Ask a Vet: Questions and Answers

How Hot is Too Hot for Cats?

An orange-tannish and white cat lying on the sand with the ocean in the background.

Cats tend to seek out sources of warmth-consider their quest for the perfect sunbeam, cozy blanket, or cat pile. However, that doesn’t mean they won’t reach a melting point. Not every kitty has the same level of heat tolerance. What each cat considers too hot will depend on several factors.

With an average body temperature that is slightly higher than our own, around 100 – 101° F (37.8 – 38.8° C), they can tolerate a bit more heat than we can. But as temperatures rise, cats are very limited in the layers that they can shed and their mechanisms for cooling their body. So, it’s essential that as cat parents, we pay special attention to our cat’s comfort to prevent potentially serious problems.

How Can I Tell If My Cat is Too Hot?

A small grey kitten with black stripes lying on its back with its paws outstretched to its sides on sand on a beach.

Most commonly, cats that are feeling warm will act uncomfortable. They may be restless and move around from place to place, seeking cooler temperatures. They may not eat as much and drink more. You may see them pant, especially after exercise. Or you may notice them grooming more often to increase the cooling effects of evaporation.

When cats start to get dangerously hot, they can experience heatstroke when the body temperature gets to 104° F (40° C) or above. At these high temperatures, organs and systems can start to fail and shutdown. Cats with heatstroke may pant excessively, drool, sweat from their footpads, appear disoriented, vomit, stagger, and have bright red gums. Heatstroke is a medical emergency and should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

How Hot is Too Hot For Indoor Cats?

A white, grey, brown cat with black strips is sitting on someone's legs, with a fire burning in a fireplace in the background.

Most of the time, indoor cats are at little risk of getting too hot. Humans will be uncomfortable well before they are. But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. 

Situations like power outages when the A/C doesn’t work, or if a cat is in a confined space can lead to overheating. As a general rule, anytime temperatures exceed 90° F (32.2° C), your cat needs to be provided with a cool space, fan, or another cooling source, and plenty of water to feel comfortable.

How Hot is Too Hot For Outdoor Cats?

A small grey kitten with black stripes in outside in the grass, looking up at something.

Outdoor cats may be a bit more acclimated to hot temperatures, especially if they have access to cool, shady spots. However, to be safe, stick to the rule of 90 degrees to ensure their safety. Since outside temperatures in some areas routinely exceed 90° F, consider letting your cat indoors during extreme heatwaves.

How To Cool Down a Hot Cat

A black and white can sleeping on top of a table, with a small, blue fan in front of it. There is a sofa in the background.

Cats are usually more likely to seek cool spots and suspend activity than their canine companions, making heatstroke less common in cats. However, it’s still nothing to mess around with. When body temperatures reach 104° F or above for extended periods, your cat’s life could be in danger.

If you suspect your cat has heatstroke, cooling them is the priority. If you have a rectal thermometer, use it. It may be important to know their body temperature as a reference point to see how quickly they can be cooled down. 

Cooling them down should be started before you head to the veterinarian. Start by moving your cat to a cool spot, either in the shade or in front of the air conditioner or fan. Place them on a cool, wet towel. 

You can then spray or wipe cool, not cold, water on their fur, and use a fan to increase evaporation. If your cat is alert, offer them cool water. You can add tuna oil or low sodium chicken broth to entice drinking. Once you’ve knocked their temperature down a notch or two, get them to the vet for further treatment.

How to Prevent Your Cat From Getting Too Hot

A black, grey, and white cat lying on its back on a hardwood floor in a bathroom.

Always provide your kitty with a safe, cool spot. This may be as simple as a cardboard box that offers some shade. Bathrooms or laundry rooms with tile or vinyl floors are also preferred. Keep the temperatures in your home low and comfortable and invite outdoor kitties in when it’s too hot outside. 

Frequent grooming to remove excess hair and providing clean, fresh, water is also a must. Never confine your cat in a hot car or poorly ventilated room. A cooling mat may also offer some comfort for indoor or outdoor kitties.

Factors That Affect a Cat’s Heat Tolerance

A yellow-tanish and white cat sleeping on the ledge of a house or store which is located right in front of a body of water.

