In spite of their reputation as desert animals, cats do not tolerate heat any better than people. Cats only pant or sweat through their foot pads in order to get rid of excess heat. As the body temperature rises, the cat will suffer heat exhaustion and eventually heatstroke. If the body temperature is not brought down quickly, serious organ damage or death could result.
SIGNS OF TROUBLE
Initial signs that typically indicate the heat is causing him some distress (heat stress) include:
■ Restless behavior as your cat tries to find a cool spot
■ Panting, sweaty feet, drooling, excessive grooming in an effort to cool off
■ Rectal temperature is usually normal to slightly elevated Then, as your cat’s body temperature begins to rise, signs of heat exhaustion become evident, including:
■ Rapid pulse and breathing
■ Redness of the tongue and mouth
■ Stumbling, staggering gait
■ Rectal temperature is over 105° F Eventually the body temperature will be high enough to cause the cat to collapse and have seizures or slip into a coma.
If you can do so safely, check your cat’s temperature with a rectal thermometer:
■ 100° to 103° F is normal to slightly elevated
■ 103° to 104° F is elevated and requires evaluation by a veterinarian
■ Over 105° F is potentially life threatening and requires immediate care
If your cat is just starting to show signs of being stressed by the heat, move him to a cool quiet place and be sure he has plenty of water.
If your cat is still conscious but showing signs of heat exhaustion, immediately take him to a cool environment, soak him with cool water and let him drink all the water that he wants. Then, take him to veterinarian immediately.
If your cat is found unconscious in a hot environment, soak him with cool (not cold) water, being careful to keep the water out of the nose and mouth. Place a bag of ice or frozen veggies between the legs and get your cat to the veterinarian immediately.
Palm Springs & Coachella Valley
Trust me to care when you can’t be there.
● Feed and fresh water
● Litter box maintenance
● Play time
● Non-IV meds
● Plant watering
● Mail and newspaper