We, humans, tend to sweat like crazy during hot weather, and this is all thanks to the 3 million sweat glands all over our bodies.
Cats, on the one hand, seem to not mind the sweltering heat. In fact, many cats opt to spend most of their summertime lazing around. And so we wonder, do cats sweat?
If you have the same question in mind, you’ve come to the right page. Feline Living – your go-to site for anything cat-related – is here to answer all your questions about cats, including your cat’s sweating, how they stay cool, panting, and a lot more.
Sweating: What Is It & How It Works
Warmer months signal the beginning of sweat season. As most of you know, sweating, “aka perspiration,” helps regulate body temperature by cooling the skin down as sweat evaporates.
Humans are equipped with 2 types of sweat glands. The apocrine sweat glands are located in the hairy parts of the body (think scalp, armpits, and groin), while the eccrine glands are found all over the body.
The former produces a heavier, fat-filled type of sweat while the latter releases sweat that is lightweight and odorless.
Oftentimes, sweat is produced when the environmental temperature rises due to hot weather. Other than that, sweating can also be triggered by the following:
- Stress & Other Emotions
- Spicy Foods & Various Beverages
- Illness & Drugs
Do Cats Sweat?
Cats’ ancestors used to live in desert-like places like Africa and Arabia, which explains their high resilience to arid temperatures. But despite this, the extreme heat on uber hot days can still be a bother to them.
Yes, you read it right. Although cats may look like they’re having a great summer as they spend most of their time lazing under the hot sun, they still feel the heat.
And when they do, cats sweat but not as much as humans. Sweating also helps release heat and brings a cooling effect on cats once it evaporates.
The Hows Of Sweating In Cats
Unlike humans, a cat’s body isn’t covered with millions of sweat glands. Their glands are primarily situated in their paw pads. Some can be found in the hairless parts of your cat’s body, including their nose, chin, lips, and the skin around their anus.
So how does it work? The glands secrete sweat once their brain receives a signal that their body temperature is too high. In the cat world, body temperatures over 102.5°F are beyond normal.
A cat’s body temperature may rise during heat waves. But besides that, stress and other negative emotions can put your cat into a fight-or-flight mode, setting off cat sweat glands into hyperdrive.
Body temperatures rise because of this. This is probably why your cat leaves damp footprints on the floor during or after a quick visit to the vet.
Other Cool Ways Cats Cope With Heat
The limited surface area a cat’s sweat glands cover isn’t enough to help your pet stay cool. As such, cats make use of various body temperature regulation methods that effectively lowers body temperature. What are those? See below:
Cats don’t just groom themselves to remove excess fur. Instead, they also do this to keep themselves cool.
Grooming works the same way as sweating. As saliva evaporates, it also provides an evaporative cooling effect that will cool your cat down.
Seeking Cool Surfaces
On a hot day, you’ll most likely notice your cat lounging on a cool surface like your kitchen tile floor or hiding under shady spots. Getting away from direct sunlight and lying down in a cooler area help minimize body heat.
Unlike dogs, cats love to take naps. Besides helping them save their energy for playtime when the lights are out, taking siestas (preferably in cool, shady spots) allows cats to keep their temp down.
Cat Fur: To Shave Or Not To Shave?
Once the dog days of summer kick-off, it makes sense to give your dogs a trim. But does the same apply to cats?
When it comes to cats, their fur actually helps keep them cool and this is all thanks to its insulating properties. So, if you think you’re helping your cat by shaving its fur, think again.
Instead of shaving it, your cat will thank you more if you brush its mane regularly. This will help remove any excess undercoat (the coat that provides additional insulation for the colder months).
Also Read: 10 Famous Long Haired Cat Breeds
Cat Panting: Is It Normal?
Panting is commonly observed in dogs. Like sweating, panting helps dogs release heat. What about cats? Cats pant too, but it’s not as frequent as dogs.
You’ll only see a cat panting when they’re stressed or overheated, or in cases of respiratory distress or illness.
However, excessive panting is never normal and should not be taken lightly. This can mean that your cat is dangerously overheated. If this happens, contact your veterinarian immediately.
What You Need To Know About Heat Stroke In Cats
Although rare, it’s possible for cats to suffer from heat stress or heat stroke. A condition that requires immediate veterinary attention, failure to address this can lead to severe organ damage and even death.
Besides panting and increased temperature, your cat will show the following symptoms when the hot weather is causing them distress or exhaustion.
- Excessive sweating (wet paw pads)
- Excessive grooming
- Increased heart rate
- Dark red gums
How To Help Your Cat Cool Down
Don’t wait for your cat to start panting. When the temp outside is unbearable, help your cat cope with the hot summer sun with these handy tips:
Keep Them Hydrated
Giving your cat fresh water does the trick. However, when it’s sweltering hot outside, you might want to fill their water bowl with cool water plus a few ice cubes.
Provide Plenty Of Cool Or Shady Areas
Since cats like to doze off in cool, shady spots, make sure to provide a cool spot where they can hang out. Alternatively, you can turn on the fan or air conditioner and let them enjoy the cool breeze.
Rinse Or Rub Your Cat With A Cool Damp Cloth
Some cats like water. If your cat is one of them, then your cat will enjoy taking a quick dip. If not, you can rub them using a damp towel to cool them down.
Also Read: Best Cat Water Fountains
Food For Thought
Yes, cats sweat but not like humans do. If you find wet paw prints on your floor despite the lack of water around, that means your cat is sweating.
So make sure to keep your cat hydrated and comfortable during the warmer months. If it’s not too much, you might want to turn the air conditioning on.
Note, however, that sweating can also be a result of stress. If this is the case, contact your vet.
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