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Heatstroke in Cats: Know the Signs and What to Do

PetSmart Margaret Dinchak/

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Sweltering summer days can put your cat at risk for developing heatstroke. According to Dr. Robyn Jaynes, PetSmart’s vet expert, heatstroke occurs when your pet’s body temperature, normally 102 degrees, rises to 105 to 110 degrees. It is a serious medical condition that can be deadly. Learn how to spot the signs and what to do if your cat is suffering from heatstroke.


All pets can develop heatstroke, but especially susceptible are short-nosed breeds such as Persians and Exotics, kittens and seniors, obese cats and those with heart disease.

  • Panting
  • Anxiety
  • Bright red tongue
  • Dark red gums or pale gums
  • Lethargy
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Thick, sticky saliva
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shock
  • Coma

What to do

If your cat is suffering from heatstroke, his body temperature must be brought back to normal gradually to avoid shock, Dr. Jaynes says.


  • Remove your cat from the hot area immediately and take him indoors to lie down. If this is not possible, seek shade
  • Thoroughly wet his coat to the skin with lukewarm water, concentrating on his belly and insides of his legs. Do not use ice water--this will over-correct the problem and can lead to chilling. Increase air movement around him with a fan.
  • Gradually switch to cooler water.
  • Seek veterinary attention immediately. Cooling efforts should be continued on the way to the vet.


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