Do Cats Sweat? Here’s the Fascinating Information You Need to Know

Do cats sweat? Yes, but not in the way you think. Check out this information on how cats sweat; and the answer to the question “why are my cat’s paws sweaty?”

cats-sweat-through-paws
Cats beat the heat by sweating in the strangest of places — their paws. Photo: yoppy

Because cats evolved as desert animals, they seem to be able to cope with heat much better than our canine friends. The large, thin ears of a cat provide an important mechanism that allows the blood flowing through the ears to cool.

Do cats sweat?

Cats aren’t heavily equipped with eccrine sweat glands like we humans are. These glands allow us to get drenched in sweat all over our bodies. However, cats do sweat, it just may not be in the way that you think.

Where Do Cats Sweat?

Cat’s have various methods for cooling down. According to the book Why Do Cats Bury Their Poop?, in warmer weather cats groom themselves more often, licking at their body. This puts saliva on their fur, which then cools them down as it evaporates. Cats will also look for shade or a cool surface such as a sink or tile to sprawl themselves out on.

But there’s another method cats having for cooling down: sweating. You may often find little wet spots on your floor where your cat has walked. If you’re wondering why your cat’s paws are wet, it’s because they’re sweating.

So for those who wonder: Do cats sweat through their paws? Actually, that is generally the only place on a cat’s body that emits sweat.

How Do Cats Sweat?

Cat Owner’s Veterinary Handbook explains that cats’ sweat glands are found only in foot pads. If the cat becomes overheated (or frightened), they secrete sweat through their paws.

Unlike us humans, who have sweat glands distributed across much of our skin, cats have a limited number of sweat glands located mainly on the pads of their paws.

That is why they may resort to cooling themselves by panting or licking their fur. However, unlike with dogs, a cat’s panting is usually more stress-related than heat-related.

If you feel that your cat’s panting is from overheating during the summer months, take measures to cool them immediately. You might want to clip their fur, but don’t clip too close to the skin, as this will increase chances of getting sunburned.

Image of a Cat: Do Cats Sweat

How Else Do Cats Cool Down?

Don’t want to “mess up” their beautiful fur? Just clip the tummy area. It won’t be noticeable, but your cat will certainly find it more comfortable.

You can also help keep your cat cool by wetting your hands and rubbing the cat. They’re sure to love you for doing either of these good deeds.

 If you’re wondering how cats cool off on their own besides sweating, here are some other tactics:

  • Licking: Cats frequently groom themselves, which helps cool their body.
  • Finding Shade: In hot weather, cat’s will often seek out cool and shady areas to relax. 
  • Drinking Water: Staying hydrated is important for thermoregulation.
  • Reducing Activity: During the hotter parts of the day, cats often limit their physical activity to minimize heat production.
  • Panting: Though this is much more common in dogs, cats can also pant to help cool themselves.

So, do cats sweat?

Scott Nimmo, BVMS, MRCVS, says the answer is a definite yes. But because a cat’s paws are so small, sweating is not a sure-fire way to regulate their body temperature. If their body temperature rises to 105 F for any length of time, your cat is in danger of having a heat stroke.

Symptoms of Heat Stroke

Symptoms of a heat stroke in cats would be a lack of coordination, redness of the mucous membranes in the mouth and panting. Seizures are also possible.

Heat strokes in cats can be very serious, so if you suspect that your pet is at that stage, take them to your veterinarian ASAP. When you are on your way to the vet’s office, cover your cat with cool, damp towels.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do Cats Sweat When Stressed?

Yes, stress could be one of the reasons you find your cat to have sweaty paws. Often when cats go to the vet, they will begin to sweat more than usual, which could explain sweaty cat paw marks.

Do Cats Pant?

Cats do pant, although much less frequently than dogs. The reason for cats panting can be important to consider because sometimes it could be a sign of health issues. Observe your feline friend when they are panting and consult with your vet if you have concerns, or if the panting doesn’t stop.

Do Cats Sweat Through Their Fur?

Cat’s don’t really sweat through their fur like we may expect. Instead, cats sweat mainly through their paws, which is where most of their sweat glands are concentrated. 

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