tabby cat paws on backrest of couch

Cats tend to be warm little creatures, often choosing to toast themselves in spots like sunbeams and your warm lap. The discrepancy between a cat’s body temperature and our own body temperature can make it difficult to determine when you should be concerned, though. If your cat just walked across your bare skin, you may have noticed their paws feeling quite warm and wondering if that’s normal. Here’s what you need to know about the temperature of your cat’s paws.

Why Are My Cat’s Paws Hot?

Since cats have a baseline body temperature higher than humans, their paws will usually feel warm to the touch. Cats have a body temperature between 101–102.5°F, so it makes sense that their ears, paws, and bellies would feel warm to us. However, your cat’s paws should feel warm and not hot.

It’s possible for your cat to have hot paws after laying in a sunny, hot area, and if you know your cat just left a space like this, then there’s likely nothing to be concerned about. Cats cool themselves through their paws, so if your cat’s paws feel excessively hot, this could be a sign of a more severe issue, like a high fever, burns, or inflammation in the paws and legs.

Paws of a poly-dactyl Maine Coon kitten
Image courtesy of Shutterstock

When Should I Be Concerned?

If you’re familiar with the baseline temperature of your cat’s paws, that’s the best guide you can have. Like people, cats may have minor differences in their body temperature, and the environment can also play a role in how warm their paws may be. If your cat’s paws are routinely warm and it just occurred to you that this may be concerning, then it’s unlikely there actually is anything to be concerned about, although you can always talk to your vet for reassurance.

If you’re not familiar with the normal temperature of your cat’s paws, this can make it more difficult to determine when you should be concerned. The easiest way to determine if there is a concerning issue or not is by identifying other symptoms your cat may be exhibiting. For example, if your cat has warm paws due to inflammation, then it’s possible your cat might also be limping or exhibiting lethargy, or staying in bed more than normal. If your cat is running a high enough fever for their paws to feel warm to the touch, then the rest of your cat likely will feel hot as well, and they’ll almost certainly have symptoms like lethargy and inappetence. These are things that you should take your cat to the vet for.

In Conclusion

Warm kitty paws are a perfectly normal thing for all cats, but hot paws can be abnormal. Familiarizing yourself with the normal temperature of your cat’s paws can give you a guide to help you identify when something is amiss with your kitty’s health. Even if you’re not familiar with the normal temperature of your cat’s paws, keeping an eye out for other symptoms of injury or illness will help you determine if your cat needs a vet visit for their hot paws.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock