If you suspect heat stroke, your best bet is to take your cat to the nearest open vet facility immediately. Call the hospital or clinic while you are on the way for advice on safe cooling methods.
You can check your cat’s body temperature to gauge the seriousness of the situation. If their body temperature is above 104 degrees, you can use home cooling methods. Remember that your cat will still need to go to the vet.
Cool an overheated cat with care. Using ice or very cold water may seem natural, but they can constrict blood vessels and actually prevent you from cooling down. Ice and cold water can also cool your cat excessively and lead to hypothermia, another dangerous condition.
Follow these steps to cool your cat:
- Move them to a cool, well-ventilated room.
- If the cat is alert, give him cold water to drink, but do not force him. Many cats resist drinking water when they are overheated.
- Use cold / lukewarm water to soak the towel and place your cat on top of it. Do not wrap your cat in a towel as this can retain heat. Replace the towel when it gets warm from the cat’s body heat.
- Spray your cat’s coat with cool/tepid water.
- Turn on a fan if possible.
- Continue to check your cat’s temperature. Stop cooling methods once the body temperature has reached 103.5 degrees. Further cooling at this stage increases the risk of hyperthermia.
Bring your cat to the vet as soon as possible for an examination, even if your cat seems to be back to normal. Your vet may need to run lab tests to check for damage to the internal organs and cells in the body. Additional treatment may be needed to rehydrate your cat, regulate body temperature, and attempt to reverse internal damage. Sadly, not all cats will recover from heatstroke.