By: Karen Taylor
Meet the wild sand cat. This hardy species of feline lives in some of the world’s harshest desert terrains. This kitty beats the heat by burrowing by day and hunting at night. With water scarce, they rely on moisture from their prey. We supply the habitat and prey for our domestic feline friends, so it’s our job to keep them safe when temperatures rise. Heat stroke in cats is less common than in dogs, but they are not immune. Warning signs (listed in order of progression) include fast and frantic noisy breathing, a bright red tongue or gums, vomiting, unsteady walking/staggering, diarrhea, pale blue or gray lips. If these signs are ignored, and nothing is done to lower the cats body temperature, coma and death are real possibilities.
Short-nosed cats, long-haired cats and cats that have breathing or heart conditions are especially susceptible to heat stroke. If heat stroke is suspected, apply cooling first aid by wetting your cat’s coat (wrap in a wet towel, gently wet them down in a sink, or use what you have available if outdoors) and get your cat to your vet or emergency vet ASAP!
Avoid the risk of heat stroke by keeping kitties indoors on hot days, providing them with cool spots to “burrow” and plenty of water. Cats vary in how much water they drink, so consider your cat’s diet as well; how much moisture is in your cat’s food? Proper hydration is always important to overall health, and dehydration increases the risk of heat stroke.
Keep cats out of cars, and help them avoid mishaps like being locked in garages or sheds that turn into solar collectors when temperatures rise! If transporting a kitty in a crate, make sure there is ample ventilation and water to keep your cat comfortable and healthy. Keep them out of direct sun and travel when temperatures are cooler.
Take a lesson from savvy desert cats to help your less-wild kitties not only survive, but continue to thrive during the heat of summer!