Like humans and dogs, cats can be exposed to high temperatures. Heat stroke and heat exhaustion are serious conditions that can occur in any animal. We usually hear more about heatstroke in dogs, especially those left in hot cars. Cats aren’t often affected by heatstroke as they are less likely to be trapped in hot spots, but that doesn’t mean they’re not in danger. You can protect your cat by understanding the signs of heatstroke and learning what actions to take.
What is Heat Stroke?
Heat stroke is a condition that occurs when your body temperature becomes dangerously high. The normal range for a cat’s body temperature is 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Hyperthermia is an increase in body temperature caused by a trigger such as a hot environment or inflammation in the body. An internal body temperature above 102.5 is considered abnormal. If the rise in body temperature is due to a hot environment, heat exhaustion may occur and heat stroke is likely to occur.
Heat exhaustion is a precursor to heat stroke. The cat’s body temperature becomes too high for the body to cool down, and heatstroke will soon develop if the cat is not removed from the hot area. Heatstroke can begin when a cat’s internal body temperature rises above about 104 degrees. This causes damage to organs and cells in the body that can quickly lead to death.
Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Contact your vet immediately if you suspect your cat is overheated.