Do Cats Feel Hot Because Of Their Fur?


In the summer months or in hot climates, pet owners often wonder if their cats get hot because of their fur coats. Cats are covered in fur for good reason – it helps protect them from heat and cold. But when temperatures rise, some cats do show signs of feeling hot. This article explores how cats’ fur keeps them cool, as well as other strategies cats use to beat the heat.

We’ll look at how cats’ coats insulate them from high and low temperatures, how they groom to get rid of excess heat, and behaviors like seeking shade and lying on cool surfaces. We’ll also discuss how long-haired cats may get hotter more easily. Other topics include how cats pant to cool down, the risk of dehydration in heat, and why trimming their fur doesn’t help them stay cool. The goal is to understand why cats have fur and how it aids their temperature regulation.

Cats Have a Cooling System in Their Fur

Cats do not sweat through their fur like humans sweat through their skin. Instead, cats have sweat glands in their paw pads that allow them to sweat and cool down. When a cat gets hot, its paw pads produce sweat that evaporates from the pads and reduces the cat’s body temperature. This is an efficient cooling system that allows cats to regulate their temperature in hot weather. Cats also sweat through their noses, which have eccrine glands for evaporative cooling.

According to PetMD, “Even though you may never see them sweat, cats are born with an efficient cooling system.” Cats primarily cool themselves through panting and sweating from their paw pads, not by sweating through their fur coat like humans.1

Cats’ Fur Insulates Against Heat and Cold

A cat’s fur works as an insulating layer to help regulate their body temperature in both hot and cold weather. The fur traps air close to the skin, creating a layer of insulation. This layer of trapped air helps cats maintain a steady internal body temperature even when the external temperature fluctuates. The fur keeps cats warm in the winter by preventing body heat from being lost. In the summer, it keeps cats cool by preventing heat from the environment from being absorbed directly into their skin.

Cats are very good at regulating their core body temperature thanks to this insulating fur layer. Their body temperature usually stays around 101-102°F regardless of the external temperature. The fur helps cats maintain this steady internal temperature in both hot and cold conditions.

Cats Groom to Get Rid of Excess Heat

One of the main reasons cats spend so much time licking and grooming themselves is to help cool down. Cats’ tongues are covered in tiny, backward-facing barbs that act like a comb. When a cat licks its fur, the barbs catch loose hair and debris and remove it.

This grooming serves an important temperature regulation function. As the saliva from the cat’s tongue evaporates from the fur, it draws heat away from the skin in an evaporative cooling process. According to the Washington Post, the cooling sensation from the evaporated saliva helps cats dissipate excess body heat.

By frequently grooming themselves, cats can keep their coat in good condition and prevent overheating. The barbed tongue also helps remove loose fur that can trap heat close to the skin. Overall, the grooming process aids thermoregulation and keeps cats comfortable in hot weather.

Long-Haired Cats May Get Hotter

Long-haired cats have the potential to get hotter faster than short-haired cats, according to veterinarians and cat experts. Since long fur retains heat longer than shorter fur, long-haired cats often feel warmer in high temperatures (1). At the same time, the extra fur still provides insulation against extreme heat and cold. So while long coats do retain heat, they can also help prevent overheating in the sun or cool environments.

To keep long-haired cats comfortable in hot weather, the key is managing their fur. Regular grooming and brushing helps remove excess fur and keeps cats cooler. Trim long fur around the paws and legs for better air circulation. Always ensure easy access to fresh, cool water as well. With some extra care, most long-haired cats can happily handle hot summer days. Monitor them for signs of overheating like lethargy or panting, and bring them indoors to a cooled area if needed (2).


Cats Seek Shade and Lie on Cool Surfaces

To regulate their body temperature, cats will seek out cool areas to rest in. According to How Do Cats Cool Themselves Off? on, “cats seek out cool, shaded areas on hot days. This gets them out of the sun and allows airflow to cool their bodies” (source). Cats tend to lie on surfaces like tile or wood floors when it’s hot because the cool surface helps draw heat away from their bodies. As Spot Pet Insurance explains, cats “will lay on cool surfaces like tile or concrete to allow the cooler surface to draw heat away from their bodies” (source). So while cats rely in part on their fur for insulation, they also exhibit behaviors to help regulate their temperature and avoid overheating.

Cats Pant to Evaporate Moisture

One of the ways cats cool themselves down is by panting. Panting is rapid, open-mouth breathing that increases evaporation of moisture from a cat’s tongue, mouth, and upper respiratory tract1. As moisture evaporates from these surfaces, it carries heat away from the cat’s body, lowering its temperature. This evaporation has a cooling effect similar to sweating in people.

Panting is a normal response to heat in cats. However, excessive panting can be a sign of overheating or heat stroke, especially if accompanied by lethargy, drooling, and reddened gums2. Panting that does not subside when the cat is cooled down could indicate an underlying medical issue and warrants veterinary attention3.

While panting helps cool a hot cat in the short term, it can lead to dehydration if the cat cannot adequately replenish lost moisture. Providing ample water and moving the cat to a cooler area are important to prevent overheating and relieve panting caused by high temperatures.

Dehydration Is a Concern in Heat

Cats need to stay properly hydrated, especially during hot summer months. As temperatures rise, cats require more water to maintain hydration and healthy bodily functions. According to Vetwest, cats’ water needs naturally increase in warmer weather as they lose more moisture through panting and sweating from their paw pads.

Signs your cat may not be getting enough water include lethargy, dry or tacky gums, and skin that stays tenting after being pinched. Dehydration can also concentrate your cat’s urine, leading to more frequent, smaller volume pees. Left untreated, dehydration can cause kidney problems in cats.

Make sure fresh, clean water is always available. Try placing bowls around the house. Fountains may entice drinking. Canned food has high moisture content. You can also try watered down broths. Monitor your cat’s water intake and contact your vet if concerned about dehydration.

With ample hydration access, most cats will drink to meet their needs. But monitoring intake and signs of dehydration is important, especially during hot weather (Vetwest). Keeping your cat hydrated will help keep them healthy.

Trimming Fur Doesn’t Cool Cats Down

Contrary to popular belief, shaving or closely trimming a cat’s fur does not help keep them cool in summer. Cats’ coats have evolved to keep them comfortable in both hot and cold weather. Their fur actually provides insulation from heat by trapping cool air close to the skin. Shaving the fur removes this protection, leaving cats more vulnerable to temperature extremes.

Veterinarians advise against shaving healthy cats in summer. Shaving can disrupt cats’ natural temperature regulation, causing them to absorb more heat instead of deflecting it. The coat changeover that happens in spring naturally thins the winter undercoat so it doesn’t overheat cats in summer.

While shaving seems like it should cool cats down, it has the opposite effect. The only time shaving is recommended is for medical reasons like severe matting, injuries, or surgery sites. Otherwise, trimming or shaving the fur does not help cats stay cool and can put them at risk of sunburn and heat stroke. Healthy cats are better off keeping their coats intact.



Cats’ fur provides remarkable insulation against both hot and cold temperatures. While their fur coats help them conserve body heat in the winter, cats have adaptations to stay cool in the summer as well.

Cats groom themselves frequently to remove loose fur and cool down. Their bodies are designed to reflect heat and allow for evaporative cooling. Long-haired cats may get hotter, but shaving their fur does not help keep them cool.

The main takeaways are that cats’ fur coats help regulate their body temperature year-round. Cats are adept at controlling their temperature through grooming, seeking shade, and panting as needed. As long as they have access to water, shelter, and cool surfaces, cats can thrive in hot weather thanks to their specialized fur and adaptations.

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