower risk of heatstroke in healthy cats.
- Also keep First Aid kit handy along with other cat supplies, in order to provide first-hand care in case of emergencies.
- Make sure your cat always has access to cool shady areas and plenty of water. Never leave her confined in a car unattended, or anywhere else that she can’t escape the sun or heat. Keep her inside on very hot days.