We all experience heat in various ways. The same temperature on the thermometer can feel different depending on humidity, wind conditions, shade, if you’re moving, or if you have a cold drink. Cats are no different.

1. Ventilation

Stagnant air turns the temperature from warm to hot, really quick. A fan or breeze can help to move that warm air providing a cooling effect on your cat. 

2. Exercise

Muscle movement creates heat, which is exemplified by the heat in the environment. Cats that are moving or playing are more apt to get hotter than those who choose to lounge when the temperatures rise.

3. A Cool Space

You may notice that cats tend to “disappear” during the hot summer months. This is because they are hiding out in a cool, dark spot to keep their body temperature down. Without access to these cool hideouts, heat becomes more of a problem.

4. Age and Health

Older and younger kitties can’t regulate their body temperature as effectively as healthy adults. Similarly, those with chronic health conditions, such as kidney disease, may have trouble as well.

5. Weight

Excess fat provides insulation, which is great in the winter months but not so much as it gets warmer. Overweight kitties will have a harder time staying cool.

6. Haircoat

Before giving your cat a summer haircut, it’s important to realize that that haircoat provides some insulation against the heat. However, in long-haired or thick-coated cats, the protection against heat is overcome by the hair’s heat absorption. Frequent brushing to remove dead hair can help.

Grooming also helps to cool cats down. Wetting the haircoat with their tongue is sort of a cat’s way of sweating as the evaporation of that water helps to cool them off.

7. Breed

Cats cool themselves by panting, similar to dogs. Panting moves hot hair from inside the body through the mouth and nasal cavity, where it utilizes evaporation to cool down. Cats with “smushed” faces, such as Persians, Himalayans, and Scottish Folds, have a shorter nose and, therefore, less area to provide that cooling effect. 

8. Access to Water

Hydration is a major factor in a cat’s cooling process. Having a moist nasal and oral cavity is a must to allow for evaporation during panting. It is also essential to keep systems functioning at higher temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Even though we often think of cats as heat seekers, they can get too hot. Providing them with ways to cool off is key in preventing discomfort and heat stroke.

How Cold is too cold for cats?

A white and brown cat outside walking in the snow covered ground.

Even though they may sport a thick fur coat, cats aren’t immune to cold weather. But how cold is too cold for your feline friend depends on several factors. Since there’s no defined number that should set off the chilly alarm, let’s look at how you can tell if the weather is subpar for both indoor and outdoor cats’ needs and what you can do to fix it. 

The normal body temperature of a cat is around 100 degrees F (37.8 C). While this may be similar to our body temperature, it doesn’t mean that cats are as adapted as us to handle colder temperatures. That’s because we can add or shed layers of clothing as need be to make ourselves comfortable. Your cat relies solely on their haircoat, whatever thickness and weight it may be. So, what feels warm and comfortable to you in your wool sweater might be a tad on the chilly side to your kitty.

Factors that Affect Your Cats Cold Tolerance

A grey, brownish cat with black stripes under a pile of fabric or clothes, with only his face sticking out.

There’s no set temperature for when a cat gets too cold because it depends on many individualized factors. Some of those include:

1. Age and Health of Your Cat

Older kitties or those with health conditions, such as diabetes, hyperthyroidism, or even a common cold, are more likely to feel the cold than young and healthy cats.

2. Access to Food and Water

Being adequately hydrated and having enough calories goes a long way in keeping a cat warm. If your cat isn’t given enough high-quality food to eat or enough warm water, they are more likely to get cold.

3. Access to Warm Shelter

Wind and wetness can make your kitty cold quicker, even when the temperatures are only slightly chilly. They need access to shelter from the wind, rain, or snow to stay warm.

How Can I Tell If My Cat is Cold?

A cute, yellow and white kitten under a white blanket, dressed in a blue sweater and blue beanie cap.

Since you may not be feeling the chill that your cat is, it’s essential to recognize signs that they’re cold. First off, pay attention to how they are sleeping. Cold kitties will sleep in a tight ball, usually next to a source of heat, which may be the radiator, a sunbeam, their other cat buddies, or under a blanket. 

