Summertime is arguably the best time of the year. The heat brings a lot of really great things like shorts, pool parties, iced tea, and fireworks. However, the summertime heat can also be really hard on your body and your cat’s body. Heatstroke is a medical emergency affecting both cats and humans that occurs when the body becomes too hot to regulate it’s own temperature.
Heatstroke in Cats
Although cats are desert animals, they are as sensitive to heat as humans are. They can even get sunburns (especially on their ears)! Just like you and me, if a cat’s body gets too hot in the summertime heat, they are in danger of suffering from heatstroke. Be sure to watch your cat for symptoms of heat stroke. The sooner it is caught, the more likely it can be treated. Call or visit your veterinarian right away if you think your cat is suffering from heatstroke.
The initial signs that your cat may be overwhelmed by the summertime heat can be fairly subtle. You may see that the cat is panting, drooling or feel that their paw pads are sweating (cats can not sweat other than their paw pads). The cat may also be anxiously searching for a place to cool down or excessively grooming themselves.
If the cat is unable to cool down and the cat’s body temperature continues to rise, the symptoms of heatstroke become more pronounced. They may become lethargic or begin vomiting. You might notice that they are stumbling or staggering as they walk. Their pulse and their breathing could become rapid. Their usually pink mouth and tongue could become red in color. When the heatstroke becomes severe, the cat may collapse, have seizures, go into a coma, or die.
Tips for Keeping Cool in Summertime Heat
- Make sure that your cat has access to plenty of fresh, cool water.
- Keep your cat indoors where you can control the temperature.
- If you don’t have air conditioning, be sure to place a fan where your cat can sit next to it and get cool.
- Place ice cubes in your cat’s water for extra coolness.
- Try making frozen treats for your cat. You could try using your cat’s favorite wet food and treats like this recipe from Petfinder. If you don’t like that one, try one that uses sardines and krill like this recipe from All Natural Pet Care or tuna from can like this one from Modern Cat.
- Don’t leave your cat in the car for even a short period of time! It doesn’t take long for the summertime heat to raise the temperatures in your car to a deadly level.
- Keep your cat groomed. Getting rid of the excess hair can help your kitty stay cool.
- Try to do all of your playing in the morning or the evening. The temperature is hottest in the middle of the day, so that will be a great time for your kitty to just relax and stay cool.