For humans, the body regulates its temperature by sweating, which is vital for survival in the heat. Is this also true for cats? This bodily function may be slightly different in cats than in humans, but cats definitely sweat.
How do Cats Sweat?
Unlike humans, who have sweat glands all over their body from birth, cats’ sweat glands are only located in a few hairless areas, such as the paws, lips, chin and the skin around the anus.
Cats primarily sweat from the pads of their feet and from their noses where there are eccrine sweat glands. You can see from the paw pads that your cat is sweating when it walks across a hard floor or table. Damp footprints can be an indication that your cat is sweating and are especially common in the warmer months when your cat is stressed.
While there are technically sweat glands in the skin of a cat, these are different types of sweat glands called apocrine sweat glands. Apocrine sweat glands randomly secrete an oily substance in a cat that works like a pheromone.
When the body sends a message to the brain that the body’s temperature has gotten too high, the brain sends signals to these glands to start sweating. When the sweat evaporates, it produces a cooling effect on the skin.
Even though you may never see them sweat, cats are born with an efficient cooling system.
Why is My Cat’s Fur Sweaty?
Cats do not sweat through their fur. So if their fur is damp, there is probably another cause. It could be wet from the saliva they have from licking their fur while grooming, or maybe they tried to drink from the tap and splashed themselves. If their coat is very wet after grooming, they may be producing too much saliva due to dental disease. Therefore, have them examined by your vet to find out if this is the cause.
Generally speaking, you don’t see cats “sweating” or “panting”. On a hot day, you might see a cat and a dog – the dog panting like crazy, while the cat lies comfortably, brushing its fur, seemingly unaffected by the heat.
Is Panting Normal in Cats?
Panting is not normal for cats. They pant in situations of extreme stress, heat, or difficulty breathing. Panting that does not stop after the stress is relieved or persistent signs of respiratory distress should be considered an emergency and require immediate veterinary care.
What is a Normal Cat Temperature?
If the cat’s body temperature exceeds 102.5 degrees, the paw pads may be sweaty and the cat may even pant, so these are important things to keep in mind because checking a cat’s temperature with a thermometer is not an easy task.
A rectal thermometer is the best way to check because it is more accurate. However, you must be patient and gentle! The ideal temperature is around 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and you may need to call your veterinarian if the temperature is over 102.5 degrees.
How do Cats Cool Their Bodies?
On hot summer days, your feline is just like you and will need to sweat to cool down. However, because the surface area of a cats’ paws is not so big, sweating is only part of the process in which a cat lowers the heat. Grooming is another way kitties reduce their body temperature. They do this by licking themselves excessively all over and when the saliva evaporates, it has the same effect as sweating, which is to cool the skin.
Another trick that cats use to cool down is to take a siesta during the heat of the day. Cats will find a nice, cool, hidden place to rest and spread out their body over a cool surface to dissipate heat.
How to Keep Your Cat Cool?
Here is a list of helpful advice to help cool your cat down:
If your cat has long hair, a visit to the hairdresser may shorten the coat a little to reduce the heat.
Always provide cool, fresh water in a quiet, shady place and refill it daily.
Provide your kitten with an indoor bed away from noise and heat sources. They like to retreat here often, not just in the warmer months.
Exercise your cat or encourage them to play early in the morning or in the evening so that your cat is safe indoors while the sun is shining.
Never leave your cat unattended in a car or small room. Even if you think your absence will only be for a short time, it may be too long for your pet.
Consider placing a fan nearby, unless your cat doesn’t like noise.
Most cats are not particularly good swimmers, but as the temperatures get warmer, set out a large bowl of water or even an inflatable pool in the garden. Then your kitty can at least take a dip, even if it doesn’t run the whole circle.