Or they may not be comfortable enough to sleep and instead may be restless, looking for that warmth. They may also follow you around, seemingly trying to smother you anytime they get the chance. They’re trying to absorb some of the warm vibes that you may be giving off.

Other signs are shivering or feeling cold to the touch. Shivering is a body’s natural way of trying to produce heat from muscle movement. You may notice slight tremors in their black, side, head, or leg muscles. The ears, footpads, and end of the tail may feel cold or cool to the touch as well.

If your cat gets really cold and hypothermia sets in, they may be weak and lethargic, cold to the touch all over, feel stiff, or have shallow breathing. This is an emergency, and you need to get your cat to a vet immediately. 

How Cold is Too Cold For Indoor Cats?

A grey cat with black stripes sleeping at the arm of a light tan-ish chair. There is a blurry image of a lit-up Christmas tree in the background.

Even with the protection and comforts that the indoors allow, keeping a cat warm can still be a problem. Most kitties appreciate an ambient temperature between 75 – 90° F (24 – 32° C), especially if they have a sunbeam to bask in. You may notice that temperatures below 75° F will make your cat eager to run under your blankets. 

Getting down into the 50-degree F mark without acclimation can be getting too cold. Most of the time, our homes don’t get down to 50 degrees unless the power goes out, heaters break, etc., so it’s usually not a problem. 

But it’s still important to watch your cat for the signs above and provide them with a cozy bed and safe heat source if they’re starting to act cold when indoors.

How Cold is Too Cold For Outdoor Cats?

Two identical, yellowish and white cats sitting outside on the ground, next to each other. They both having their mouths open as if they are "meowing."

Outdoor kitties are a bit more of a question mark when it comes to being cold. They are usually a little better acclimated to handle lower temperature fluctuations, but that doesn’t mean they’re completely out of the woods. 

As a general rule, when temperatures consistently stay below 45° F, it’s time for some intervention. They may need protection when nighttime temperatures dip into the 30s, but daytime highs are still at 60 as well.

Give outdoor kitties a comfortable bed free from draughts and sheltered from rain or snow. Ensure the bottom and sides are thick to provide insulation and consider adding a safe heat source, like a heating pad or heat lamp, if you’re in a part of the country when winters get and stay cold. 

What Happens if a Cat Gets Too Cold?

A black cat with a white nose outside in the snow, with some snow on his face.

Being chilly is usually just a minor inconvenience, but getting too cold can reach dangerous levels, sometimes very quickly. 

Hypothermia is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a cat’s body temperature gets below 90 degrees. At this temperature, organ function can start to decline or even shut down. A kitty may go into shock or die if body temperatures aren’t brought back up.

Another risk of colder weather is frostbite. This happens when freezing weather damages a cat’s extremities, sometimes to the point that they need to be removed. Ears, tails, feet, and noses are the most at risk.

A risk that some of us might not think about is freezing water dishes. Cats need water for all bodily functions to occur. While they will be able to get some water from eating snow or licking ice, this can also contribute to hypothermia. Keeping liquid water for your kitty is of utmost importance during cold temperatures.

Final Thoughts

Even though our feline friends might act tough, they usually need a little help when it comes to handling cold weather. Remember that every cat is different in how they will handle cold temperatures. It’s important to recognize when your cat is cold and having a plan to warm them up.

Why Is My Cat Shivering?

A grey tabby cat with black stripes on an orange background crouching down looking afraid of something.

We all get the shivers sometimes, our cats included. Shivering in kitties can be brought on by several reasons, none of which should be ignored. While not all causes of shivering require an emergency response, some warrant a veterinary visit. This guide will help you to determine the reason why your cat is shivering and how to respond.

What is Shivering in Cats?

A grey kitten with black stripes lying on a wooded floor, next to a cardboard box looking at something in front of it.

Shivering, trembling, or shaking are all pretty synonymous with the same type of movement. We’re talking about those small, involuntary muscle contractions that can occur in the head, tail, legs, or over the whole body. They are often more pronounced when your cat is at rest. These tremors can be slow or fast twitches depending on the cause and the muscles that are involved.

What Causes Shivering in Cats?

A grey tabby cat with black strips on a box of some kind, lookign down and meowing.

