Can cats get heat strokes?

While cats enjoy a somewhat warmer room temperature than most humans, they are just as sensitive to extreme heat as we are and can get heat strokes.

Cats can’t sweat like humans; they can only cool themselves through panting or sweating through their foot pads. If their body temperature gets too high, they will suffer heat exhaustion and eventually heat stroke, just like a human. In that case it’s important to bring the body temperature down quickly.

Breeds with short faces and obese cats are at the greatest risk.

Maine Coon looking out the windowIf a cat is taking a relaxing nap in a ray of sunshine, they’re probably feeling just fine. Signs of the environment being too warm include:

  • Panting
  • Drooling
  • Excessive grooming – attempting to cool down
  • Restless behavior – trying to find a cool spot
  • Sweaty paws

If your cat shows these signs, move them to a cool place and provide plenty of water.

If the temperature remains too high, the cat will display signs of heat exhaustion. These include:

  • Rapid breathing and pulse
  • Red tongue and mouth
  • Vomiting
  • Stumbling or staggering

If the cat’s body temperature continues to rise, they will collapse. They may have seizures, slip into a coma, and eventually die.

Do not leave cats in cars, especially on sunshiny days – a car parked in the sun reaches dangerous temperatures in minutes.

Do not lock your cat on a sunny lanai or similar without an option for cooling off.

If your cat is conscious, but you suspect heat exhaustion, bring them to a cool environment, soak with cool (not ice cold) water, and provide water to drink. Go to your veterinarian or the pet ER.

If you find your cat unconscious in a hot environment, soak them with cool water, but be careful to keep it out of their nose and mouth. Place a bag of ice or something frozen between the legs to help reduce their core temperature, and go to your veterinarian or the pet ER. Time is of the essence!

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