Like most cat parents you might have asked yourself “do cats sweat?” at least once, probably in the shower, when your mind starts throwing you all the existential questions you had in your life!
They’re covered with fur and they sleep on top of each other most of the time which increases the heat. In our case, sweat is our body’s response to high temperatures, but how does their metabolism dissipate them? Can cats sweat? Can sweating indicate much more than a high temperature? And, how can I be useful when my cat starts having waterfalls in her paws?
Why is my cat sweating?
Your kitty’s little body may look to you like a little fur ball dribbling in every corner of the house. But it’s designed with a highly efficient cooling system. And to put this into perspective for those who ask “Do cats have sweat glands?”, cats do have them all over their hairless spots: their paws and between toes, lips, chin and around the anus.
The principle is simple; as soon as the temperature heightens, the body sends signals to the brain to cool it down. The brain then sends another signal to the glands to start sweating. The sweat then evaporates over time and starts having a freshening effect on the body.
I do get it, but wait:
Do hairless cats sweat?
Unlike the regular furry pets, the Sphynx cat doesn’t need to pant (sweat through cat’s sweating glands to decrease body temperature). These wonderful species have glands, which mean they sweat everywhere; the proof is that their skin gets colored from all those secretions. Thus, they need a bath from time to time to keep their coat clean and healthy.
Also read : Cats rubbing : Why Do Cats Rub Against You?
Do cats sweat when stressed?
Like us, heat isn’t the only reason why your kitty might sweat. Fear, stress, and anxiety can make your pet sweats to much that you can even see wet footprints on the floor.
Do cats sweat through their nose?
There’s a misconception that cats and dogs sweat through their nose, which isn’t correct. The mucous around their nose is only there for moisture and protection, but not for cooling.
Moreover, it’s important to understand there’s only so much the small sweating glands can do to the entire furry body. Sometimes they can struggle to keep the body fresh that you can see wet damp prints all over the place, especially during summertime.
Three Ways cats use to stay cool:
Because cats have only limited sweat glands compared to the huge areas covered with fur in their bodies, they came up with new ways to help freshen up their bodies:
Grooming is one of the most efficient methods cats rely on to keep their temperature within the normal range. The idea is similar to sweating; when your kitty grooms, the saliva covers the body and starts evaporating, leaving a sensation of freshness.
Do cats sweat when they are scared?
Grooming is different than over-grooming though, the moment you notice bald areas, irritated skin or any abnormalities in the groomed areas, you need to start suspecting a hidden health issue such as stress, pain, anxiety, or even fear.
Naps during the day:
Cats are known to be lazy but sometimes it’s for logical reasons. In fact, they tend to minimize their activities during hot sunny days to preserve a moderate temperature. Especially outdoor cats, Those Toms, have their nappies the entire day, and when the sun sits, their energy level rises to resume their usual hunting activities.
Lying on cool surfaces:
Maybe cats are lazy, but they’re finicky too. During hot summer days, not only they search for the perfect spot to lie on the ENTIRE FREAKING DAY, but they also need it to be a fresh one, like the kitchen floor, or maybe an air-conditioned room. They rest in the shade, on cool surfaces, preferably maximizing the contact between this last and their bodies, is one of their plans to survive the heat.
Panting and health issues:
What is panting?
Panting is one of the tricks cats use to cool down. The process works this way: the body dissipates the heat through the hottest part which is the inner thorax. The heat then goes out through moisture produced by many mucous membranes lying on the tongue, mouth, and throat. Your Tom then exhales the humid air and while it evaporates it produces a nice sensation of freshness for your cat, and therefore, it repeats it.
Can panting indicate an underlying health issue?
Panting it related more to dogs. When your cat starts panting excessively, it usually indicates an underlying health issue. Place your cat in a cool, calm and stress-free environment with food and water, if your cat keeps panting then you should visit the vet; as it can be a symptom for heatstroke, which can result in:
- Heart or lung diseases,
- Organ failure
- Brain swelling
- Blood clotting disorders
- Or even death.
If you notice that your kitty might have heatstroke, try patting down your kitty with a piece of wet clothing on her neck, and armpit to help reduce the heat, maybe put a fan in front of her to cool her down. And of course, provide her with cold water. If the temperature doesn’t go down you need to take her to the vet. He or she will give your kitty IV fluids and additional treatments to help the body regulate its temperature.
Things you can do to help your kitty preserve its freshness:
Cats sweat through their sweat glands to keep a normal temperature range but that’s not enough. Their body needs extra measures to stay cool. And here are a few tips you can do to make the summertime go merciful on your kitty:
- Provide Fluffy with a range of places it can hang out in during the day: it will need to hang out in cool places during the hot periods of the day, and sunny spots to get its sunbath during the cooler ones.
- Hydration is a must! Especially when heat strikes. However, water might evaporate fast and thus not be enough to satisfy your furry friend’s needs. Therefore, you must include extra sources of hydration such as ice cubes.
- Some kitties like the runny water. So if you have the resources you can provide your friend with a pet fountain, this could be a good investment for your kitty’s sake.
- If you have an indoor cat, it’s better to keep her inside during hot weather, or if she goes outside try keeping her in the shade.
- Prevent putting your kitty in hot spots, like forgetting her in the cat during summertime.
- And last but not least, always contact your vet if you notice any change in your cat’s behavior. Sometimes serious health conditions start showing up by manifesting minor symptoms. Thus, do not underestimate any behavioral change.
Our cats like their environment to be a degree or two warmer than us. However, with the current climate changes, heat can be dangerous for our cat’s health. We need to provide an adequate environment for them to be able to survive the overheated periods and not neglect their behavioral change during those days. They might have cooling systems inside their bodies but there are a lot of things you can do to help ease the discomfort and prevent severe health issues related to heatstroke. And remember, prevention is the best medication!