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What is heatstroke? Heatstroke is where there is a sudden rise in body temperature. The internal body temperature then continues to increase and the body is unable to regulate itself to cool down.
- Overweight cats
- Flat-faced or brachycephalic breeds such as Persians
- Cats with thick coats such as Maine Coons
- Elderly cats
- Very young cats e.g. kittens
- Cats with pre-existing health conditions such as heart problems or respiratory problems
Being aware of the signs of heatstroke is important so treatment can be administered as quickly as possible.
Signs of heatstroke include:
- Excessive Panting, Noisy Breathing
- Increased Heart Rate
- Vomiting or Diarrhoea
- Skin is hot to touch
In extreme circumstances where heatstroke hasn’t been treated, then these signs can escalate to include:
If your cat is showing these signs or you are concerned that your cat is suffering from heatstroke, please call your veterinary practice so they can advise you on the best course of action to take.
Please remember that heatstroke is life-threatening and if left untreated then there can be serious and sometimes irreversible consequences such as organ failure and even death.
If you are concerned that your cat is suffering from heatstroke, you need to act immediately. It is also important to call your vets as soon as possible. Cats will hide if they are feeling unwell, so make sure to regularly check on your feline friends to ensure that the symptoms of heatstroke are noticed as soon as possible.
Here are some important first aid tips for you to follow:
- Take your cat somewhere cool or use a fan to help cool them down
- Offer them water but do not force them to drink
- If your cat will tolerate it, then a cool wet towel can be placed on them. Make sure to change the towel every 5 minutes to ensure the towel doesn’t warm up.
- Above all, call your vets. They will carry out a full head-to-toe examination including taking a temperature. They will then begin cooling methods and may advise to admit your cat for further supportive treatment or for additional observations.
Heatstroke can be avoided and the best way is to keep them as cool as you can and as hydrated as possible. Here are some tips on how to prevent your cat getting heatstroke:
Debbie took the degree route to become a veterinary nurse and qualified in 2017 from Hartpury College. She has a cat called Tipsy who she hand reared since she was 3 weeks old. Debbie is a cat friendly advocate for Vet’s Klinic and has an ISFM Certificate in Feline Nursing.