Summer Heat: Preventing Cat Heat Stroke & Cat Heat Exhaustion
Living in North Texas can be quite exhausting during the summer months. This summer has been a record summer for us. We are on our 35th straight day of triple digit temperatures. That means every day for the past month it has been at least 100 degrees outside! Talk about hot!
I love to give my cats (and my dog) some daily playtime outside. But that outside playtime can become dangerous when dealing with such extreme heat. Which is why I wanted to share with the dangers of cat heat exhaustion and how to prevent your animal from getting a heat stoke or heat exhaustion. Alike humans, pets can have a heat stroke in severe hot weather. It is extremely important to put your cats health first and protect them in the hotter days of summer.
It is more common for a dog to suffer from a heat stroke but it is still possible for your cat to suffer from a heat stroke as well. A cats normal body temperature is just above 102 degrees. A cat can start to suffer from heat exhaustion when their body temp reaches 104. Heat stroke occurs when their body temperature is 107 or higher.
The most common way to prevent heat exhaustion from developing in your cat is by keeping them inside in the air conditioner. However, if you enjoy letting your cat or dog some outside playtime then choose a time of the day when the sun has not set or is beginning to go down. I let my cats play outside for about 30 minutes each morning around 6-8am. The sun has just begun to rise and it is not the peak of the day.
In this video this Scottish Fold gives several tips for dealing with the high temperatures of summer. Keeping a bowl of fresh water in various places throughout your house is a good idea to keep your pet hydrated and will also help keep their body temperature lower. Groom your cat regularly to rid of excess hair and release heat. If you own a long hair cat consider getting them a summer haircut. Keep them cool with a damp towel to lay or rub on them.
There are other dangerous areas other than the outside that can cause a cat to get heat exhaustion. If you take your pet for a ride or to a veterinarian appointment in your car be sure to use the A/C and NEVER leave your pet locked up in your car. Your car can quickly get over 150 degrees inside and kill your cat in a matter of minutes. Your garage is another dangerous location for your cat to spend any length of time in. Unless your garage is air conditioned it can become 10-30 degrees hotter then the outside temperature. For some reason cats love the heat in the summer. I know my cats love spending time in the hot garage but I am careful to monitor their time in there just like I do with monitoring their outside play time.
As a pet owner you should be aware of the symptoms of cat heat exhaustion and cat heat stroke. If you suspect your cat is suffering from a heat stroke keep an eye out for these signs:
- Vomiting & Diarrhea
- Breathing problems
- Red or Pale Gums & Tongue
- Weakness or slow movement
If your cat is having any of these symptoms and their temperature is above 103 then the quickest way to start treatment is covering them with wet towels or submerging them in cool water. Do not however give them a ice bath. This can cause blood vessels in the skin to constrict which prevents heat loss.
Once you have begun treatment contact your local veterinarian for immediate assistance.
With the extremely hot recent days of summer I got quite the scare with one of my cats. I noticed her breathing was very limited and she was also wheezing with almost every breathe she took. Upon taking her to the vet he said she could have asthma do to the heat. He prescribed her some antibiotic and an anti-inflammatory drug. He also suggested keeping her constricted to a cooler room in the house to keep an eye on her and monitor her breathing. In a matter of a couple days her wheezing stopped and her breathing resumed back to normal.
It was after this experience that I payed close attention to just how quickly a cat can become ill or suffer from heat exhaustion. Although my cat is not over weight it is much easier for an older cat or an obese cat to suffer a heat stroke or exhaustion.
Filed under: Cats 101
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