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Heatstroke in cats

As the summer approaches, so does the sun and the heat. With rising temperatures, cats can feel unwell and even suffer from heatstroke. Look out for symptoms, such as anxiety or getting wobbly. Read our top tips on how to help your cats on hot days.
Heatstroke in cats

Most cats like the heat and normally adapt to the temperature. Usually they take it easy in the shade during the day and become more active in the evening and during the night.

If your cat moves freely outdoors, it probably seeks shade. But if a cat suffers from heatstroke, it can be life-threatening.

How to protect your cat against heatstroke:

  • Set out water, preferably in several places both outside and inside
  • Ventilate as much as possible with safe measures such as screened windows and balconies
  • Leave the door open to the bathroom, where the floor is often cool
  • Give your cat the opportunity to enter a cooler house through, for example, a cat flap
  • If you suspect heatstroke or a reduced general condition, always contact a veterinarian.
  • Never leave your cat in the car as the heat rises quickly, even in a car parked in the shade

Symptoms of heatstroke

Cats can have several different symptoms of heatstroke, including panting, red, dry mucous membranes, restlessness, lethargy, increased salivation, vomiting and diarrhoea. Heatstroke can lead to collapse.

If you suspect that your cat has suffered from heatstroke - take them to cool off. If possible, carefully immerse your cat in water (avoid ice cold water). Alternatively, spray or soak the coat and skin with water. Contact a veterinarian urgently as heatstroke is a life-threatening condition for a cat and requires veterinary care.

Give the cat shade and coolness

Indoor cats seek out shady rooms, preferably with ventilation from open windows and balcony doors. Often cats like to lie in the bathroom where the floor is cool or in a room where the sun shines for the shortest time. If possible use a fan or air conditioning.

How do cats get rid of excess heat?

Cats only sweat via their footpads, but to get rid of excess heat, the cat can pant and the heat is released via the mucous membranes of the mouth.

When a cat licks its fur, the saliva simulates sweating. If possible, cats can also cool down by laying their stomachs against a cool floor. Individuals that handle heat less well are cats with narrow airways, cats that already have an underlying disease, overweight, very young or elderly individuals.

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