The causes of shivering in cats can vary from behavioral to medical. Let’s start with the simpler ones first and work up to those with more complex causes.

1. Hypothermia

Your cat may be shivering simply because they are cold. We’ve all been there – feeling like we should have worn a heavier coat. Even though cats have a perpetual fur coat, they can still get cold if the ambient temperature is too low. Young kittens, older kitties, or cats with health issues can also have a harder time maintaining that 100-102-degree body temperature and may shiver as a result.

2. Hyperthermia

Shivering isn’t just a symptom of being cold. On the flip side of the temperature coin, kitties can shiver when they get too hot. Fevers are often a result of viral or bacterial infections, which can cause a cat to shiver.

3. Hypoglycemia

Cats need to maintain a certain glucose level in their blood to feed tissues and organs, mainly the brain and heart. A drop in blood sugar can lead to shivering or tremors. Low blood sugar can occur because a cat hasn’t been eating or diseases like diabetes.

4. Fear and Anxiety

We’ve all heard the term “scaredy-cat” to refer to someone afraid or apprehensive about doing something. Well, it can be used to describe cats as well. Our feline friends can develop fears or phobias to things like loud noises, flashing lights, and strangers. In response to their fears, they release the stress hormone cortisol, which can lead to shakes and shivers. Nervous or scared cats may also have dilated pupils, want to remain motionless, or try to hide to avoid their fear.

5. Chronic Kidney Disease

As a cat owner, you’ve no doubt heard about the prevalence of kidney disease, especially in older kitties. When the kidneys aren’t functioning properly, they don’t filter the blood efficiently, leading to a buildup of waste products that can become toxic if high enough levels are reached in the bloodstream. These products can cause trembling and even lead to seizures if left untreated.

6. Pain

When a cat is ill or injured, the accompanying pain and discomfort can cause trembling or shaking. This is related to their stress response and may be seen in localized areas or all over the body.

7. Toxicity

Many toxins can cause tremors or shivering in cats. These toxins can be from plants or chemicals and require immediate treatment.

8. Nervous System Disturbances

A disruption in the nervous system causes some shivering in cats. This can be due to an injury or illness that causes inflammation of the nerves leading to conductance disturbances. Some kitties can be born with deformities that cause trembling as well.

What To Do If Your Cat is Shivering

A grey, tan cat with black stripes looking sheepish inside of a blue and white cat carrier.

All shivering in cats should be taken seriously. If your cat’s shaking can’t be controlled by turning up the thermostat, it’s time to see your veterinarian. They can diagnose and treat causes of shivering such as illness, injury, or toxicity. 

In general, if your cat experiences sudden onsets of shivering, you’ll want to see your veterinarian as soon as possible.

For cats that are shivering due to fear or anxiety, give them a quiet place to relax away from the fearful stimuli. Prevention can be just as important. For example, if you know your cat is afraid of thunderstorms and there’s one in the forecast this afternoon, preemptively place them in a quiet, safe spot with some white noise, their favorite toys, and a comfy bed.

You can prevent other causes of shivering by keeping your kitty as healthy as possible. Stay up-to-date on vaccinations and see your veterinarian regularly. 

How is Shivering in Cats Treated?

A small grey kitten with black stripes on an examination table. A man wearing blue scrubs is holding the kitten as if examining it.

Treatment of shivering depends on treating the underlying condition. Toxicities need to be decontaminated; pain needs to be relieved, and fevers need to be reduced, etc. That is why seeing your veterinarian is vital. They may be able to diagnose the underlying cause and provide the proper treatment to get your cat’s shivering under control.

In some instances of nervous system disorders, surgery may be necessary to reduce shivering, or medications that reduce muscle movements may be needed.

Is Shivering the Same as Tremors?

A black and light brown cat lying on a cushion looking at something in front of them. The cat looks a little timid or scared.

Tremors are defined as involuntary, rhythmic muscle contractions causing shaking movements in one or more parts of the body. Sounds pretty similar to shivering, right? Tremors and shivering are terms often used interchangeably. However, tremors more commonly refer to a symptom associated with a neurological issue, like a brain injury or a congenital deformity. 


