Hyperthermia: how to help your cat survive the heat

Hyperthermia: how to help your cat survive the heat

During the heat of summer, hyperthermia is a serious risk that can affect your cat. Here’s how to ensure she stays cool and healthy.

On a basic level, cats are just like us – they get hungry, sleep, love, and experience a wide range of other feelings, needs, and urges. Throughout the year as the temperature fluctuates, it’s important to ensure your cat’s comfort. This means taking steps to protect her from hyperthermia during the summer.

Hyperthermia: definition and symptoms

By definition, hyperthermia is an elevation in core body temperature above accepted normal ranges secondary to an imbalance between heat production and heat loss. To put it simply, it is heat exhaustion caused by an inability to fend off excess heat.

Cats have only one way to cool down – through their footpads. If the temperature gets so high that your kitty cannot expel heat quickly enough, she may experience hyperthermia and heat stroke. To prevent this, watch for the earliest signs of hyperthermia:

  • Unusual behavior caused by the fact that your cat cannot find a place cool enough
  • Excessive grooming, panting, drooling
  • Fast heartrate, heavy breathing, and vomiting
  • Disorientation and stumbling
  • Rectal temperature above 105° F

9 ways to keep your cat cool

Now that you know the basics of hyperthermia in cats, the only thing left is to learn how to prevent it. Here are nine practical tips:

1. Keep the water bowl full

The first tip is obvious – keep your cat’s water bowl full of fresh water around the clock to prevent dehydration.

2. Provide shade and air movement

Another important tip is to create a cool and shady spot where your cat can enjoy some leisure time if she spends time outdoors.

3. Avoid hot surfaces

Summertime is full of hot surfaces. Your job is to keep your cat away from hot sand, asphalt, and other areas that could burn her paws and cause her to become overheated.

4. No exercising when it’s too hot

Although your cat needs exercise to thrive – even during the summer months – she should avoid excessive movement when the weather is too warm. Swap active play for one-on-one engagement – grooming and casual play helps keep her body and mind in good shape.

5. Use damp towels

If the heat is intolerably high, you can use damp towels to help your cat cool down. Stroke her face with them, or place small ones on her neck while she’s resting.

6. Close the curtains

You probably close the curtains if you feel the sun is shining too bright and heating up the space. Your kitty will appreciate the gesture, too.

7. Let her play with ice cubes

Most cats find ice cubes entertaining, so try letting your kitty play with these cold toys to cool down.

8. Circulate cool air

Circulate fresh air by opening the windows or turning on the air conditioner.

9. Never leave your cat in your car

The media is full of warnings not to leave dogs in cars during the summer months. This rule also applies to cats!

The bottom line

Cats are stoic creatures that rarely complain when they’re uncomfortable, but you have to protect them from external influences such as heat. Keep all these tips in mind and make sure to apply them – your pet will be very grateful!


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