With summer upon us and the temperature rising, chances are not only you are feeling the heat. If you have a cat, they are just as susceptible as we humans are to the effects of heat-related illnesses like becoming overheated, dehydrated, and heat-stroke. The higher the temps, the more likely they are to be affected, especially if they are outdoor cats with no escape from the heat. We have put together some of the most common signs and behaviors of overheating in cats and how to best help your feline companion.

 Signs of Overheating 

Heat-related illness can come on quickly on hot days. If you notice your cat exhibiting one or more of these symptoms, quick action needs to be taken to help cool them down and save their life.

  • Gums that appear dark red or grey
  • High temperature
  • Lethargy
  • Panting
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Restlessness
  • Vocalizing

 What You Can Do To Relieve Heat Exhaustion

Most cats will know that they need to get out of the heat and will seek out a cooler spot in the shade. However, if you can give them a calm, cool environment this will help to reduce their stress level down and help them start to cool off quicker. Rinsing your cat with cool water (NOT cold) can also help to quickly relieve your cat’s symptoms as long as they do not get stressed by water. Never force them into the water, submerge them, or place ice on their body. These can all lead to stress for your cat, making their symptoms worse. 

Other ways you can help your cat are:

  • Bring them indoors to a room with air conditioning
  • Rub their body with a cool, damp towel
  • Give them fresh clean drinking water at all times

If your cat will not drink, use an eyedropper or syringe to drip a few drops of water into their mouth to begin rehydrating them.

Summer temperatures can creep dangerously high for your pet quickly. Knowing how to treat your cat for heat-related illnesses can help save their life. If they do not respond well to these home treatments, do not delay in calling your Ellicott City, MD veterinarian, or emergency animal hospital immediately.