Don’t brush off any shivering in your cat. The reason behind it may require veterinary attention or, at the least, some environmental changes. It’s also important to note any other symptoms or abnormalities in your kitty that might go along with or explain their shivering, such as decreased appetite, cough, or leg weakness.

Why Is My Cat Panting? Are They Okay?

A white and black kitten looking at the camera with its mouth open and tongue sticking out.

While panting is usually a behavior associated with dogs, it can also be normal for a cat to pant. I say “can” be normal because in certain instances, such as when they’re hot, stressed, or anxious, a cat will pant. 

However, panting in a cat can also indicate that something is wrong. In order to know when your kitty needs help and when they just need a little cooldown time, it’s essential to understand what causes panting.  So let’s look at some of the reason why your cat might be panting.

What is Panting in Cats?

If you’ve ever been around dogs, you’re probably more than well aware of what panting is. It is that open-mouthed, tongue hanging out, faster-than-normal breathing that dogs use to cool down. They also may pant if nervous, stressed, or excited.

On the other hand, cats don’t use panting as a cooling mechanism as frequently as dogs, usually because they prefer not to get hot in the first place. 

When a cat pants, they too will breathe open-mouthed with their tongue hanging out. Their breathing will be faster, and you will probably notice their belly and chest rising and falling with each breath. You will usually recognize the inciting cause: they are hot, they were just running, or they are going on a stressful car ride, etc.

What is not normal for panting in cats is if they appear distressed or are having trouble breathing. Any wheezing or loud noise associated with inhaling or exhaling air is a cause for concern. If you can’t determine a reason for their panting or if they have to forcibly move air in or out of their lungs, your cat needs to see a veterinarian.

Normal Reasons That a Cat May Pant

A close-up of a yellow and white stripped cat with its mouth open and tongue sticking out.

As we kind of hit on before, cats need more of a reason to pant than their canine counterparts do. They might simply need a little downtime to recuperate, or they could have a condition where a veterinary visit is imminent. 

1. Overheating

Cats lack sufficient sweat glands to cool their bodies, so they have to rely on the prevention of overheating or panting to cool off. Most cats will opt to take preventative measures, such as not being active when it’s hot by finding a shady, cool spot to hole up in until it’s cooler, rather than use panting to cool off. 

However, there are times when cats, especially the active ones, will get themselves a little too warm and need to pant to cool off. If your kitty is panting due to heat, help them find a cool spot and let them relax until they’ve reached a more comfortable temperature.

2. Exertion

For those wild, off-the-wall type cats, exertion can be a cause for panting. Also, outdoor hunters may work themselves to the point of panting. Again, helping them find a cool, calm spot to wind down will typically put an end to their panting.

3. Stress/Anxiety

If your kitty doesn’t enjoy the infrequent car ride or hates to share their space with visitors, panting can be in response to stress or anxiety. Along with panting, they may also be extra vocal, skittish and jumpy, or even growl and hiss when handled. 

Giving your kitty a familiar spot, putting an end to the stressful activity, and letting them collect themselves should stop their panting.

When is Panting in Cats is a Concern?

A close-up of the face of a grey cat with black stripes and some white batches closing its eyes while lying down. Its head is resting on a white cushion.

Anytime a cat’s panting can be linked to other symptoms, such as a fever or difficulty breathing, is a reason for concern. You should also be worried if you can’t find an inciting cause, like the temperature or the fact that they just ran for 40 minutes straight. Certain health conditions can cause panting and should be looked at by a veterinarian.

1. Heart Disease

When a cat’s heart isn’t pumping blood efficiently, oxygen doesn’t get delivered to the tissues sufficiently, causing a cat to pant simply as a way to try to increase their oxygen intake. Heart disease may also cause lethargy, coughing, and exercise intolerance.

2. Respiratory Disease

Along the same lines as above, any condition affecting the lungs can inhibit the amount of oxygen that a kitty takes in, making panting a last resort to up their oxygen levels. 

Respiratory diseases can also come with coughing, sneezing, noisy breathing, fevers, and lethargy. Kitties having difficulty breathing may also stand with their elbows pointing out or stretch out their body as a way of expanding their chest to allow more air in.

