Do Cats Sweat Through Their Paws?

Cats are like other animals, and even humans, in that they sweat when they get hot. However, they have a different way of releasing sweat than we do and also have different ways of cooling down compared to dogs or other animals. 

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Do cats sweat through their paws? Yes, cats sweat through their paws. That’s because the paws are one of the few places where sweat glands are located. Sweat glands are also located on a cat’s chin, lips, and skin around the anus.

Read more of the article below to find out how to know when your cat is too hot and what to do about it. 

Cats’ Sweat Glands

A cat’s sweat glands are only located in hairless areas of his body. That is why the primary place that sweats on a cat is the paws. Evaporating sweat makes the cat’s skin cooler. 

A normal temperature for a cat is between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Sweating typically occurs once their temperature is higher than 102.5 degrees.

You may see paw prints across your table or floor during the summer or other warm times. This shows you that your cat is sweating. Unfortunately, sweating through the paws isn’t enough to completely cool down.

Cats also have other sweat glands in their skin called apocrine sweat glands. However, these don’t function to cool a cat down during hot temperatures. They secrete a substance that acts as a pheromone. It is an oily fluid that comes out when a cat is happy, in mating season, and sometimes when they are sick. 

Since cats don’t have enough sweat glands to completely cool themselves, they must resort to other ways to stay cool that go beyond sweating.

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Other Ways to Cool Down

Cats are efficient at keeping themselves cool. Whether it is an instinct or something taught by their parents remains a bit of a mystery, but cats understand that grooming makes them cooler. 

This is why you will see a cat paying a lot of attention to his coat during hotter months. Licking his fur provides enough dampness to evaporate and cool down the skin. 

Cat Cooling Habits

Cats also are notorious for sleeping a lot during the day. This is part of their sleep cycle but also becomes a safe way to stay out of summer heat. Cats will find a cool place in the shade, on concrete or tile to lay and stay cool until evening. Then, they can go on the prowl comfortably. 

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Cats Rarely Pant

Dogs will pant when they get hot. Cats typically don’t pant. A panting cat is terribly overheated, in distress, under stress, or can’t breathe, which may prompt you to take him to the veterinarian. 

Most animal experts say most cats pant when they are stressed rather than overheated or because of medical issues. 

Pay attention to when your cat pants to determine why he is panting. You may be able to relieve his stress if you understand what is causing it rather than make a trip to the vet.

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How to Cool Your Cat?

You can try to cool your cat before rushing to the vet. He may have just been out in the sun too long and you can get him cooler by first bringing him inside an air-conditioned area. Put him on tile or some other cool surface. 

Give him a bowl of cold water and direct a fan on him for a breeze. You can also get a washcloth and wet it with cold water and pet him with it, as long as your cat doesn’t hate water or cloth baths. 

Your cat should cool down within five minutes with these methods. Take your cat to the vet if you can’t get his body temperature cool quickly. Overheating can cause permanent brain damage and seizures if they continue too long. 

Long-hair cats, as pretty as they are, maybe more comfortable if they are shaved or if their fur was cut down during the summer. 

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FAQs

Does excessive sweating mean something is medically wrong?

A cat that leaves sweaty footprints in a cool environment could mean he has stress or anxiety. That can be something a veterinarian should look at. 

What does it mean when my cat is wet around his mouth?

Cats can sweat around the mouth but normally it isn’t sweating at all but saliva. Cats will drool if there is a stomach or dental problem. They can also drool when they are happy and you are paying attention to them. 

What does it mean if my cat has sweaty paws?

Cats sweat through their paws if they are hot but can also sweat if they are scared. They may also start grooming, which means they were too hot and are trying to cool themselves. 

Why are my cat’s paws hot?

Cats have a natural higher temperature than us so their paws will feel hotter than normal. 

How do I check my cat’s temperature?

The only way to check a cat’s temperature accurately is with a rectal thermometer. That can be a bit disconcerting for you and a problem if your cat doesn’t let you. You may need someone to hold your cat while you do it. 

You can also get a quick check of your cat’s body temperature by feeling his nose. Cats with really warm noses are likely running at a temperature or hotter than they should be.

Why do cats’ paws turn black?

Many cats have pink or gray-colored paw pads that turn black. This is due to aging and could be normal. However, paw pads that are red, swollen, or scaley may be signs of a medical issue.

Medical issues include kidney or other serious organ failure so take them to a vet right away if you see these signs.

Do cats sweat through their fur?

No, most of a cat’s sweat glands are on hairless areas of their body. Other glands that release pheromones are in their skin covered by fur. They release an oily substance when cats have emotional reactions like happiness or fear.

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