How do cats perspire?

How do cats endure the sweltering heat of summer days? Have you noticed that cats seem not to be affected by heat? While you would enthusiastically fan yourself and take sips from the long cool drink…while the pet dog would be seen panting by your side, the cat would be seen calmly licking its fur. Do cats perspire? Cats do sweat but they only do so through their paws. Because of the small areas of paws, cats have to find other ways to cool themselves. Cats are indeed cunning animals as they have a few tricks up their sleeve to combat the heat.

Cat owners would always say that they have never seen the pet perspire. With all the fur that entirely covers the cat; an owner would have to have some kind of power to see the pet sweat. However, cats really do perspire. The thing though is that they only do so through their paws. On a very hot day, the wet footprints of a cat can be seen on the floor. This is one pretty good sign that these animals can sweat. Tension would make humans sweat. A frightened cat would sweat too but just as when the pet is hot, the pet will be noticed to be perspiring by the trail of wet footprints it leaves on the floor. However, we know how small cat’s paws are. Unlike humans that have sweat glands practically on all parts of the body, cats have a very limited surface where sweat can evaporate. These poor animals do not have a very efficient cooling system. Body temperature is regulated by the sweat glands. Warm moisture is brought to the surface of the skin. Cooling is achieved when the sweat evaporates. Given the large area where perspiration is produced, humans can efficiently regulate body temperature.

Dogs, similar to cats also sweat through the paws. Dogs, like cats would not be seen sweating. However, dogs pant when they are hot. Cooling is achieved when air circulates around the mouth cavity that is moistened by saliva. Unlike dogs, cats don’t pant to regulate body temperature. These dainty little things would take nice shallow breaths where very little air goes in and out of the lungs. Cats pant only when they are ill or highly stressed. Queens would pant while giving birth. So how do cats regulate body temperature?

On very hot days, cats would be seen seeking shady areas and resting on cool surfaces like tiled floors. Cats have the inclination to roam and to chase small fast moving animals. But have you seen cats playing outdoors or hunting while the sun is at its zenith? No sir! Apparently, these animals are wise enough to conserve their energies. Cats are fastidious groomers. These furry friends would spend hours licking and licking their fur. Aside from maintaining the immaculate appearance of the fur, cats have another purpose for this kind of grooming routine. And that is to cool themselves. Body temperature is lowered when the saliva evaporates and dries off the fur.

Cats though can only do so much to regulate body temperature. Normal body temperature of a cat is pegged at 100.5 to 102.5°F. A cat would suffer heat exhaustion if its body temperature rises to 105 degrees. Heat stroke, a life threatening condition would occur if the body temperature rises to 107 degrees. It is the responsibility of a cat owner to ensure that the pet is not exposed to situations where it would find it difficult to regulate its own body temperature.