3. Pain

Pain can be caused by several health conditions, including injuries and illness. A cat in pain may pant as a stress response due to the release of cortisone. Cats in pain may also cry out, be irritated, have a limp, or an obvious wound that could be causing it.

4. Fever

Fevers due to illness can have a kitty panting as the body’s way of trying to cool itself down. While some fevers show up without any accompanying symptoms, most of the time, a cat will give off some other clues as well. Lethargy, coughing, vomiting, diarrhea, or watery eyes and a runny nose may be other signs of illness.

Should My Cat See a Vet For Panting?

A close-up of a yellow cat with brownish stripes closing its eyes and lying down. A man's hand is holding the cat's head, while the other hand is holding a stethoscope on the cats torso.

Most cat parents will rarely catch a glimpse of their cat panting, and most of the time, that panting will subside with a little rest. 

However, if your kitty’s panting isn’t getting better with a little relaxation or if your kitty seems distressed by it, see your veterinarian. 

Also, if you have never seen your cat panting before, and now they just can’t seem to stop, you need to see your veterinarian. If there are any other accompanying signs or you just can’t put your finger on a reason for their panting, see a veterinarian.

Your vet will examine your kitty, check their temperature, listen to their heart and lungs, and possibly do some blood work and x-rays to find out what’s behind it all. 

Panting in cats can be a normal behavior. While it’s not as common as panting in dogs, it is one of their ways of cooling off and showing stress or anxiety. However, panting can also mean that something more serious is wrong and needs to be looked at. When in doubt about your cat panting, ask your veterinarian.

Why Does My Cat Lick and Then Bite Me?

A grey, brown cat with some white patches is lying down on a black and white blanket, holding someone's hand with its paws and biting their finger.

Biting is usually seen as a form of aggression in cats, but what if they were licking you first? Why in the world would a cat lick you first only to bite you a few seconds later?  

When a cat licks and then bites you, it can be for several reasons, including showing you affection, telling you they’re done with this interaction, or trying to spark a playful exchange. To know where this licking and biting is coming from, you’ll need to look at some other clues as well.

1. Licking and Biting as a Sign of Affection

A black cat lying on a blue sheet with white dots (possibly a chair or sofa cover) biting the finger of a woman.

You’re undoubtedly aware that when cats groom themselves, their tongue is the main tool used to smooth and clean their hair. Long, luxurious licks are often coupled with quick bites or nibbles to remove dirt, seeds, or mats. 

Cats are social creatures. In the wild, they will often live in clans where multiple cats share in the hunting, sheltering, and even the grooming duties. When cats groom other cats, they will also lick and then bite in order to get their haircoat in peak condition.

Your housecat considers you part of their clan. They will groom you just as they would any other furry member. So, while you’re busy petting and loving on them, they may try to return the favor by grooming you-often with a lick and then a bite or nibble. These types of bites aren’t hard and don’t break the skin. You won’t find any other signs of aggression, such as growling, hissing, or tail switching. They will most likely be calm, have their eyes half-closed, and continue to lick you after the bite. 

You usually don’t have to do anything to correct this behavior. But if you aren’t a huge fan, you can try ignoring your cat to let them know you didn’t appreciate their love bite.

2. Licking and Biting as a Form of Play

A close-up of a grey and tan cat with patches of white and black stripes is seen biting the hand of someone.

When you’re right in the middle of an epic petting session, your kitty may see this as an opportunity to turn that attention to something a little more rambunctious. Sort of a “while I have you here” action.

This type of biting isn’t usually hard; just enough to get your attention. They may also curl up and play-kick you with their hind legs, or immediately jump up and dart around as if in pursuit of something. This will be more common in younger kitties that are prone to playing anyway.

Again, no aggression here. Although, they may stand back and twitch their tail as they prepare to pounce on you for the next round of play. If this isn’t what you had in mind, simply ignore the behavior and move onto something else. Don’t punish your kitty for play-biting, and don’t continue to play with them until they’re ready to play nice. Make sure you use a toy as a middleman so that your cat won’t abuse your fingers or hands.

3. Licking and Biting to Tell You They’re Done

A light brownish cat with some patches of white and black stripes is behind a cushion, grabbing on to someone's outstretched hand with its paws. The cat's mouth is open, seemingly to bite the person's finger.

