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Can Cats Get Heatstroke?

You need only stroll the streets, be waiting at a bus stop or hanging out at a cafe in Singapore these two weeks to hear gripes of the recent heatwave to hit our shores. 🥵


Thanks to technology and a very fortunate Singapore, we can always run indoors where there is air-conditioning, or stay cool with ten different fans blowing directly at you. 😆🪭


But what about our furry companions?

Have you wondered how the heatwave may be affecting them?



 


What is heatstroke?

Heatstroke is a state where core body temperatures rise to a point that results in heat damage to tissues, and if severe can lead to serious consequences of organ failure, even death. 😲



Our furry friends are not like us!

Unlike us, our fur companions cannot remove layers when it gets hot, and they may not always have an option to move themselves to cooler places or avoid the sun.


Another important fact –

Animals are unable to cool down by sweating as humans do, so they are less able to regulate their body temperature.


Many may be aware that dogs can suffer from heatstroke, but it is less commonly known that cats do as well.


 


What should we look out for?

In this recent heat, how can we help to keep watch for the welfare of our kitties?

What are some signs and symptoms we can look out for?


Signs of heatstroke (these may be subtle!) include:

  • Panting, that may progress to noisy or distressed breathing

  • Restlessness, agitation or pacing

  • Drooling

  • Bright red tongue or gums

  • Increased or fast heart rate

  • Vomiting or diarrhea


Advanced signs of heatstroke include:

  • Weakness and lethargy

  • Confusion

  • Collapsing

  • Seizures



What should we do?



As the famous adage goes: prevention is better than cure.


However, if in the event our kitty is already exhibiting signs and symptoms of heatstroke, there are some emergency first aid steps we can take!






Preventing heatstroke in our kitties

  • Ensure that our kitties always have access to a cool shaded area, both indoors and outdoors.

  • Ensure that our kitties always have fresh drinking water available, adding a couple of ice cubes can help to keep the water cool (not cold).

  • Ensure that your kitty is regularly groomed if it is advisable for their breed (i.e. long fur breeds).

  • Restrict exercise during the hottest times of day – though rare for cats in general, possible for active younglings.


If our kitty is already exhibiting signs and symptoms of heatstroke 😧:


First-aid for heatstroke

Important: Heatstroke is an emergency – always bring your kitty in to the vet, even if you just suspect they may have heatstroke or if they seem like they are recovering.


The following are steps to take while bringing in your kitty to see the vet:

  • Take your kitty to a cool place – well-ventilated or with a fan

  • Offer them a drink of cool water so that they can drink if they wish (do not force!)

  • Cool them down by draping a cool wet towel over them, or by pouring cool or tepid (not cold as it will worsen the problem!) on their fur and skin. Followed by fanning them to maximise heat loss.


 

We hope this short sharing is informative and helpful in our care for our kitties!

Stay cool and safe, everyone!

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