Heatstroke in Cats - Symptoms & What You Should Do

While our Apple Valley vets see fewer instances of heatstroke in cats than we do in dogs, this condition still does occur in our feline friends. In today's post, we share some of the symptoms of heatstroke in cats and what to do if you suspect that your pet is suffering from a heatstroke. 

Heatstroke in Cats

Heatstroke, also called prostration or hyperthermia, is a condition that is defined as an increase in the core body temperature that is caused by environmental conditions. Your cat's regular body temperature should rest at btou 101-102.5 degrees Farenheit. If your cat's body temperature rises about 105 degrees, you should bring your cat in for immediate veterinary care!

Why Cats Get Heatstroke

In both cats and dogs, heatstroke is generally caused by an exposure to excessive amounts of heat. Some of the most common causes of heatstroke in cats include:

  • Trapped in hot unventilated space (such as a car)
  • Extremely hot outdoor temperature
  • Lack of access to shade
  • Lack of access to water 

Signs of Heatstroke in Cats

If your cat is experiencing a heatsroke, you may notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of Balance
  • Excessive Panting
  • Restless behavior
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Tremors
  • Drooling
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of Balance
  • Excessive grooming
  • Uncoordinated movement
  • Seizure
  • Unconsciousness

What To Do If Your Cat Has Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a serious condition and its symptoms should always be treated as an emergency. If your cat is showing signs of heatstroke, head to your vet as soon as possible or visit your nearest emergency hospital.

If your cat is conscious and you suspect that they may be suffering from heatstroke, move your cat into a cool room and wet your cat's fur with cool (NOT COLD) water, then place ice-packs gently on your cat's feet.

While taking your cat to the vet, make sure to keep your car's air conditioning on full or open all the windows to allow for airflow and to help cool your kitty down.

How Your Vet Will Treat Your Cat's Heatstroke

Your vet will work to reduce your cat's body temperature back down to normal. This may be done using cool water and/or ice packs.

Your vet may also administer intravenous fluids to help to lower your cat’s temperature, counteract the effects of shock and minimize the risk of organ damage. In some cases oxygen therapy may also be required.

The team at your vet's office will monitor your cat's body temperature every few minutes until your pet's body temperature is back within normal parameters. If caught early and treated immediately cats can recover quickly from heatstroke.

All of that being said, heatstroke presents some pressing risk to your cat's health. Your vet will examine your feline friend for signs of organ damage and other serious complications before letting your pet return home. In some instances, evidence of organ damage doesn't become obvious for a number of days. So, be sure to monitor your cat very carefully for signs of illness if they've recently recovered from a heatstroke. 

How to Prevent Heatstroke in Cats

To prevent your cat from getting heatstroke, always provide your cat with access to a cool, shady space to relax in on hot days, make sure that your feline friend has access to plenty of fresh clean water to drink, and never leave your pet trapped in a vehicle or hot room.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Is your cat displaying symptoms of heatstroke? Visit Bear Valley Animal Hospital to receive urgent care during our regular hospital hours. Our vets are experienced in treating conditions like heatstroke and are here to help your cat recover from this serious condition. Contact us today.