Temperatures are hitting an all-time high this past week in the United States and all across Europe. But it isn't just people that are being affected by the soaring temperatures: pets are having a rough time staying cool too.
Do you know the signs of feline heatstroke? Cats are usually less susceptible to heat exhaustion as they are generally kept as indoor pets. And if they are outdoors, aren't often taken on exhaustive excursions like people may take their dogs on a hike.
However, it is still possible for cats to get overheated in the summer if they get too much exercise or are unable to find some shade. Cats can also sneak into open cars, garages or attics and get trapped and overheat, so during the hot summer days, keep an eye on these key places.
Signs and Symptoms
Cats initially exhibit these symptoms:
- Restless behavior as your cat tries to find a cool spot
- Heavy panting, sweaty paw pads, drooling, excessive grooming in an effort to cool off
As your cat's body temperature continues to rise, the symptoms will progress:
- Rapid pulse and breathing
- Redness of the tongue and mouth
- Stumbling, staggering gait
- Rectal temperature over 105° F
If you suspect your pet has heatstroke or they are showing signs of heatstroke:
Know how to do Emergency First Aid at home if you suspect your pet has heatstroke. Initial emergency treatment at home should aim to normalize body temperature.
- Remove your pet from the hot environment immediately.
- Apply cool, wet towels over the back of the neck, in the armpits and in the groin region. You may also wet the earflaps and paws with cool water.
- Do not use ice-cold water or ice as this may result in cold shock.
- Then take your pet to the nearest veterinarian immediately.
- Heatstroke is an emergency – always see a vet.
It is easier to prevent heat stroke in your pets than to treat. Here are some tips to help keep your beloved pets cool and safe:
- Be sure your cat always has access to cool, shady areas and plenty of water. Limit your pet's time outside.
- Treat your cat to a "catsicle," put canned cat food or tuna juice in ice cube treats and freeze for a yummy snack.
- For feral or stray cats you can't bring inside, be sure to leave water with ice cubes throughout the day, and provide shade where you can - even a cardboard box can help. You can also freeze cooling mats and leave out for your community cats that you care for to help beat the heat.
- If you have cooling mats, you can put these on your cat's bed. You can also wrap frozen ice packs (or veggies) in a towel and place them near your cat's favorite places to sleep.
- If your cat doesn't like to drink standing water, try a circulating fountain which provides fresh, circulating water to keep them hydrated. Adding ice cubes to your cat's water dish throughout the day can help entice them to keep cool as well.
- Wet a towel in cool water and wipe your cat down, especially the ears and paw pads.
- Have fans running by the windows to circulate air.
- Never leave your cat (or dog, for that matter) confined in a car unattended, or anywhere else that they can’t escape the sun or heat.
Via PetMD, Petfinder