Do cats sweat like people or like dogs?
Well, technically, yes cats do sweat — but barely and only through key areas. Cat’s sweat glands are concentrated on their paw pads. On super-hot days, you may even see kitty’s little paw prints on your tile or wood floors. Unlike us, who sweat through almost all our surface area, the cat paw is, more or less, ineffective for fully cooling down your feline in extreme heat.
How can I tell if my cat is too hot?
The body temperature of a healthy cat is somewhere in the 100 degrees F to 102.5 degrees F range. Anything higher is considered overheating — with the potential of the cat suffering from heatstroke. Signs of heatstroke can include rapid breathing, drooling, strings of saliva or bright red tongue and gums. If you suspect your cat has an above normal temp and you are witnessing abnormal behaviors, definitely seek immediate veterinary care. Heatstroke can be life-threatening.
One key point: A cat that is panting due to heat stroke is in very dire straits and needs immediate emergency care. Unlike dogs, cats can’t cool themselves by panting, so the open-mouthed breathing you are seeing is actually a sign of respiratory distress. Do not make the mistake of chalking up open-mouthed breathing in your cat to a sign that he’s just a little warm. It’s always serious, and although it could be a sign of heatstroke, it’s more than likely due to something else, such as feline asthma or heart disease. Bottom line: Get a panting cat to the vet ASAP.
What do cats do instead of sweat?
Most cat parents have probably noticed how much more their cat licks themselves during the warmer season. That’s because when the saliva evaporates from your cat’s fur, it causes a cooling effect. Think of it like this — when we’re covered in sweat and stand in front of the air conditioner, the sweat quickly evaporates and we’re instantly cool. That’s basically what happens for your cat too. Cats will also naturally search out cool, dark places to sprawl out and chill. My own feline family members just love a cool tile floor in a shaded area on the hottest days — even with the AC on. Last, cats who are near distress level or have an underlying medical condition may pant (like dogs do) to cool down. This is not a normal behavior for cats and a veterinarian should be consulted.