I understand why dogs pant and humans transpire, namely for temperature homeostasis. So why don't cats need to do either, even after expending a lot of energy on a hot day?

  • $\begingroup$ Do cats ever expend a lot of energy? $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 24, 2020 at 16:44
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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Biology.SE! Please take the tour and then go through the help pages starting with How to Ask questions effectively on this site (it is not identical to SO) and edit your question accordingly. In particular, we expect you to do some research on your own and then, informed by what you have learned, ask any questions you still have (ideally with references to reliable sources). I believe you have not done this because your question is based on a false premise — google search result. Thanks! 😊 $\endgroup$
    – tyersome
    Sep 25, 2020 at 1:00
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    $\begingroup$ Cats have low endurance, dogs can jog for 20 kilometers, endurance hunting. Besides, check videos of lions on hot days, they pant under a tree. $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2020 at 2:45
  • $\begingroup$ @aliential: Depending on the breed of dog, a 20 km jog might just be a gentle warmup. Even my friends' small dogs - not much bigger than a cat - will happily go 10 km or so. But I don't think I've ever seen a cat run even 100 m. $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Sep 25, 2020 at 5:43
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    $\begingroup$ domestic cats do pant sometimes: timeforpaws.co.uk/s/cat-panting-should-you-be-worried $\endgroup$
    – Ben Bolker
    Sep 25, 2020 at 13:18

2 Answers 2


Transpiring and panting are ways to regulate body temperature. When sweat evaporates, it cools the skin, and panting releases heat through the mouth. Horses, humans and even plants transpire for this reason, while dogs and birds pant. But how do cats release heat?

In fact, cats sweat through their paws. It appears that a cat after it has been frightened may leave wet pawprints on the floor. Although it's all over the internet, I couldn't find a convincing picture and as a cat lover, I've never noticed this phenomenon. That aside, cat's paws have little surface area, and cannot provide much cooling power. Instead, felines have other, more effective strategies to adjust their core temperature. Like dogs, they often sprawl out on cool surfaces (Fig. 1), or they seek out the shade on hot days. They also tend to sleep a lot, which reduces core temperature and is preferable of being very active in hot times in terms of body temperature (Fig. 2).

enter image description here
Fig. 1. Sprawling cat. source: Columbian blogs

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Fig. 2. Cats in the shade. source: Cat memes

- Indiana Public Media

  • $\begingroup$ A cat on a hot tin roof is in greater trouble that I always thought! :) I'm having trouble understanding how my cat with thick fur is cooling down through it's paws at the same rate as my short hair dog panting under the same conditions. Maybe a cat's metabolism is much slower so heat buildup is less of a problem. $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2020 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @HeinduPlessis as said, they keep calm :) $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Sep 24, 2020 at 12:16
  • $\begingroup$ They sure do! I wonder if there's a paper in this? $\endgroup$ Sep 24, 2020 at 13:10
  • $\begingroup$ The second paragraph of this answer is substantially copied from the source you linked to. You should make it clear through quotations when you are using someone else’s writing. $\endgroup$
    – canadianer
    Sep 25, 2020 at 7:31
  • $\begingroup$ @canadianer it's not quoted though; the text has changed. I can add the source somewhere again, but it's clearly mentioned below? I guess it's fine as is. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Sep 25, 2020 at 8:14

Cats are smaller and hotter than dogs and humans, with a temperature between 100.4°F and 102.5°F (38.1°C to 39.2°C).

Smaller animals have a higher surface-to-volume ratio and so radiate excess heat more efficiently.

Being hotter, cats tolerate higher temperatures.

I could not find an accessible ref for this, please insert some if you can find some.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I've added as source for a cat's core temp. But you say 'Cats are smaller and hotter...' than what? An elephant? And the fact that they are more heat tolerant and that it's due to core temp and size is what really needs a proper source. But in itself a nice answer. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Sep 25, 2020 at 7:01
  • $\begingroup$ Somebody should do a study correlating the RoP (Rate of Panting - excuse the technical lingo) with dog size! I must say thinking about it - my sausage dogs do indeed pant less than my husky... $\endgroup$ Sep 25, 2020 at 11:42

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