Hypothermia in Cats

Hypothermia in Cats

 

Cats with thick, luxurious coats can look impervious to the elements, but do not let their appearance fool you.  Cats are just as sensitive to cold weather as people.  The normal body temperature for a cat is around 100° – 101° F.  When their body temperature drops below 100° F, their body systems do not function normally.  Everything begins to slow down.  Extremities lose circulation because the cat’s body is trying to keep its core organs warm.  Loss of circulation in small body parts like ears and toes leads to frost bite.  The cat will shiver to try to stay warm, but their breathing and heartrate will slow.  If the cat gets cold enough they will slip into a coma.

 

If you find your cat suffering from hypothermia you need to warm them up immediately.  Use warm blankets, hot water bottles or heating pads.  Be careful not to heat them up too much because you could risk burning their skin!  Any time the weather is cold outside, it is best to keep your pets indoors.  Cats that are used to going out can be very sneaky and may try to escape outside, but remember that if the weather feels cold to you it feels just as cold to them.  Provide cats that may be outside during cold weather with shelter from the elements because animals that are wet will feel the effects of hypothermia much more quickly.

 

 

 

Studies

 

Detrimental effect of prolonged hypothermia in cats and monkeys with and without regional cerebral ischemia.

 

Prevention of hypothermia in cats during routine oral hygiene procedures.

 

Neuroprotective effect of mild hypothermia in the temporary brain ischemia in cats.

 

Studies of cat heart muscle during recovery after prolonged hypothermia.

 

Influence of temperature on the mechanical properties of cardiac muscle.

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