All / Biology / Evolution / Feline / Questions & Answers

Q: On hot days, how do cats cool themselves?

A:

By “sweating” from their coats: Cats lick their coats to cool down. When saliva evaporates from your cat’s fur, it provides a cooling effect, similar to a human’s sweat evaporating off of their skin.”

So, basically they use their saliva– which works similarly to sweat, in order to cool their body as it evaporates. In extreme heat/weather, cats will also pant. But this is not a healthy or normal sign–a panting cat, unlike a dog, is a dangerously over-heated (or asthmatic/ill) cat.

Brown marble Bengal cat licking its hind foot
Brown marble Bengal cat licking its hind foot (www.warrenphotographic.co.uk)

Here’s another fun little fact: cats were originally desert living animals (and are actually an invasive species in the West), so they can tolerate and even enjoy heat at much higher levels–hence, sun-basking–have rougher tongues meant in part for water absorption, and have a weaker sense of thirst than other animals.

 

 

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