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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Have you ever wondered why so many cats are magically attracted to radiators and warm spots in the sun? Some cats also love to snuggle under your blanket and stay there purring and blissful for hours. It makes you wonder why they do this, especially as most cats have fur! Why do cats like warmth? Do cats really have such a great need for warmth?

Why do cats like warmth?

The normal body temperature of a cat is between 38 and 39 degrees celsius, which is much higher than that of humans. At a lower body temperature, the small cat body begins to cool down and lose precious energy. By seeking out warm places, cats keep their body temperature constant or warm it up.  This saves a lot of energy – which is needed to warm up the body. Our beloved pets are true energy savers, aren’t they? 😊

Since their ancestors come from desert areas, cats can handle heat better than cold.

Good to know: The most comfortable ambient temperature for most cats is an average of 30 degrees celsius. However, the environment should be at least 18-25°. 

Do all cats have the same need for warmth?

Like humans, cats are individuals with different characters and needs. For some cats, there is hardly anything better than an extensive sunbath. Others avoid the warming rays of the sun and prefer to seek out a shady spot. Some cats can’t get away from the radiator at all, while others don’t care much for it. What is the reason for this? 

The answer may not seem surprising: As a rule, it is due to the physical constitution of the cat. So-called naked cats, like the Sphynx for example, will probably cool down faster than a cat with a thick, long coat.  

You only has to look at the different cat breeds in detail. There are breeds, such as the dun cat, that are perfectly adapted to very hot climates. A short coat and long limbs give off heat quickly. On the other hand, there are breeds that have evolved more in colder areas of the world. These usually have a longer coat with considerably more warming undercoat. Their body is also much broader and more compact in comparison. 

However, the individual need for warmth is not only dependent on the breed. Especially older and/or weakened animals and very young kittens have a significantly higher need for warmth. Pure domestic cats may also not change their coat, which means that they do not grow a warming winter coat.

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How do I recognise that it is too warm for my cat?

Yes, this case can actually happen too. A dry and warm place to sleep and rest is clearly preferred by cats, but it can happen that our graceful co-inhabitants get too warm. Although it varies from cat to cat when it is considered too warm, the average temperature is around 35 degrees celsius. 

How can you notice if your pet is too warm?

  • By their behaviour: Your darling will instinctively seek out a cooler spot. They may go to the cool tiled floor or lie down in the shade. Cats that have been exposed to too much heat also tend to be sluggish and even apathetic (danger: heat stroke in cats).
  • Cats cannot sweat like humans, but they start to pant.
  • Faster breathing, blood pressure increases.
  • Drinking more water.
  • Licking the fur. As the saliva evaporates, there is a cooling effect. 

How do I recognise that it is too cold for my cat?

Do you wonder if your pet is too cold in your flat/house? How can you notice if your cat is cold?

  • Cats that are cold will pull their limbs close to their body or sit on their paws. It is different with cats that are comfortably warm. Here they stretch out their limbs, make themselves long and wide and also like to turn onto their backs.
  • Noses, ears, paws and the tip of the tail feel cool.
  • Fur is raised, fluffed up. 
  • They specifically seek out sources of warmth. Outdoor cats want to go into the warm room and prefer to stay at home.
  • Change in behaviour: Rather aloof cats may suddenly seek your warm body proximity.
  • If your cat is already shivering, seems apathetic, breathing seems to be slowed down, blood pressure drops and muscles stiffen, there is already a danger of hypothermia. Contact a veterinary doctor immediately.

How can I make it comfortable for cats?

  • Make sure the room temperature is comfortable. You may be able to heat only one room where your cat likes to be.
  • Get fluffy cat burrows and set up cosy places for your cat.
  • Hammocks attached to the heating are also a popular place to lie down.
  • Especially during transport (to the vet, and others), put blankets under your cat. A heating pad underneath will also provide the necessary warmth (be careful not to make it too hot). 
  • And maybe your darling can snuggle up to you under the blanket or snuggle up to your body to keep warm. 😊 
Ofen, Feuer


Why do cats like warmth? One thing is for sure: Many cats love to snuggle up to the radiator, follow the warming rays of the sun or just snuggle under your cosy warm blanket. Why cats like warmth so much is naturally. Freezing also means loss of energy. However, depending on the cat’s need for warmth, its physical condition and state of health, the temperatures at which it feels comfortable will vary.