With another day with a heat index topping 100 degrees in Milwaukee, it is a wonder how our pets stay cool in their fur coats.
To cool themselves, cats generally do not pant like dogs. If your cat is breathing through the mouth, this is a sign that something is wrong. Cats can sweat through their paw pads. They generally seek shade and increase their water intake to cool themselves. Cats may eat less when they are hot, but they should still eat.
A cat's normal body temperature is between 100 to 102F. Heat stroke, or hyperthermia, occurs at a body temperature over 105F. Signs of heat stroke include open-mouth breathing, listlessness, drooling, and eventually tremors, staggering and seizures or coma. Just like people, elderly cats and those with health problems, especially asthma, are more prone to heat stroke.
To help prevent hyperthermia:
- Keep cats indoors in the shade when a heat advisory is in effect.
- Keep water bowls filled and accessible.
- If you do not have air conditioning, some cats enjoy sitting by box fans.
- Allow your cat access to a cool surface such as tile, laminate or wood flooring.
If you suspect heat stroke in your cat, drench a towel with cold water and wrap it around your cat. Then seek veterinary care immediately.