Heatstroke in Cats: Causes, Symptoms, & Treatment

Heatstroke in cats, while far less common than in dogs, is still a prominent issue that our vets see. Today our Edgewater vets talk about the signs and dangers of heatstroke in cats.

Heatstroke in Cats

Heatstroke, also known as prostration or hyperthermia, occurs when the body's core temperature rises due to the surrounding environment. The normal body temperature for a cat is typically between 101-102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. It is crucial to seek immediate veterinary care if your cat's body temperature exceeds 105 degrees!

Why Cats Get Heatstroke

Heatstroke in cats, and even dogs, is typically caused by exposure to excessive ambient heat. Some of the most common causes of heatstroke in cats include:

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

Signs of Heatstroke in Cats

The symptoms if heatstroke in cats include:

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

What To Do If Your Cat Has Heatstroke

Heatstroke is a serious condition and symptoms should always be treated as an emergency! If your cat is displaying signs of heatstroke head to your vet straight away, or go to the nearest animal emergency hospital.

If your cat is awake and you think they might have heatstroke, transfer your cat to a cool room and dampen their fur with cool, not cold, water. Then, carefully place ice packs on your cat's feet.

Make sure to keep the vehicle's air conditioning on full or open windows while transporting your cat to the vet. This will allow airflow to help cool your cat down.

How to Treat Heatstroke in Cats

The vet will actively work to bring your cat's body temperature back to normal. You can achieve this by using cool water and/or ice packs.

The vet may administer intravenous fluids to help lower your cat's temperature, counteract shock, and reduce the risk of organ damage. Sometimes, oxygen therapy may be necessary.

Your cat's body temperature will be monitored by the team at your vet's office, ensuring it returns to normal parameters. Cats can recover quickly from heatstroke if it is caught early and treated immediately.

Heatstroke is a significant health risk for cats and dogs. The vet will thoroughly examine your cat for any indications of organ damage or other severe complications before granting permission for your pet to come back home. Make sure to closely monitor your cat for any signs of illness if they have recently recovered from heatstroke, as evidence of organ damage may not be immediately apparent in some cases.. 

Preventing Heatstroke in Cats

Ensure your cat stays safe from heatstroke by giving them a cool, shady spot to relax in on hot days, providing them with ample fresh water to drink, and never leaving them trapped in a hot room or vehicle.

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. 

Has your cat been laying in the sun too long and is showing signs of heatstroke? Contact our Edgewater vets right away or contact your nearest emergency vet immediately.