Dear Christopher Cat
My apartment isn’t air conditioned. I’m worried about my cat getting heat stroke on hot days when I’m at work. Can cats get heat stroke?
It’s rare in healthy, indoor cats.
Heat stroke is most common in pets left outside in the sun or in the car, even in the shade.
On an 85-degree day, the temperature inside a car with the windows open a bit can reach 102 degrees within ten minutes. Twenty minutes later, the temperature will be 120 degrees.
Such temperatures lead to brain damage and, too often, death.
In a warm apartment, even one without air conditioning, we cats are very good at finding cool spots.
Be sure your cat has fresh water and that your apartment is reasonably comfortable. If possible, use a window fan to exhaust hot air, or install a window air conditioner in one room.
Most cases of feline heat stroke occur after strenuous exertion, such as when an outdoor cat is chased by a dog, so you are wise to keep your cat indoors.
The ability to regulate body temperature is diminished in kittens and geriatric cats, and in cats with certain diseases, so talk with your veterinarian if any of these factors are present.