Cats do indeed sweat through their paws, although the amount is minimal. Gracie's feet perspire when she is feeling nervous or simply when she needs to cool down. A trail of wet paw prints across your kitchen floor is perfectly normal and nothing to worry about.
Think about your last trip to the dentist; your heart starts racing, eyes become dilated and your palms get sweaty. Gracie has the same symptoms when she feels anxious or nervous. You'll notice a trail of moist prints on the stainless steel table at the veterinarian's office. She's OK, just a little scared. Talk to her and stroke her head to soothe her anxiety. By the time she gets back home, the nervous paw sweating will stop.
You've probably noticed that when the temperature starts rising in July, Fido heads to the shadiest corner of the living room and pants to cool down after his afternoon walk. Gracie on the other hand, doesn't seem to mind the heat. Perspiring naturally cools the body down. While your feline can't sweat profusely like you can, she can get her body temperature down a little by sweating through her paws.
Other Cooling Mechanism
Cats don't have sweat glands all over their bodies, only on their paws. Because the sweating surface area is relatively small, she'll also bathe herself when she's a little overheated to moisten her coat. When a breeze comes by, it'll hit her wet fur, helping her cool off. This is why you'll see her grooming nonstop when the weather is hot and humid. If you have more than one feline companion, odds are they'll lick each other to aid in the cooling process.
When to Worry
Because cats aren't able to sweat a lot to regulate body temperature, you'll have to watch her signals that let you know if she is getting too warm. Kitties don't normally pant. However, if Gracie is huddled under the dining room table with her tongue sticking out, she might be having a hard time cooling down after racing through the yard in the afternoon heat. Give her a bowl of cool water, wipe her down with a wet cloth and put her in the coolest spot in the house until she returns to her normal happy self. If at any time Gracie appears sluggish, disoriented or falls over, she may have heat stroke and you need to get her to the vet as soon as possible.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.