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Home > Cats > Do Cats Sweat When They’re Overheated? Vet Reviewed Facts & Signs

Do Cats Sweat When They’re Overheated? Vet Reviewed Facts & Signs

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Reviewed & Fact-Checked By

Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

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Imagine sitting on the front porch in your rocking chair in the middle of a heatwave. You’re sweating, fanning yourself with a magazine, and your loyal dog is panting at your side. Your furry feline friend, however, is lazing the day away on the porch swing, and the heat doesn’t seem to affect him in the slightest.

One reason for this is that our furry felines ancestors are said to have originated in Africa and Arabia. Since those are really hot places, you’re likely to never see your cat sweat.

Do cats sweat when overheated, however? Yes, they do sweat, but in a different way than humans. Read on to find out everything you need to know about cats, sweating, and more.


Do Cats Sweat?

The answer to this question is actually simple. Cats do sweat, but it’s not in the way you think, with a sheen of sweat on their face and constant panting. Cats instead have a built-in, highly efficient cooling system that they are born with. However, they do sweat.

Instead of having sweat glands all over their bodies like humans do, cats have them strategically placed in hairless areas. These hairless areas include their lips, paws, and that little spot of the skin around their anus.

male lilac british shorthair cat outdoor
Image by: outdoor_Rutina, Shutterstock

Why Does Your Cat Sweat?

If your cat is stressed and his body temperature isn’t normal, his sweat glands will kick in, and he’ll start sweating. Your cat is like a human in this regard; if he becomes too hot in the summer, he’ll begin sweating. However, his sweating isn’t as noticeable as yours or the panting of your dog.

The sweat will begin to evaporate and then send cooling sensations to the cat’s paw pads; this will help to cool your cat’s body temperature. So, if you see sweaty paw prints on the kitchen floor in the summer months, this could be why.

It’s essential to note that your cat can sweat when stressed as well, so this is something to watch out for, especially if your cat is doing this often. Most often, this will be because they’re in a new place, you’ve taken them to the vet, or there’s a situation in your home that’s stressing your cat out.

cat body temperature
Image by: cynoclub, Shutterstock

Do Cats Pant?

While cats don’t pant like dogs do, they will pant if they’re overly stressed, can’t breathe, or have become extremely overheated. So, panting is not normal for cats and should be a cause for concern if your cat is doing it.

Your cat could be stressed, overheated, or even have an underlying heart or lung condition that needs to be treated by your vet. So, while it’s possible, and even if the panting isn’t as severe as you might think, it’s best to get your pet to a vet as soon as possible.

If you see your cat panting, try giving him a bowl of cool water. If the panting doesn’t stop after he drinks water, then it’s time to take him to the vet.

Blue tabby cat panting in hot weather
Image by: Sari ONeal, Shutterstock

Excessive Sweating and Medical Conditions

It’s not typical for cats to suffer from excessive sweating. So, it could be an issue if your cat is in a cool house and is still leaving wet paw prints on the counters and tables.

The excessive sweating could be from anxiety, overheating, or another medical condition.


How Do Cats Cool Down?

You already know that your cat keeps cool by sweating through their paw pads and other hairless areas of their body. But how do cats cool down in other ways?

Since the paws aren’t an entirely efficient way for your cat to stay cool in the summer heat, you’ll often see them grooming themselves more often during the summer months. This is because the salvia on your cat’s fur evaporates, effectively cooling your cat’s skin.

Your cat may disappear more often during the summer season, even if they are an indoor cat. This is because the cat is finding a nice, cool, comfortable spot to settle down in and sleep the day away. Just like their ancestors, cats sleep during the day when it’s super hot, then resume their hunting and play when the sun goes down, and the weather is cooler.

Cat Licking
Image by: TeamK, Pixabay

What Are the Signs of Overheating in Cats?

One of the most common signs that your cat is overheating is panting. However, there are other signs you should be looking for as well. We’ll list those signs below. If you feel that your cat is having a heatstroke, look for the signs of a heatstroke, then get your cat to an emergency vet immediately.

  • Excessive drooling
  • Vomiting
  • Trembling
  • Increased body temperature
  • Diarrhea
  • Wobbling or falling over when trying to walk
  • Bright red gums, mouth, and tongue
  • Meowing loudly
  • Anxious behavior
  • Weakness
  • Seizures

It’s essential to note that even if your cat is indoors, they can become overheated if your home isn’t well ventilated.

A cat can become overheated if their body temperature rises over its normal 100 to 102.5 degrees. Remember, it’s up to you to keep your cat safe, so always keep an eye on them, but especially when it’s super hot outside.

cute black and white cat enjoying fan by the sofa
Image Credit: New Africa, Shutterstock

Can You Keep Your Cat Cool?

If you want to help your cat keep cool on those sweltering summer days, there are a few things you can try.

Always make sure you keep your cat inside when it’s hot, and leave the air conditioning running, even if you’re going to be out of the house or at work for the day.

You can also turn a fan on your feline friend while they are sleeping to ensure there’s a cool breeze always blowing on them. Of course, always keep cool, fresh water available for your cat as well.


Final Thoughts

So, do cats sweat when they’re overheated? The answer is yes, but not in the way you think. There are quite a few signs to look out for that your cat is overheated and more than a few ways to keep him cool, healthy, and happy during the sweltering summer season.

Featured Image Credit: absolutimages, Shutterstock

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