Even the greatest and most relaxed petting sessions can’t go on forever. While we are usually the ones to end these fluffy lovefests, sometimes your cat may decide that enough is enough. They may start by licking you as a way of saying thank you for the attention and then bite you to signal the end of the interaction.   

Often, a cat will get up and leave after they bite you if this is the message they are trying to convey. However, if you happen to be sitting in their favorite napping spot, they may prefer that you leave instead. This might bring out a little aggression with some soft hissing or growling or even some claw-less batting until you get the idea and leave. 

With this type of behavior, ending the interaction is exactly what they want. Walking away and ignoring their behavior may not be the best way to let them know you don’t appreciate them biting you. 

Instead, you’ll want to end it on your terms. Try to watch their body language and stop petting them before they bite. They may get tense, pin their ears against their head, or start to squirm around a little before biting you. You can then stop petting them and even set them down on the floor or move them away from you so that they understand that this was your idea and that they don’t need to bite you. 

Are Cat Licks and Bites Unhealthy?

A small grey kitten with black stripes and some light brown matches is licking the fingers of someone (close-up shot).

Cat’s mouths aren’t the most sanitary places to hang out, but a few harmless licks or nibbles on your skin isn’t going to cause much of an issue unless you have open wounds. However, it’s never a bad idea to wash your hands and arms after petting or playing with your cat. This helps to remove excess germs and dander that may cause your allergies to act up.

Most bites after licking that you receive from your cat aren’t going to break the skin. They probably won’t even leave an indentation. If that’s the case, you’re good to go. If a bite does break the skin, it’s best to wash thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the chance of infection. 

Cat bites can commonly cause abscesses, and a more severe condition caused cellulitis if left untreated.

Cats have many behaviors that we often view as strange, with licking and then biting us topping most of our lists. However, it can be completely natural for cats within their cat community (of which you are part). Most of the time, take your cat’s licking and biting as a sign of affection and acceptance. Just be sure you can tell the difference between being playful and when they mean more serious business. 

How Long Do Cats Live?

A grey cat with black stripes sitting on a woman's lap. The woman is putting her arms around the cat. Someone's (male) arm can also be seen sitting next to the woman.

In a purrrfect world, our feline friends would live forever. However, most kitties only live between 12-18 years.

Of course, there will be a difference between the longevity of strictly indoor cats and those that venture outside. In addition to their lifestyle, other variables will influence lifespan as well. Let’s dive into how long cats live and some ways that you can keep them around just a bit longer.

What Factors Affect a Cat’s Lifespan?

A grey cat with black stripes seated on a white chair. There are 2 other white chairs around a white table with no one sitting in them. On the table is a cup of orange juice, a plate with a stack of pancakes in front of the cat, and a white vase with pink and white flowers in it.

To give your cat the longest life possible, you need to understand what influences their lifespan: 

1. Inside or Outside Cat

Probably the most significant factor affecting longevity in cats is whether they go outside. Going outside not only leaves the comfort of the indoors behind, but it also leaves the safety and security of it. The outside world is a dog-eat-dog (or cat?!) world with many dangers to our domestic kitties. There’s the threat of cars, predators, and diseases that can cut some outdoor cats’ lives short.

2. Nutrition

A good diet sets a cat up for good health and increased longevity. Since cats are obligate carnivores, meaning they need a lot of meat, the cat food you choose should reflect that.

Choosing a product that is “high protein” isn’t good enough. You need to choose a high-quality protein as well. Look for cat foods made with whole meats and fewer fillers. It should be easily digestible and will have some added benefits like omega fatty acids and antioxidants to help up a cat’s lifespan.

3. Health

While proper nutrition goes a long way in keeping a cat healthy, preventing diseases, parasites, and other health issues should be considered as well. Regular checkups with a vet, along with proper vaccinations and preventative medications, can help your kitty live a longer life. Maintaining a proper weight through diet and exercise is also extremely important. It’s hard to admit, but most of our indoor kitties are overweight, leading to things like joint issues and diabetes.

4. Intact vs. Sterilized

There’s more to having your cat spayed or neutered than just whether you want kittens or not. Cats that are sterilized tend to live longer.

