Hypothermia or low body temperature in cats is a serious health condition and can turn into a life-threatening situation in a very short time if your cat isn’t able to restore its normal body temperature. Normally, a feline’s core body temperature should be somewhere between 100 to 102.5F or 37.7 and 39.2C. When the temperature drops below this level, it can lead to several complications.

Most of the time, stray cats, outdoor cats, and cats with short hair are affected by hypothermia in the winters; however, there are some other reasons why your cat’s temperature may drop below safe levels.

The common reasons for hypothermia in felines are mentioned in this post so that you can avoid them or make arrangements to help your cat get warmer. So, keep reading to learn more, and take even better care of your beloved felines.

The environment temperature is too low for your cat:

This is probably the most obvious and common cause of hypothermia in cats. Similar to humans, if the temperature of the environment is too cold, and cats don’t have any means of keeping themselves warm, they could be at the risk of hypothermia.

This is common when outdoor cats get wet and the weather is cold. However, house cats can also get wet sometimes, and if you don’t make sure to warm them up, they could be affected by hypothermia. 

You should also know that cats with short hair and hairless cats are at a higher risk of hypothermia. Similarly, kittens who haven’t developed their coats of fur yet, and older cats are also at a higher risk of hypothermia. Therefore, make sure to keep the windows closed and not let the cat go out, especially in the winters.  

Your cat’s body temperature may drop because of anesthesia:

Another reason the body temperature of your cat could drop is because of anesthesia. When cats are undergoing lengthy surgeries, they have to be sedated, and they are at risk of anesthesia-related hypothermia. 

Anesthesia can slow down your cat’s heart rate and slow down it’s breathing as well. Anesthesia also blocks your cat’s nerve receptors so that it doesn’t move or feel anything. 

However, this can also lower the cat’s body temperature quite significantly. If it isn’t monitored and steps are taken to keep your cat warm, long surgeries involving anesthesia can lead to hypothermia in our cat.

Furthermore, since your cat won’t be able to move or feel anything while in surgery, it can be difficult to notice hypothermia symptoms. Therefore, make sure to find a qualified vet for your cat who knows how to deal with such issues.

Your cat may feel hypothermia because of eating toxic substances:

Did you know? Many things that are edible for humans can be toxic to cats. Moreover, some toxic substances harm cats by decreasing their heart rate, which results in hypothermia. 

This can be quite dangerous and is a common reason for hypothermia and other problems with your cat’s health. It is easy to leave such seemingly safe foods outside, but they would poison your cat and lead to many problems.

Therefore, it is important to make sure that your cat doesn’t get into any toxic foods. Here are some everyday items that can be toxic to your cat.

  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Raw Eggs
  • Raw Meat and Bones
  • Chocolates
  • Coffee
  • Alcohol
  • Milk and other Dairy Products
  • Grapes and Raisins
  • Dog Food

It is also very important to keep your cat away from different medications. Ivermectin, which is a parasite medication, and paracetamol are exceptionally dangerous for cats, and they can cause severe hypothermia. 

Sometimes, if cats don’t eat properly, it can also increase the risk of hypothermia. This can be a problem with older cats who have difficulty chewing their food. Therefore, make sure to get special cat food for older cats with teeth problems to remain healthy and well-fed.

Your cant could experience hypothermia if it gets shocked:

Sometimes, if your cat gets scared or shocked, it can also get hypothermia. Though it is not that common with simple scares, Septic shock related to an intestinal leakage or an intestinal infection can lead to hypothermia in cats and lower their core temperature dangerously. 

Therefore, you should be very careful if your cat is suffering from a similar condition, and make sure it has a warm place to rest and relax. Furthermore, if you see hypothermia symptoms, you should immediately contact your vet and try to warm up the cat.

One of the most common causes of hypothermia is negligence:

The most common reason for low body temperatures and hypothermia in cats is the owners’ negligence. That’s right! Many people aren’t able to properly take care of their felines and make mistakes that lead to hypothermia.

Moreover, many cat owners can’t recognize hypothermia symptoms, and they don’t take timely measures to help their cat worm up, which can lead to a coma and even death in severe cases.

Therefore, here are some symptoms of hypothermia in cats that you should know about:

Initial symptoms of hypothermia in cats:

  • Lethargy
  • Cold skin 
  • Listlessness
  • Shivering

Moderate symptoms of hypothermia:

  • Blue or pale gums
  • Slow, shallow breath
  • Slow heartbeat
  • Drowsiness

Symptoms of severe hypothermia in cats:

  • Coma 
  • Collapse
  • Death 

Therefore, look out for the initial symptoms of hypothermia, especially during the winters, and if your cat suffers from some chronic health condition. Make sure that your cat has a warm place to rest, like a soft and insulating rug. Otherwise, the cold floors can also cause hypothermia in the winters. 

Final thoughts:

Cats make for incredible pets, and they are one of the most hygienic pets in the entire animal kingdom. Moreover, they are low maintenance and easy to take care of, however, like us humans, they can also get sick sometimes, and as their owners, it is our responsibility to take care of them. Like humans, cats can also get hypothermia, and it can be very dangerous for them since it is difficult to recognize this condition sometimes.
Therefore, I hope that this post helps you understand the causes and symptoms of hypothermia in felines more clearly, and it helps you take care of your beloved pets.

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