Overheating in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Overheating in Cats

Veterinary reviewed by: Dr. Linda Simon, MVB MRCVS

Overheating in Cats

Overview

Overheating, also known as hyperthermia, is a medical condition that can cause a cat's internal organs to fail due to an abnormally high body temperature. Overheating in cats happens due to exposure to high temperatures. Cats are more likely to suffer from overheating than humans as they have trouble regulating their internal body temperatures due to a lack of body-wide sweat glands.

If left untreated, overheating can lead to heat exhaustion, a milder but still potentially life-threatening form of hyperthermia. Heat exhaustion can also progress to heatstroke, the most serious form of overheating. Heatstroke occurs when a cat's body exceeds 104 degrees Fahrenheit.

Overheating can be a severe medical condition, especially when heatstroke occurs. Take your cat to the vet immediately if you notice your cat showing any signs of overheating. 

Overheating in Cats Average Cost

From 1314 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

Symptoms of Overheating in Cats

Symptoms of overheating differ depending on severity. Common symptoms of overheating in cats include:

A cat with a body temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit requires immediate medical attention. In the most severe cases, overheating can cause a cat to lose consciousness and fall into a coma. An internal temperature above 105 degrees Fahrenheit is life-threatening.

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Causes of Overheating in Cats

The main cause of overheating in cats is exposure to high temperatures for an extended period. As cats don't pant to stay cool like dogs, they usually seek cooler areas like tiled floors to lower their body temperatures.

Cats may also groom themselves to lower their body temperature. A cat that's out in the sun or in a hot, enclosed space with no shade or access to water is at risk of overheating. 

If your cat is missing on a hot day, check enclosed spaces like your garage or greenhouse to ensure your cat isn't trapped. Becoming trapped in an enclosed space is one of the most common causes of overheating in cats. 

Age, health, and breed can make cats more susceptible to overheating. For example, Persians are commonly brachycephalic, meaning their airways are obstructed, making breathing more difficult. In addition, overweight cats, elderly cats, and kittens are more at risk of overheating than healthy adult cats.

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Diagnosis of Overheating in Cats

Your vet will start by asking about your cat's recent activity to determine whether hyperthermia is likely. Your vet will take your cat's temperature rectally and rule out whether a fever is causing a high temperature. Your vet may order blood work or urinalysis to ensure that an infection is not causing a high temperature. 

The normal temperature range for a cat is between 100 and 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Any temperature above this is a potential sign of heat exhaustion or heatstroke.

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Treatment of Overheating in Cats

You can take several steps at home to cool down your cat if their temperature is above 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Bear in mind that your cat will still need to visit a veterinarian. You shouldn't apply icy or very cold water to your cat, as this may actually stop your cat from being able to cool down and could cause hypothermia.

Home Management

You should move your cat into a cool, well-ventilated part of your home and offer them some water. Grab a towel and soak it in water that's room temperature. Then, lay the towel over your cat's back to help cool them down. Remove the towel shortly after, to prevent it from making your cat warm. You can also apply water straight to your cat's back. (However, be careful doing this, since most cats don't like water.) They may tolerate you sponging them down.

Continue to monitor your cat's temperature. Stop these methods once your cat's temperature reaches 103.5 degrees Fahrenheit, as further cooling actually increases the chances of hypothermia.

Vet Treatment

Take your overheating cat to the vet as soon as possible. Your vet will likely give your cat an IV to help rehydrate them. An IV will not only help your cat cool down but will also help minimize the risk of organ damage.

Your vet may also give your cat supplemental oxygen to help lower their heart rate. Other cooling treatments, like cooling enemas, may also be administered.

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Worried about the cost of Overheating In Cats treatment?

Pet Insurance covers the cost of many common pet health conditions. Prepare for the unexpected by getting a quote from top pet insurance providers.

Recovery & Management of Overheating in Cats

There may be no need for further treatment and management once your cat's body temperature is stable. Organ damage usually takes a few days to develop, so your vet may schedule a check-up. 

Your vet may administer a blood test to check for organ damage. Take your cat to the vet immediately if they're behaving strangely during recovery. Your vet may prescribe medication to aid with recovery. You should ensure you follow your vet’s prescribed aftercare to avoid potential risks to your cat’s health. 

All 3 forms of overheating in cats can be expensive to treat. To avoid high vet bills, start searching for pet insurance today. Wag!’s pet insurance comparison tool lets you compare plans from leading companies like PetPlan and Embrace. Find the “pawfect” plan for your pet in just a few clicks!

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Overheating in Cats Average Cost

From 1314 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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Overheating in Cats Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Overheating in Cats Average Cost

From 1314 quotes ranging from $500 - $5,000

Average Cost

$2,500

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