Is your cat overheating?

Is your cat overheating?

Posted by Pet Direct on 16th Nov 2020

When you feel warm or even hot, chances are your cat does, too. And our feline friends can be susceptible to overheating, heatstroke, dehydration and other heat-related illnesses just like us. During hot, humid or especially warm days, cats are at increased risk for heatstroke and overheating.

Heatstroke in cats is no different than in other species. It is the inability for your cat to cool its body down appropriately, usually during hot and humid weather. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and requires immediate treatment by your veterinarian. To help protect your precious furball, here are the common signs of a cat overheating, behaviours to look out for and what to do if you think your cat is experiencing heatstroke.

7 signs your cat is overheating

If your cat exhibits any of the following symptoms—especially if it’s hot outside—they might be at risk for heat-related illnesses:

  • Cat panting
  • Restlessness
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Dark red or grayish gums
  • Lethargy
  • Increased body temperature
  • Vocalising

Relief for heat exhaustion in cats

Often cats will take it upon themselves to find shady or cool spots, under structures, near cooling vents or by fans. The best thing you can do to help if you see heat exhaustion in your cat is to get them to a cool, calm and soothing environment, try to reduce their stress and keep them as cool as possible.

In some cases, water can help relieve heat exhaustion in cats, but there are specific ways to proceed. And this is only if water won’t further stress your cat. In this case rinse them in cool (not cold) water. Do not place ice cubes on your cat or submerge your cat in water, as this can increase their stress level, putting them at even higher risk of medical complications.

Other ways to help cool a cat overheating include:

  • Bringing them into a cool or air conditioned room
  • Rubbing the cat with a damp towel
  • Make drinking water available at all times, try a pet water fountain.

If your cat refuses to drink, use an eyedropper or syringe to drop a couple of beads of water in their mouth at a time. Do not shoot water into their mouth or down the throat, as this can cause choking.

Which cats are most at risk for overheating?

Any cat can be at risk for heatstroke, but some breeds of cats may be more susceptible to overheating. For example, brachycephalic (short-nosed) breeds are at risk for breathing problems. Some breeds—for example, Persians and Himalayans—may be predisposed to developing heatstroke or be especially sensitive to the effects of heat and humidity and unable to cool themselves effectively.

A physical examination by your veterinarian can help determine your cat’s particular body and facial makeup, if you’re unsure. Whether or not your cat falls into the high-risk category, veterinary experts recommend keeping all cats out of the direct sun as much as possible. As with humans in warm weather, they need access to shade, cool areas and water to stay hydrated. Cats generally are protected best when they’re inside and in a cool area.

If signs of heatstroke do not subside, contact your veterinarian right away.

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