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Protect Your Cat from Heat Illness

Cats don’t typically have a difficult time with hot weather because they don’t spend long periods of time outdoors. This doesn’t mean that cats are invincible to summer’s most brutal heat wave. Some cats are more at risk because of their age or health conditions. Savvy cat owners understand how to keep their cat cool when the thermometer rises. All cat owners should know how to recognize symptoms of heat distress in their cat.

Heat Illness in Cats

Cats can become overheated and suffer ill effects. Once in a state of hyperthermia (heat distress or heat exhaustion) cats are at risk for a more dangerous condition that can lead to death: heat stroke.

Symptoms of heat stroke in a cat are listed below. Keep in mind, your cat may show only a few of these symptoms. Take the cat for immediate medical assistance.

  • Heavy panting

  • Distressed breathing

  • Drooling, salivating

  • Very red or pale gums

  • Agitation/restlessness

  • Vomiting

  • Diarrhea

  • Weakness

  • Muscle tremors

  • Fever

  • Lethargy

  • Confusion

  • Dizziness

  • Seizures

  • Stumbling, collapsing

  • Unconsciousness

How to Respond to Heat Distress in Cats

The immediate steps you take to assist your cat when it is overheated could mean the difference between saving it’s life or saying good-bye. Implement the following steps and get your pet to the veterinarian for comprehensive medical treatment.

Contact your vet or the nearest emergency veterinary hospital. Follow their directions, which may include steps such as these:

  • Moving your cat to a cool location, indoors if possible

  • Provide water for the cat to drink.

  • Lightly spray cool water onto your cat’s fur. You might also fill a large tupperware with cool water and keep the pads of your cat’s feet wet.

  • Use a fan or any available breeze to help your cat to cool off

Try to continue treatment while you are transporting the cat to the vet.

Is Your Cat at Increased Risk for Heat Illness?

If any of the following applies to your cat, then they are at increased risk for heat illness. Take extra precautions to keep your cat cool.

  • Obesity

  • Currently breeding, pregnant or feeding kittnes

  • Flat-faced breeds (e.g., Persians, Himalayans)

  • Long-haired breeds

  • Respiratory/heart disease

  • Older age

  • Very young kittens

  • Very active cats

  • Cats taking medication that cause increase urination (they will be more prone to dehydration)

  • Recent illness or surgery

  • Poorly ventilated living conditions

Tips for Keeping Your Cat Cool in Summer

There are many ways to help your cat stay cool during the summer heat. The most important of which is access to fresh, clean water throughout the day.

  • Keep water dishes full with clean water and have two dishes in different locations refilled throughout the day.

  • Provide a cool, well-ventilated space for your cat

  • Outdoor cats should have easy access to shaded areas and cool interior spaces

  • Indoor cats need access to cool, ventilated spaces (air conditioning, fans, or open windows)

  • Placing a bottle of frozen water in front of a fan may help

  • Keep their coat clean, trim and brushed out. Trim long-haired breeds.

  • Stroke your cat with a cool, damp towel

  • Wrap an ice pack in a towel and put it in their favourite sleeping spot

  • Check sheds, outbuildings, treehouses, and cars before closing the door; a cat trapped inside could die

Delaware’s Trusted Pet Sitters Keep Your Cat Cool and Happy

If you’re away from the house for work or out of town for vacation, contact Kitten Sittin’ of Wilmington, Delaware to schedule cat sitting services for your kitty. Our trusted pet sitters will make sure your kitty keeps cool and receives lots of TLC while you’re away from home.

Contact us to learn more about our services, dedicated staff, and the approach we take for the wellbeing of all the pets in our care.


“Keep Pets Safe in the Heat.” Humane Society of the U.S.

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