Heat Stroke in Cats

Heat Stroke in Cats


Cats are notorious for finding the best warm spots to lounge in the sun from the window or by the fireplace.  While most cats like to get cozy, they are even more sensitive to extremely hot temperatures than people.  People can sweat out of pores all of our body to quickly cool ourselves down, but cats cannot.  They only sweat out of the pads on their feet, which is not very effective.  A cat’s normal body temperature is around 100° – 101° F.  Heat stroke occurs when their temperature gets up to 105° F.  If a cat’s body temperature gets that high, they are at risk of brain or other organ damage.


In the warm summer months, make sure your cat has plenty of access to cool shaded areas and fresh water.  If you notice that your cat is restless, panting or looking for a cool place to lay down, make sure you get them inside or to a cooler area and offer them some water.  More serious signs of heat exhaustion are an increased heart rate, vomiting, lethargy and staggering.  Once your cat’s heat stress gets to that point they are at risk of passing out.  The first thing you should do is cool your cat by putting them in cool water.  Do not use ice cold water because that could be too much of a shock to the cat’s system.  Slowly bring their temperature down until they start to perk up then bring them to the vet immediately so the vet can provide fluids and help stabilize their temperature.  Your cat should be feeling normal again in a couple of days.






Heat stroke in a Great Pyrenees dog.


Exercises in hot and humid environment caused liver injury in a rat model.


Dexamethasone improves heat stroke-induced multiorgan dysfunction and damage in rats.


Heat stress illness hospitalizations – environmental public health tracking program, 20 states, 2001-2010.


Effects of heat stress on ocular blood flow during exhaustive exercise.


Heat-induced illness.