Cats enjoy warmer temperatures than humans and love stretching out in a ray of sunshine, but they can still get heat strokes. Given the option, the cat will move out of the heat before that happens, but a cat in a carrier, in a closed room, in a car, or maybe locked out on a porch depends on us making good decisions.
The average normal body temperature of a human is 98.6 F, and the normal body temperature of cats falls in the range of 99.5 – 102.5 F. When we get too warm, the body solves the problem through sweating, but cats can’t do that. They pant and sweat through their foot pads. Watch for signs like:
- Restlessness – the cat may be walking around, trying to find a cooler spot
- Grooming excessively – the cat is attempting to cool down
- Sweaty paws
If you notice these signs, move the cat to a cool place and provide water.
If the temperature remains too high, the cat will show signs of heat exhaustion.
- Stumbling or staggering
- Rapid breathing or pulse
- Red mouth and tongue
Move the cat to a cooler environment immediately! If the cat’s body temperature rises further, they will collapse. At that point you can expect seizures, coma, and eventually death.
If you suspect heat exhaustion, bring the cat to a cool environment, soak with cool water (not ice cold), and provide water to drink. Your cat needs to get to your veterinarian or the nearest pet ER as soon as possible.
If the worst should still happen and you find your cat unconscious in a hot environment, soak with cool water and place a bag of ice or other frozen item between their legs to help them cool off. Make sure they don’t get water in their nose or mouth! Time is of the essence, don’t wait with going to your veterinarian or pet ER; go right away.