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Porky and Buddy Pet Health – The Dangers of Heat for Cats

Porky and Buddy
Keep your pets cool - and safe
Keep your pets cool – and safe

Dear Porky and Buddy,
I read all the time about the dangers of summer heat for dogs, but what about cats? My buddy, Otis, loves to be outside with me on warm summer days, but what if it is really really hot, like today?  Is there any danger?  What should I do to prevent that?
Jon

Dear Jon,
If it seems “really really hot” to you, it feels the same and maybe worse for Otis. Cats, unlike humans, do not have the ability to cool themselves by sweating.  They only sweat from their paw pads, which are too small to provide much cooling effect.

And we all know they don’t stand in front of you on the hottest day of the summer and pant in your face, (like you know what).

So if you suspect that Otis has been subjected to too much heat, you need to watch him carefully – the signs can be subtle.

Early symptoms of heat stroke and the accompanying dehydration include: panting; anxiety, possibly demonstrated by pacing; increased heartbeat; respiratory distress or hyperventilation; dark red gums; lethargy; and increased internal body temperature.

Otis’ internal temperature should be between 100.5° and 101.5° F. A temperature of 104° or more is a definite warning sign.

If Otis exhibits any of these signs that lead you to think he is suffering heat exhaustion, cool him down as quickly as possible by immersing him in cool water, and then wrapping him with wet towels.

He won’t like it, but there are a lot of things that cats don’t like that are necessary.

Then get him to the veterinarian immediately.

This is a serious, potentially fatal condition.

You can help Otis get through extremely hot weather without a risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion by keeping him indoors in a cool interior room as much as possible and making sure he has plenty of water to drink at all times.

The optimum water bowl is an automatic water dispenser.

There are a variety of them on the market and cats tend to love that trickling water effect.

But if an automated fountain is not an option, make sure Otis has several bowls of cool water available.

It doesn’t hurt to drop an ice cube in once in awhile, not only to cool the water, but to stimulate his interest in drinking.

Sometimes cats stressed out by too much heat may refuse to drink water, increasing the risk of dehydration, so you may want to “force” water by using an eyedropper or syringe.

Be careful not to shoot the water down his throat as it can enter his lungs and/or cause choking.

Just dribble a drop or two at a time in the corner of his mouth, which will help hydrate him and renew his interest in drinking on his own.

And why not just stay inside with him out of the hot sun and play lazy games and take naps when it’s in the 90s?  That would be better for you, too.

The Oswego County Humane Society has moved to a new location, 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego.

Watch for the announcement about our open house.

OCHS provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County.

Now located at 29 W. Seneca St., Oswego, NY.

Phone: (315) 207-1070.

Email: [email protected]

Website: www.oswegohumane.org

Because People and Pets Are Good for Each Other.