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Summer Safety: Preventing Heat Exhaustion in Cats

We all know how much our cats love to sunbathe, and it might be easy to assume that it’s very difficult for cats to overheat. However, during the hot summer months cats can be particularly vulnerable to overheating and even heat stroke. Like dogs, cats mostly pant or sweat through their paw pads to cool off, which is not very effective. Cats can also groom to help themselves cool down, as the saliva evaporating off of their fur creates a cooling effect. However, if cats become too hot, they can experience a variety of heat-related health problems including heat stroke and death.



So what can we do to protect our feline friends from overheating this summer? Check out the steps below!



1. Know the cause

Heat stroke occurs in cats when their environmental temperature is too hot, and they are unable to cool down. Make sure when you leave the house this summer to leave a fan, or even an air conditioner on to keep your home from becoming uncomfortably hot for your cat. Also make sure your cat has plenty of water as dehydration is a serious risk to cats, especially in the heat. 

2. Know the signs

Check out the infographic below for the primary signs that your cat is in heat-related distress. 



3. Take action

If you suspect that your cat is getting too hot, move her immediately to a cooler part of your home and offer water. Never force an animal to drink as it is a serious choking hazard. If your cat doesn’t seem to be cooling off, contact your vet and try the following:

  • Dampen the fur with cool, but not cold water

  • Dab rubbing alcohol on the pads of her feet, the rapid evaporation can create a cooling effect

  • Immerse the cat’s feet in cool water

  • Use an eyedropper to place one or two drops of water at the corner of your kitty’s mouth to help hydrate it if it won’t drink. 

  • If you find your cat unconscious, place a bag of frozen veggies against her tummy and get to the vet immediately.

  • If you are able to ascertain your cat’s rectal temperature, note that 100-103 is normal or slightly high, 103-104 is too high and your cat may need veterinary care, 105 or above is life threatening and your cat requires emergency veterinary care. 


While you are out and about enjoying the summer, don’t forget to think of your cat’s health. Even if she is left home, and presumably out of the heat, don’t assume that it’s impossible for a cat to overheat and remember to take the necessary precautions to keep your furry friends safe this summer.