The thermoregulation system plays a crucial role in the life of every warm-blooded creature. It largely determines the quality of organ functions and metabolic processes necessary for life. Each animal species has its own peculiarities in the operation of this important system. There is a certain specificity in regulating the temperature of cats. Violations and failures often cause serious problems. It is necessary to know the provoking factors and prevent their occurrence.
Specifics of thermoregulation in cats
The thermoregulation system is negatively affected by high and low temperatures, violation of the air humidity regime. Any of these factors may be the cause of illness, the emergence of various failures. The cat’s body has reserves that allow the animal to maintain an optimal body temperature. But they will only help if the effects were short-term and did not exceed critical limits. Changes in the optimal body temperature negatively affect the work of the entire body.
Dog owners know that if the dog gets hot, it will prevent the body from overheating by using its tongue. It actively evaporates moisture, which causes a decrease in temperature. A cat doesn’t have this option. But it can also cope with short – term thermal effects.
The main regulator of these Pets is breathing. When the temperature rises, the average rate of 60 breaths per minute can increase to 250 cycles. Another helper of the cat is saliva. When the animal is overheated, it licks its fur, the moisture evaporates, and the body cools down. These Pets also regulate the temperature by sweating. Especially intensively work glands on:
- the muzzle,
Cats are better than dogs at dealing with the effects of dehydration. Even with the loss of water, which is a fifth of the total weight of the animal, they can survive if timely assistance is provided. Pets can tolerate the lack of moisture for more than a day.
From hypothermia cats saves wool cover. But not all breeds are able to tolerate low temperatures. Short-haired, hairless Pets can not maintain an optimal body temperature with prolonged exposure to cold. Not cope with such a problem and the kittens, in which the thermoregulatory system is weak.
Prolonged exposure to direct sunlight can cause brain damage due to overheating. There are breeds of animals for which active UV exposure is harmful. Instability of thermoregulation may be an individual feature of the body. The risk of sunstroke increases if there is no access to drinking water or the animal has limited activity.
Signs of this failure are:
- elevated temperature,
- shortness of breath,
- lack of coordination,
- the General weakening,
- the reduction in muscle tone.
In case of sunstroke, the cat urgently needs to be taken to a cool place with high-quality ventilation. The head should be doused with cold water or put a compress in the form of a moistened cloth or an ice pack. The animal needs to be watered. If help is provided in a timely manner, the symptoms of sunstroke will disappear in two to three hours. But the weakening of the body persists for several more days.
Strong sunstrokes can lead to the onset of coma, fainting, while the cat’s pupils dilate, there are no reflexes. Asphyxia, an attack of heart failure, and death are not excluded.
In order to prevent sunstrokes, you need to limit your pet’s stay outside on hot days, and you need to teach the cat to walk in the sun gradually. It is important to ensure access to water in hot weather and fill the bowl regularly.
Kittens and adult animals do not tolerate prolonged stay in rooms with poor ventilation, high air temperature. Owners who bring their Pets to exhibitions sometimes have to deal with heat stroke. Such a violation can be caused by a trip to tropical countries with hot climates. Heat stroke can get an animal in the car if it stays in the closed cabin in the sun for a long time. It can cause temperatures to rise up to 41 degrees.
When heat stroke occurs, the following symptoms appear:
- shortness of breath,
- increased heart rate,
The cat has an absent look, it lies down on the floor, there is no activity.
If possible, the pet should be immediately lowered into cold water to lower the temperature. But if such a procedure cannot be performed, then it is necessary to provide the cat with access to cool air. You can at least fan it, wash its face with water, apply ice to the head, do a massage. After removing the main signs, the animal must be taken to a veterinary clinic for examination.
If the cat has to be transported in a car on long trains, you should have a sufficient supply of drinking water. If the animal stays in the cabin for a long time, it is necessary to provide ventilation.
Cause violations, failures in the body can not only overheating, but also hypothermia. Hypothermia can be fatal. A violation is determined by a reduced body temperature, a slow heartbeat. There are several signs that can be used to determine hypothermia:
- folding the cat into a tight ball;
- ruffling the coat;
- the appearance of tremors in the muscles;
- paling of the mucous membranes, not covered with hair parts of the skin.
Hypothermia is often one of the symptoms of the disease, disorders of organs and systems. If the cat has not been exposed to cold for a long time, it must be taken to a veterinary clinic to determine the cause of thermoregulation disorders.
Kittens that have a dying mother are at the highest risk of hypothermia. In the first days of life, their own thermoregulation system does not work well, and the cat is their heat supplier. If the kitten has become cold, you need to hold it in your hands until it warms up. If you need to raise babies without a mother, you need to install an infrared lamp that will provide heat supply. You can use heaters, electric hot water bottles. Not the best option is a hot water bottle with water, as it cools down quickly enough. But if there are no other devices, you will have to use this method, regularly change the water.
The activity of natural thermoregulation in cats decreases with age. In older animals, the risk of hypothermia increases significantly. Especially if they live in a cold climate. In order to avoid hypothermia, colds, you need to provide your pet with constant access to an artificial heat source, a safe heater.
Nature has given cats a good thermoregulation system. But this does not mean that it should be put to the test. You should pay attention to the prevention of violations, exclude the impact of negative factors on the pet, and prevent problems.
Hi, my name is Mike Fletcher. I am 36 years old and a veterinarian at a veterinary clinic in Granby Colorado. And this is my blog about Pets. I hope I can answer your questions here.