Signs of Heat Stroke in Cats


By: Tracey ZyskJuly, 2015

It’s common to hear about dogs getting heat stroke but did you realize your cat can become overheated? Especially those felines that like to spend the entire day outside. Hiding, jumping, strolling your neighborhood or woods; whatever it may be, they just get so involved in their adventures they don’t realize how hot it is outside.

Unlike humans that have the ability to sweat to cool their body temperatures, cats do not sweat. For felines to lower their temperature they rely on panting and licking their fur to keep cool. Not exactly the easiest way to cool down on a hot summer day.
If a cat is unable to find a cool area to rest, or some water to drink, he will become overheated and possibly have a heat stroke.

If your cat becomes overheated, basically his body temperature has risen above 102.5. As a pet owner here are a few signs you should keep in mind if you believe your cat may be having a heat stroke:

• Weakness
• Muscle tremors
• Dizziness
• Anxiety
• Lethargy
• Rapid panting
• Bright red tongue
• Dark red gums or pale gums
• Salivating (thick)

The most obvious sign and early indicator is a simple one…Is your cat walking funny or wobbling?

If you notice your cat is starting to have a stroke or seems hotter than usual:

1. Put an ice pack or some ice cubes on your cat’s body. You may even want to wrap the ice pack in a light towel so the extreme difference in temperature doesn’t shock your cat’s body but the coolness helps lower his temperature.

2. If your cat is comfortable with water, try putting him in your bathtub or sink with cool water. Once again, not too cold, but a nice cool temperature.

3. Try to get your cat to drink some water. It may be easier to put water in a syringe to administer water into his mouth rather than attempting to see if he will drink from a bowel.

4. Keep him in a cool room or basement area.

5. Once you get his temperature down call your veterinarian or take him to your veterinarian emergency room.

As always, leave a couple of bowels filled with water and ice cubes, both inside and outside your house for your cat to drink throughout the day.

Tracey Zysk, Doggie Columnist
Tracey Zysk, Doggie Columnist

Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, TV and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units and National Award winner of the Platinum PAW award. Tracey may be reached at Become a fan on Facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care.