Every year as summer approaches, lots of pet owners wonder if their cats can sweat to stay cool and what they should be doing to prevent their pets from becoming overheated. The short answer is no, cats don’t sweat, at least not as we do, but the real answer is a little more complicated than that. Keep reading if you would like to learn more about what we mean by cats don’t sweat like us and how they stay cool even in hot temperatures. We’ll also explain some symptoms that appear that let you know it’s time to take your cat to the vet due to an inability to maintain the proper body temperature.
Do Cats Enjoy The Heat?
Many people may not realize that their pet is a descendant of animals native to Africa and Arabia’s extremely hot and arid climates. While there are a few areas of the United States that come close, the vast majority of the country has much cooler weather that is unlikely to get too hot for your pet even on the hottest days.
You can tell cats love warmer temperatures by the way they enjoy laying in the sunlight and curling up to sleep in warm places, often on warm bedding or blankets. If you use an electric blanket in the winter, there is a good chance your cat sleeps with you.
How Do Cats Keep Cool?
While humans have sweat glands all over the body with higher concentrations under the arms and feet, cats have only a few of these glands located on parts of their bodies that don’t have hair. You can find the cat’s sweat glands on the paws, lips, chin, and around the anus. Though the sweat glands are only in a few small areas, they effectively reduce body temperature and cool the cat. Since there are no sweat glands on the body, your cat will never feel sweaty when you pet it and will appear not to sweat at all. However, if it should push its face up against you, you may notice that it’s wetter than it normally is on warmer days. You may also notice paw prints on the floor after your cat walks by.
Your cat will also begin grooming itself if it feels the temperatures are getting too high. Cats lick themselves to clean their fur, and as the saliva evaporates, it cools them just like sweat. Many owners agree that their cat grooms more frequently on hot days, but they also shed more, which can lead to hairballs and vomiting, so it’s important to brush or comb them frequently to keep the ingested hair at a minimum.
While cats are naturally nocturnal, you will notice it most during the hottest days when the cat can sleep away the hot part of the day and be more active at night. This activity may lead to more sleepless nights for you, but it will help your cat get through the warmest part of the year. You will usually find them in a cool shady spot during the day until the sun goes down.
How Do I Know If My Cat Is Overheated Or Has A Medical Condition?
Cats normally don’t pant to stay cool, and it could be a sign the cat’s lungs or heart are not operating properly. If you notice your cat is panting, place it in a cool area immediately with a bowl of cold water and call a veterinarian.
Your cat should go its entire life without you even noticing that it’s sweating outside the occasional paw prints on a hot day. It can also leave tracks when it’s feeling stressed, like when you take it to the vet. However, if you notice your cat continuously leaving tracks, even on cool days in a relaxed environment, it can be a sign that your cat has an underlying medical condition. It can be a symptom of chronic stress in many cases, and you should have the cat evaluated.
You may also notice excessive sweating around your cat’s mouth, which might be a symptom of an underlying stomach problem and might indicate that your cat is having a dental issue. If the symptoms last for more than a day or two, we recommend calling your veterinarian to have it looked over.
Cats do sweat, but only from a tiny portion of their body, and they rely on other cooling methods as well. Except for a few paw prints on the hottest days, you’ll probably never be able to tell they can sweat, and even though cats can handle high temperatures, we recommend putting on some air conditioning when you see paw prints because it can be difficult to get a cat to drink enough water to replenish what it’s losing, leading to dehydration. Wet pawprints on a cool day is a sign your cat needs to see a vet.
We hope you enjoyed reading over this guide and learned some new facts about your cat. If we have helped you feel more confident about your cat’s ability to handle warm temperatures, please share this look into if cats sweat on Facebook and Twitter.
Featured Image Credit: LiinaFox, Pixabay