Hypothermia

When there’s a fall in body temperature, hypothermia can occur. It can be caused by exposure to extreme cold, shock, illness, getting wet, or after anesthesia. Newborn kittens are also at risk.

Signs of hypothermia include: a rectal temperature below 100 F., shivering, being cold to the touch, stiffness, depression, anxiety, and dilated pupils. The cat will collapse and go into a coma without treatment.

To treat: Wrap the cat in a blanket or towel and dry her off if she’s wet. Never use a hair dryer to warm the cat, you risk causing her burns. Fill a hot water bottle with warm water and wrap it in a towel before putting it next to the cat’s skin. If you use a heating pad instead, set it to low only and place a towel between the pad and the cat’s body. The rewarming process must be slow to avoid shock. Every ten minutes check the cat’s rectal temperature. Continue to use the warm water-filled bottle until the cat’s temperature reaches 100 F.

Hypothermia will predispose a cat to low blood sugar. Give her a little honey to raise her blood sugar level when she begins to move around again. Take her to the vet for followup treatment.

If unable to get the cat’s temperature back to normal within forty-five minutes, seek medical attention right away.

If hypothermia occurs in a kitten, use your own body heat to warm her by placing her under your clothing. Never place her on a heating pad or try to feed her. Seek immediate medical treatment.

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