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Heat Stroke in Cats - Symptoms & Treatments

As the summer months arrive and their inevitable heatwaves hit, remembering that our feline companions feel the heat as much—if not more—than we do can be vitally important. It’s not only about keeping your cat comfortable; making sure your cat is protected from the heat can protect them from heat exhaustion and heatstroke—and potentially save their lives.  

Keeping your cat hydrated with plenty of fresh water and serving them some wet cat food can help keep them cool, but there are more steps cat owners need to keep in mind to ensure their cats’ safety.  

What is Heat Exhaustion vs. Heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a serious condition that cats and other animals experience when their body temperature becomes so high their body cannot cool themselves. The precursor to heatstroke is heat exhaustion.  

Signs of heat exhaustion in cats include restless behavior as they search for a cool spot or area, panting, drooling, sweaty paws or excessive grooming, which are all an effort to cool themselves down.  

Heat exhaustion can quickly become heatstroke if a cat doesn’t find solace from the heat. Heatstroke occurs in cats when their body temperature reaches 105°F or above. If you believe your cat is suffering from heatstroke, get your cat to a cool, well-ventilated area and call your veterinarian or emergency pet clinic immediately.  

Signs of Heatstroke in Cats

Heatstroke is a danger for cats exposed to hot temperatures, especially if it’s for an extended period. Here are some of the symptoms to look for if you’re concerned your cat is suffering from heatstroke: 

If your cat displays any of these symptoms, get them to a cool place and call your veterinarian immediately, even if your cat seems to have recovered and is acting normal. 

Risk Factors for Heatstroke

All cats can suffer from heatstroke, but some may be at higher risk than others. Cats with one or more of the following may be at higher risk: 

Consulting with your veterinarian should always be the first course of action if you’re concerned your cat is suffering from heatstroke. But if immediate help isn’t possible, there are steps you can take to help your cat cool down: 

Remember, even if your cat seems to have recovered, it is still vital that a veterinarian check them out. 

How to Prevent Heatstroke in Cats 

The best way to battle heatstroke is to prevent it from happening in the first place. The good news is, if you take the proper precautions, your cat should be able to stay cool, comfortable and safe on even the hottest of days. Here are some preventive steps to take: 

Remember, your cat may not know how to communicate they’re becoming overheated, so keep a close eye on them as the temperatures soar so you both can have a pleasant summer together.  

For more tips on cat and kitten health from our experts, visit our Pet Expertise page.