Identify and Treat Heat Stroke in Cats

Summer means lots of suns and high temperatures. While we are looking for cool drinks and a dip in the cold water, the summer heat can quickly become a problem for our cats. Heatstroke in particular is life-threatening. We will explain to you how you can recognize heat stroke in cats in good time and how you can best help your furry friend.

How do I Recognize Heat Stroke in Cats?

Fortunately, there are some signs that the heat is bothering your darling. The most common symptoms of life-threatening heatstroke in cats and other animals are:

  • increased breathing rate with mouth breathing (shortness of breath)
  • weak and restless general condition, symptoms of exhaustion, and loss of consciousness
  • vomiting if necessary
  • Shock symptoms: pale mucous membranes, increased pulse rate, shallow breathing
  • Body temperature rise above 40 degrees Celsius

First Aid: How Can I Help My Cat?

If your cat shows signs of heatstroke, act quickly. Without countermeasures, it can quickly become life-threatening.

Fortunately, there are some first aid measures you can take on your loved one yourself. First of all, it is important that you remain calm. The hustle and bustle are carried over to your furry friend. This stress only creates additional heat production.

As a first step, provide a cool and shady area for your cat to relax in. Also, offer her cool water to drink.

Also, actively cool your cat. To do this, you can wrap your velvet paw with wet towels or carefully shower it off with a cold shower. This allows the moisture on the skin to evaporate and create a cooling atmosphere.

When Do I Have to go to the Vet?

If your cat’s condition does not improve or shows signs of shock, you should see a veterinarian immediately. Also, make sure that the environment is cool during transport. For example, keep covering your cat in the car with wet towels.

The veterinarian then has every opportunity to monitor the cat intensively and to stabilize the circulatory system. Typically, overheated cats are given fluid therapy in the form of IV fluids. These can be administered under the skin or directly into the vein using syringes.

In addition, they are cooled down by the use of cooling mats and blankets. Since heat stroke is often life-threatening, the veterinarian monitors overheated cats until the vital signs have normalized.

What is Heat Stroke?

In medical circles, heatstroke is also known as heat pyrexia or heat hyperpyrexia. It occurs when the cat’s body temperature rises to over 40 degrees Celsius due to heat build-up. This leads to a disruption of the cardiovascular system.

Cats, on the other hand, can rarely get sunstroke because it is heat damage to the meninges. This usually occurs with us humans.

How does heat regulation work in a cat’s body?

In humans and cats, heat regulation takes place in the brain. More precisely, the hypothalamus in the diencephalon is responsible for this.

Specialized measuring sensors (receptors) tell him how high the current internal body temperature (actual value) is. These are distributed all over the cat’s body. The measured actual value is then compared with the target value in the brain.

If the actual value now deviates from the setpoint, the body can regulate the body temperature with various mechanisms:

Too cold: actual value <setpoint

Increased physical activity (for example, muscle tremors) produces heat.

Too warm: actual value> setpoint

Cats pant, look for shady spots, or brush their fur more often in order to moisten it. These measures serve to give off heat.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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