English weather is unpredictable, and even as we start easing into autumn, we can still expect hot days as if it were still summer. On days like this, cats trapped in warm homes or rooms can be susceptible to heatstroke. This can be much more serious in kitties than in humans, and in some cases, fatal. You need to make sure you are keeping an eye out for signs of heatstroke in your cat to keep them happy and healthy. The earlier you catch it, the quicker they can be treated and cared for.
Please keep reading to learn more about heatstroke and cats, how it happens, how to avoid it and what symptoms to expect. If you think your cat is at risk of suffering from heatstroke, we have some top tips on keeping your cat calm and comfortable.
Causes of Heatstroke
A hot day doesn’t have to be a risk to your cat unless they are trapped in a hot, humid environment with little ventilation like small rooms, a conservatory or a car. Similarly, if they don’t have access to shade outside the home, then they can become overheated. A lack of cold, fresh drinking water will also cause their bodies to become hot. And finally, overexerting in this warm weather can be detrimental to their health.
I think it goes without saying that to prevent your cat from getting heatstroke, you need to avoid these circumstances. Keep doors or windows open in your home to allow ventilation and give your cat access to shaded areas and rooms. If your cat is an outdoor cat, buy and plant back garden furniture and bushes so they can relax in the shade. Make sure their drinking bowls are full of fresh water daily and that they are getting plenty of sleep – tell the kids to put the toys away on hot days!
What are the Signs of Heatstroke?
There are many things you can keep an eye out for if you are concerned about heatstroke in cats. If you spot one or more of these symptoms, make sure you book in with the vets and start making changes in your home, so they are out of the heat and kept cool.
Cats aren’t like dogs – panting isn’t a normal activity for them. If your cat is panting with their mouth open, then this should be concerning. Seek veterinary advice immediately as this could be as a result of heatstroke or other health issues.
Kitties can be fun, energetic balls of fluff, but as they age, they become sleepier animals. They are not the most active throughout the day, so noticing lethargy can be difficult. As the pet owner, you should be aware of your cat’s energy levels, when they get up for a walk, how much they like to play and how much they sleep. This should make it easier to notice when they are behaving oddly. To be sure, maybe try making notes of how long they sleep for or play for. When you see a drop in their activity levels, this could be a sign of heatstroke in your cat.
In addition to lethargy, also look out for stumbling. If your cat is off-balance or staggering when they walk, then this could also be a sign of heatstroke.
Vomiting in cats is something serious and should always prompt you to book an appointment with the vet or seek emergency care. As with humans, it is also a sign of heatstroke in cats. The vomit may or may not contain blood, but either way don’t ignore such a severe symptom in your cat.
Before lethargy sets in, your cat may be restless or agitated as a result of heatstroke. They may find it hard to settle down in a spot or position due to being overheated. If you notice this behaviour in your cat, seek veterinary care as soon as possible.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should take them to the vets as soon as possible. If you think your cat is at risk of heatstroke or potentially may beginning to become overheated in your home, then you need to provide them with the following:
Cold, Fresh Water
Make sure you have plenty of cool water for your cat to drink to reduce their body temperature and rehydrate. Top up the water throughout the day and place it out of direct sunlight. Encourage them to drink more by putting water in different areas of your home, so it is easily accessible. Water fountains are also ideal for the fussy cat who prefers running water.
If your cat starts to show symptoms of heatstroke, get a cool, damp towel to wrap around their body. This will help lower their body temperature for the trip to the vets or while at home waiting to hear back from them. Make sure the towel has been thoroughly strung out and is not too cold, otherwise the temperature contrast could put your cat’s body in shock.
Make sure your cat is out of the direct sun by closing blinds and moving furniture, so that dark shadows are cast across areas of the room. This means your cat can rest and move comfortably without being exposed to the sun and heat. This is a great way to prevent heatstroke, but also help your cat if they are already showing symptoms. Providing them somewhere to rest comfortably also allows you to see your cat in case their state starts to deteriorate.
Why not hire a professional cat carer to conduct pop-in visits on hot days where you are concerned for your furry friend’s wellbeing? This is useful if you are going to be away for long hours for a business trip or social call and can’t get home until late evening. A cat carer can put your mind at ease by visiting your pets, topping up their cold water bowls and checking the room they are in isn’t overheating.
Please check out our website to learn more about House My Pet and our services. All of our carers go through a rigorous process to be registered. We take the vetting of our carers seriously as they have the happiness of our furry friends in their hands. With DBS checks, insurance and assessments to complete, we only ever accept pet carers we fully trust and support. So, you can rest assured that on your next holiday, your pet is being well-cared for by a loving, knowledgeable and qualified carer.