Dangers of Hyperthermia or Heatstroke in Cats

Cute Cat Drinks Water In A Summer Garden On A Hot Day to Stave Off Hyperthermia

Often, there are plenty of conversations about heatstroke or overheating in dogs, but what about hyperthermia in our other furry friends?

Hyperthermia, or heatstroke, is equally dangerous in cats as in dogs. Because both species of pets aren’t able to tell us when they are overheated, it’s important to know the warning signs of high temperatures and what to do to help your pet.

How do cats get overheated?

Hyperthermia occurs when cats are no longer able to self-regulate their temperature.

Overheating, which leads to heat stroke or Hyperthermia, can be caused by several different factors such as over-exertion or an excessively hot environment.

While warm weather does increase the risk of Hyperthermia in cats, they are usually smarter than dogs and will retreat to a cooler, shadier spot. But because cats are mischievous creatures, they can easily get locked in somewhere warm like a shed or greenhouse.

If you have an outside or “working” cat, it’s essential to make sure they have plenty of cool water and a shady place to cool down. Also, double-check any spots where they may be able to hide and possibly be trapped.

Hyperthermia can also result from a spike in fever, due to an adverse reaction to medication or an infected cut or scratch by another cat.

Signs of Hyperthermia

Generally, cats are experts at hiding signs that they are feeling unwell, so it’s difficult to spot a heat-related illness. However, if you do spot any of these signs and notice your cat’s behavior is off, contact your vet immediately.

Here are the signs of high temperatures in cats:

  • Restlessness
  • Panting
  • Constant grooming
  • Red or purple gums
  • Sweaty feet
  • Lethargy
  • Vomiting
  • Staggering

How to treat Hyperthermia in cats

If you suspect your cat of overheating, call your vet immediately or go to an emergency veterinarian clinic. Time is of the essence, and it’s important to bring your feline’s temperature down as quickly as possible.

If your cat is showing signs of heat exhaustion:

  • Take your cat to a cool, shady place. Indoors if possible.
  • Cool down his body temperature by wiping his fur with a cold, wet towel or cloth.
  • Provide access to cold drinking water.
  • Monitor temperature.

A temperature above 103F is quite dangerous and requires immediate veterinarian attention. Anything above 105F is life-threatening and could lead to organ failure or death.

If you have further questions about your cat’s environment and how you can keep him or her safe, please give us a call.

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