My cat has heat stroke

Although cats tend to be heat-tolerant in general and have their own tips for protecting themselves from it, they are not entirely immune to extreme conditions and can suffer from heat stroke.

The regulation of body temperature in cats involves breathing

The cat regulates its body heat through its breathing . This works like a real cooling system. The animal exhales by evacuating the heat towards the outside thanks to the water vapor. He breathes in cooler air which helps cool his body and regulate his temperature. This is the reason why, in the event of great heat, the cat begins to pant. This mechanism is disturbed when the outside air is both very hot and very humid, or when the animal has respiratory problems. There is then a risk of overheating the body temperature .

Symptoms of heat stroke in cats

The animal is panting very intensely, salivating a lot. His body temperature is over 40 degrees. He is initially restless, has motor difficulties, staggers. Then he refuses to stand up. Tremor occurs and can get worse until seizures. There may also be attacks of vomiting and diarrhea. The  heat stroke can result in death.

How to lower the body temperature of the cat?

Emergency actions

If your cat suffers from heat stroke, urgent action is required . It is absolutely necessary to go as quickly as possible to the veterinarian, but after having lowered his body temperature, proceeding gradually so as not to create a thermal shock. Take him to a cooler place, offer him water, but do not force him to drink. Wet it with cool water, then, little by little, more and more cold. Circulate the air.

The veterinarian’s action

You must go to the veterinarian : it is an emergency, the animal is in danger of death. The vet can help the cat cool down its body temperature. He will perform infusions to rehydrate him and manage the state of shock, but also to successfully maintain the correct temperature. Depending on the risks, he will offer other care and he will monitor until the symptoms disappear.

Prevention is better than cure!
To avoid heat stroke, it is best to act upstream. Keep your cat in a cool, ventilated place, regularly offer fresh water, and, above all, never leave it alone in a vehicle in direct sunlight. A sick animal should never be left outside in the sun without supervision.
Dr Elisabeth Tané, veterinarian.