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Is your cat a cool cat?

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Bo, the ultimate cool kitty: We got lucky here in Kansas City the past couple of days.  The temps dropped into the 70s, far below the three digit level to which they were creeping.  I better enjoy it while it lasts, however, as they are supposed to soar again tomorrow, which means I need to get that dang house dog, Jessie, to fan me more frequently.  I hate bad fur days.  I suppose you are wondering if cats really sweat?!  I mean, when it is hot outside, you see those dogs out there just panting and carrying on while we cool cats can just lay there apparently unaffected by the extreme temperatures….or are we unaffected?

Cats do sweat through their paws.  However, due to the small surface area of our paws, it is not the most effective cooling system.  So, we usually have to seek out the shadier spots and rest.  We like to rest on cool surfaces like tile or hardwoord floors or perhaps in the shade under the bushes.  Being intelligent creatures, we prefer not to hunt or exert ourselves when it is hot outside.  Instead, we groom.  This is a very effective heat lowering mechanism.  We may lay back and seem to be lesiurely grooming ourselves, but in effect, we are working to cool ourselves down.  When we lick ourselves, it actually serves to cool us down.  When our saliva evaporates off our fur, it actually lowers our body temperature, much like it does for humans when their sweat evaporates off of their bodies.

However, we cats will resort to panting if the licking measures are not effective enough.  Our normal body temperatures are 100.5 to 102.5 degrees.  If it rises to 105 or above, we may sustain heat exhaustion.  At 107 degrees, we risk heat stroke and possibly even death.

An overheated cat will seem sluggish and confused.  His gums and tongue will be bright red, and he will be panting heavily.  He could easily vomit, collapse, have a seizure, or lapse into a coma.  This is when you need to get him to the veterinary clinic.  Pour some cool water on his fur to begin the cooling process, and en route to the clinic, cover him with wet, cold towels.  However, do not use ice cold water.

So, there you have the skinny on how cats sweat and cool themselves.  Now you see why, on these incredibly scorching days, I keep that house dog within arm’s reach to cool me down and bring me refreshing drinks.

(Thanks to for this great information!  Thanks to ME for writing this post…no sweat!)


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