Increased temperatures in summer pose greater health and safety risks for our cats. But you may be wondering, can my cat suffer from heat stroke? The answer is a firm yes.
Although cats can suffer heatstroke , this is not as common as in dogs. For example, cats do not usually drive like dogs, nor do they accompany us for a run or walk in the park. What’s more, cats tend to be smarter (or more concerned) than dogs for their own comfort, and tend to sleep in cooler areas when they need to.
That said, I will go on to comment on a series of tips to prevent your cat from suffering any mishaps in the heat.
What does it mean for your cat to have heatstroke
The sunstroke or heatstroke is a state of hyperthermia (core body temperature elevated above the normal range) happens when the body of your pet can not dissipate the excess heat as fast as required to maintain the normal body temperature.
Excessive heat in your cat can be due to exercise, anxiety or being exposed to high temperatures in its environment , or a combination of several circumstances. Cats are sensitive to heat stroke because they can only regulate their body temperature through panting or sweating from their paw pads.
In severe cases, your pet’s organs may begin to fail due to increased body temperature, and the result can be fatal. It often affects the kidneys, liver, brain, the blood clotting system, and other vital organs and functions.
A pet that is left in an area with poor ventilation, that cannot avoid direct sunlight, or does not have access to water, such as in a car or shed, can quickly succumb to heat stroke.
Risk factors for heat stroke in cats
As temperatures and humidity increase, there is more chance of heat stroke. However, the risk of your cat suffering from it is not limited to the climate in its habitat or the environment (such as indoors versus outdoors).
There are also other factors that increase your risk:
- Age –Very young and old cats are at higher risk of heat stroke.
- Weight: Thosewho are overweight or obese are more likely to suffer from heat stroke. The grease serves as insulation which, although beneficial in the cold, has the opposite effect when temperatures rise. Also, overweight cats generate more heat even with gentle exercise.
- Breed:Due to the structure of their respiratory system, brachycephalic cats (flat-nosed or flat-faced) are at higher risk. Cat breeds at risk include Persian, Himalayan, British Shorthair, and Scottish Fold, as well as mixes of these breeds.
- Existing Medical Conditions:Cats with pre-existing medical conditions, such as chronic kidney disease, bronchitis or asthma, and heart disease.
- Coat of hair –Cats with thicker, darker colored coats may be at higher risk of heat stroke compared to those with thinner, lighter colored coats.
How to recognize the signs of heat stroke in your cat
Unfortunately, cats can be very good at hiding health problems. If you notice that your cat has one or more of the following symptoms, it could be a sign that they are suffering from heat stroke or some other condition that warrants a medical evaluation.
- Sweaty pads (cats sweat through glands in their paws)
- Muscle tremors
- Incrise of cardiac frecuency.
- Red tongue.
- Vomiting and diarrhea.
- Lethargy, weakness.
- No or little urine.
- Drooling or thick / sticky saliva.
- Excessive grooming to cool down.
- Rectal temperature above 105ºF (normal temperature should be 103ºF).
How to reduce the risks of your cat suffering from heat stroke?
As long as you keep the following rules in mind, your pet can safely enjoy summer:
- Have a cool, well-ventilated space for your cat. Good ventilation is essential because many animals lose heat by panting (evaporative cooling), which depends on good air flow. Outdoor pets should also always have access to
- All pets should have access to plenty of fresh, clean waterat all times.
- Never leave your cat in a car,as temperatures rise extremely fast, even on mild days.
- Avoid exercising your cat on very hot days.
- Avoid hot sand, asphalt areas, or any other area where heat is reflected and there is no access to shade.
How to act at the first signs of heat stroke in your cat
I offer you the following advice, if you suspect that your cat has heat stroke or heat stroke:
- Remove your cat from the hot environment immediately. Take it to a safe place, in the shade or with air conditioning to avoid injury and greater heat absorption.
- Apply or spray warm / cold water on the animal’s fur and fur. You can then use a fan to achieve more heat loss.
- Wetting the area around your pet can also help.
- Do not use ice water or ice, as this can make the problem worse.
- If he’s alert enough and can drink water, give him small amounts often. But don’t let him drink too much or too fast, as either can cause other inconvenience.
- If you have a dry towel or blanket, you can use it to lightly pat your cat dry. This can help prevent rapid and excessive cooling.
- Measure rectal temperature with a thermometer (preferably digital, rather than glass) and plenty of lubricant.
- Take note of the time the temperature was taken. This will come in handy when you go to the vet, and it will also prevent unnecessary delay in vet treatment.
- Do not forget that a heat stroke is an emergency, consult a veterinarian. Even if your pet appears to be recovering, it should always be seen by a vet.
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