Heatstroke in cats: what you need to know
In our previous article, we mentioned how you can take your cat out on walks with proper introduction and training. However, cat owners should keep in mind that Singapore’s sunny weather does not always permit us to do so.
Cats may be primitive desert animals, but that does not warrant them a better tolerance to heat. In fact, they are unable to cool down as fast as humans do as they are only able to sweat through their paw pads and by panting. This means that they are as susceptible to heat stroke as we are. (No one escapes the clutches of the merciless sun!)
Hence, cat owners should make it a point not to bring your cat out for walks when the weather is too unbearably hot. With that said, there are always unforeseen circumstances like when the weather takes a drastic change, just like our furbaby’s mood (teehee).
So, it is important for fellow cat lovers to understand the fundamentals of heatstroke in cats and how to deal with it when required.
Before we begin on the symptoms of heat stroke, take note that some cats are more prone to it than others. This includes cat breeds with flat face, older and younger cats, overweight cats and those with pre-existing medical conditions. Please take extra precautions and care for these fragile babies during the hot season!
Moving on, here’s how to recognise the initial signs of heat stroke in cats:
- Excessive grooming
- Sweating from paws
All above signs are due to our cat’s attempt to balance their body temperature and cool themselves down.
In more serious cases, the cat will start displaying these symptoms:
- Vomiting and diarrhoea
- Red gums
- Lethargy, staggering
- Rapid breathing
If you notice your cat displaying any of the above symptoms, immediately begin Emergency First Aid and rush him to the vet.
Here’s how you can perform Emergency First Aid on a cat suffering from heat stroke:
- Remove the cat from the heat source and bring it to a cool and shady place (preferably air-conditioned).
- Wet a towel or blanket and place underneath the cat.
- If the symptoms are serious, spray some cool water over the cat (**not cold) and direct a fan at him to speed up evaporation if possible.
- If the cat is still alert, offer small amount of cool water frequently but do not force him to drink as it might cause choking.
- Keep in mind not to use cold water throughout as it might worsen the situation and restrict blood flow.
- Bring to vet for a thorough check up.
Take note not to perform the above First Aid if the condition is serious and if it will delay the time to reach the vet.
Heat stroke in cats should never be taken lightly, it is a life-threatening situation which may cause internal organ damage! Hence, you should always bring the affected cat to a vet immediately to prevent any further complications.