What Cat Owners Should Be Aware of Regarding Heatstroke in Cats

What Cat Owners Should Be Aware of Regarding Heatstroke in Cats

It is not uncommon for cats to suffer from heatstroke.

Similar to humans, cats can also succumb to heatstroke.

The risk of heatstroke in cats is higher during hot and humid periods, typically peaking from early summer to early autumn.

What can cat owners do to protect their beloved felines from heatstroke?


Table of Contents

1. Cats and Heatstroke
∟1-1. Why are cats prone to heatstroke?
∟1-2. Seasons prone to heatstroke
∟1-3. Environments prone to heatstroke
2. Symptoms of Heatstroke
∟2-1. Lethargy and lack of energy
∟2-2. High body temperature
∟2-3. Panting excessively
∟2-4. Increased heart rate and vomiting/diarrhea
∟2-5. Seizures leading to unconsciousness
3. Emergency Measures for Heatstroke
∟3-1. Lowering body temperature
∟3-2. Providing water to drink
∟3-3. Rest after initial treatment
4. Prevention of Heatstroke
∟4-1. Installation of air conditioning
∟4-2. Avoiding the use of sunrooms in summer
∟4-3. Increasing water-drinking locations
∟4-4. Observing closely
∟4-5. Leaving a cat in a car is dangerous


1. Cats and Heatstroke

Cats are said to be susceptible to heatstroke.

Of course, there is a difference between cats living indoors and outdoors.

Cats living outdoors can change their location to find a cool spot, so their risk is lower than that of indoor cats.

The problem lies with indoor cats.

Indoor cats cannot find a cool shade like outdoor cats, making them more susceptible to heatstroke.

Cats are inherently not good at regulating body temperature, so living in a hot and humid home increases the risk of heatstroke.


1-2. Why are cats prone to heatstroke?

Cats are said to be creatures not adept at regulating body temperature.

To release accumulated heat in their bodies, cats need to sweat.

However, cats can only sweat in limited areas such as paw pads and the nose, making it difficult for them to release accumulated heat.

The difficulty in regulating body temperature is a reason why cats are prone to heatstroke.


1-3. Seasons prone to heatstroke

The season when cats are prone to heatstroke is mostly during summer.

The risk of cat heatstroke sharply increases when the temperature exceeds 30 degrees Celsius, and the humidity is between 60-80%.

This typically occurs from late May to late September.

Every year, after May, many cats are taken to the hospital due to heatstroke.


1-4. Environments prone to heatstroke

Cats kept indoors are prone to heatstroke in places where the temperature rises rapidly, such as closed rooms or inside cars.

Especially in humid and muggy environments, the risk of heatstroke increases.


2. Symptoms of Heatstroke

Symptoms may vary among individual cats, but if a cat has heatstroke, the following symptoms may appear.

When you notice changes that are different from the usual appearance, consider heatstroke.


2-1. Lethargy and lack of energy

With heatstroke, cats lose their usual vigor.

They become lethargic and reluctant to move.

Some cats may drool when suffering from heatstroke.

Even if they walk, their legs may wobble, and they may have difficulty walking straight.


2-2. High body temperature

If you touch your cat and feel that their body temperature is higher than usual, it may be a sign of heatstroke.

Cats with heatstroke can have a body temperature above 40 degrees Celsius.

However, it is difficult for cat owners to accurately measure their cat's body temperature at home.

If you suspect heatstroke, it is essential to cool them down immediately and take them to the hospital.


2-3. Panting excessively

When cats pant excessively, it is a sign that they are trying to cool down their body temperature.

However, if panting continues, it may lead to dehydration and heatstroke.

Panting accompanied by unusual behavior may be a sign of an emergency, so it is crucial to respond promptly.


2-4. Increased heart rate and vomiting/diarrhea

Heatstroke can cause an increase in heart rate, and cats may experience vomiting and diarrhea.

Dehydration can occur rapidly, so it is important to provide water and seek medical attention promptly.


2-5. Seizures leading to unconsciousness

In severe cases of heatstroke, cats may experience seizures leading to unconsciousness.

This is a critical condition, and immediate veterinary attention is necessary.

Do not delay in seeking help if you observe such symptoms in your cat.


3. Emergency Measures for Heatstroke

When a cat is suspected of having heatstroke, it is crucial to take emergency measures promptly.

Immediate action can make a significant difference in the outcome.


3-1. Lowering body temperature

To lower the cat's body temperature, wet a towel or cloth with cold water and place it on their body.

Focus on areas where blood vessels are concentrated, such as the neck and armpits.

Do not use ice or very cold water, as it may cause excessive constriction of blood vessels.

It is essential to cool them down gradually.


3-2. Providing water to drink

Give the cat water to drink, but do not force them to drink excessively.

Providing small amounts of water at intervals is preferable.

Excessive water intake can lead to vomiting.


3-3. Rest after initial treatment

After the initial treatment, allow the cat to rest in a cool environment.

Monitor their condition closely, and if the symptoms persist or worsen, seek veterinary attention immediately.

Even if the cat appears to have recovered, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian to ensure there are no underlying issues.


4. Prevention of Heatstroke

Preventing heatstroke in cats involves creating a cool and comfortable environment for them.

Here are some preventive measures cat owners can take.


4-1. Installation of air conditioning

Installing air conditioning in your home can help maintain a comfortable temperature for your cat.

Ensure that the temperature is not too cold or too hot, and provide a well-ventilated space for your cat to retreat.


4-2. Avoiding the use of sunrooms in summer

Sunrooms can become excessively hot during the summer, posing a risk of heatstroke for cats.

Avoid allowing your cat access to sunrooms during hot weather.


4-3. Increasing water-drinking locations

Place water bowls in various locations within your home to encourage your cat to stay hydrated.

Ensure that the water is fresh and clean, and consider adding ice cubes to the water to keep it cool.


4-4. Observing closely

Pay close attention to your cat's behavior, especially during hot weather.

If you notice any signs of distress or unusual behavior, take prompt action to cool them down and seek veterinary attention if needed.


4-5. Leaving a cat in a car is dangerous

Never leave your cat in a car, especially during hot weather.

The temperature inside a car can rise rapidly and lead to heatstroke, which can be fatal.

Always ensure that your cat has a cool and safe environment, whether at home or during travel.

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