Feline Heatstroke: risks & prevention

Most cat owners will know that one of their pet's favourite activities is to lay out in the sun or on a sunny window ledge. During hot weather, cats can be susceptible to heatstroke, a condition that can be life-threatening if not treated promptly. In this article, Head Vet Alun Edwards discusses how to prevent heatstroke in cats and explains the signs to look out for.

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Top Tips for Keeping Cats Safe this Summer

1. Keep your cat indoors

When it's uncomfortably hot in Worcestershire, it's best to try and keep your cat indoors in a cool and well-ventilated room. This will help prevent them from overheating and keep them safe from outdoor hazards such as cars, predators, and toxic plants. If your cat is an outdoors wanderer, try to encourage them back indoors as often as possible and check they can't get trapped in outdoor structures like greenhouses and sheds.

2. Provide plenty of water

Making sure your cat has access to clean and fresh water at all times is vital in hot weather. Alun reommends placing multiple water bowls throughout your home, especially in cooler areas like the bathroom. You can also add ice cubes to their water to keep it cool. You may want to place a bowl or two outdoors as well if your cat does like to venture out.

3. Provide a cool environment

Ensure your cat's environment is cool and well-ventilated. Use fans or air conditioning to keep the air circulating and the temperature comfortable. You can also provide cool surfaces for your cat to lie on, such as a tile or marble floor. Leaving a window open is unwise as your cat can then get (or fall) out into the hot outoors.

4. Avoid exercise during the hottest parts of the day

If you exercise your cat or do active playtimes with them, avoid doing this during the hottest parts of the day, such as midday when the sun is at its peak and into the afternoon. Instead, exercise or play with your cat in the early morning or late evening when the temperature is cooler.

5. Groom your cat regularly

Regular grooming can help minimise the risk of heatstroke by removing excess fur that can trap heat and make your cat uncomfortable. Brush your cat daily to remove loose fur and matting.

Signs of heatstroke in cats

If your cat is exhibiting any of the following signs, they may be experiencing heatstroke and require immediate attention:

  • Excessive panting or drooling
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Reddened gums or tongue
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Confusion or disorientation
  • Seizures or collapse

If you suspect that your cat is experiencing heatstroke, call your vet, or if that's us, call Clent Hills Vets in Bromsgrove, Hagley or Rubery on  01527 889810 to get urgent advice.

In the meantime, try to cool your cat down by providing them with cool water to drink, wetting their fur with tepid (not cold) water, and placing them in front of a fan.

Alun says that following these simple tips and knowing the signs to look out for can help keep your cat safe and comfortable during hot weather. Remember to always provide plenty of water, keep your cat cool, and seek veterinary attention if you suspect your cat is experiencing heatstroke.

Book your cat’s summer health check and don’t forget to share this article with other cat owners.

Book a summer health check