The reason behind this is they don’t have that drive to roam around looking for a mate.  This usually means they are more likely to at home, which provides them with safety.

Many diseases, such as certain types of cancer and uterine infections, go along with holding onto those reproductive parts that can lead to an earlier death.

How to Help Your Cat Live a Longer Life

A white cat with black stripes and beige patches is lying down on a wooden bench sleeping. The hand of a woman can be seen stroking the cat on it's head.

The lifespan of cats is based on two main factors: genetics and environment. While you really can’t change your cat’s genetic makeup, you can influence their environment to get as much time with them as possible.

1. Keep Your Cat Indoors

First and foremost, if you want your cat to live longer, keep them indoors. Don’t subject them to the dangers that come with being outside. If they still desire a little fresh air, consider an enclosed cat porch or supervised time out only.

2. Regular Visits to Your Veterinarian

Seek regular veterinary care; this includes staying up-to-date on vaccinations and having your kitty spayed or neutered. Your veterinarian is there to answer any questions you may have on nutrition, exercise, disease symptoms, and prevention. And believe me, they would rather help you prevent a health condition than treat it later on.

3. High-Quality Diet

Provide your cat with a high-quality diet based on whole foods that give them the protein they need without the extra fillers and stuff they don’t need. Again, your veterinarian is an excellent source of recommendations for this.

4. Fresh Water and Exercise

Always have fresh water available and give your kitty plenty of exercise. If you just rolled your eyes at the thought of taking your cat for a walk, hold it right there. Cats can get plenty of exercise through play, especially if it’s with you. Look into interactive toys that get your cat up and moving, or find them a furry friend that doubles as a workout buddy/playmate.

5. Love

Finally, if you want to help your cat live longer, love them. Kitties are social animals, and they thrive better when they’re part of a clan. Give them attention every day, include them in family activities, and let them know that they matter to you.

Do Some Cat Breeds Live Longer Than Others?

A collage of different species of cat's faces. (5x5 = 25 cats).

There are some breeds of cats that live longer than others, on average. This is partly due to their genetic makeup, making them more or less prone to certain types of diseases.

Specific Breeds That Tend to Live Longer:

  • Siamese
  • Burmese
  • Ragdoll cats

All of these breeds commonly make it into their late teens, if not 20s. Russian Blues and Savannah Cats also have lengthier lifespans.

In general, mixed breeds tend to live longer than purebred kitties due to “hybrid vigor.” Purebred cats are purebred because they come from a very limited genetic line. There are rarely new genes introduced.

This means if some of those genes lead to a higher propensity for cancer, all offspring will be at a higher risk. Mixed breed cats are getting new genes mixed in all the time, helping to dilute out those bad genes that can decrease a cat’s lifespan.

So, while the above breeds tend to live longer, that doesn’t mean that a Heinz 57 cat that you pick up at the shelter won’t experience a life just as long if not longer.


No kitty is born with their lifespan mapped out. Many factors can influence how long they will live, most of which can be affected by you. If you want your cat to live longer than the average, take good care of them, frequent your veterinarian, and give them the attention they deserve.

How Often Do Cats Pee?

A black and white cat on a white toilet looking over to it's right.

When it comes to their litter box business, cats try to be fairly private. Most of the time, we cat parents don’t mind, but sometimes knowing how often your cat pees, the color, odor, or consistency can help us tell if our feline friend is sick or dehydrated. So, what’s normal when it comes to cat pee, and what’s not? Let’s find out.

Is My Cat’s Pee Normal?

A big yellow cat with white patches pointing it's butt to some green pushes and peeing.

Most kitties pee between two and four times a day. With that being said, for some cats, it’s normal to pee more or less often than that. 

The frequency of urination can be affected daily by water intake, whether it’s hot or humid, how active your cat is, and what they have eaten. 

What’s more important than the number of times your cat pees per day is noticing any different trends. Maybe your kitty is usually a five-a-day urinator but has only gone once a day for three straight days. Or maybe they go just a couple of times but flood the litter box with each visit. Noticing sudden changes in your cat’s urination habit will help you know if something could be wrong.

Peeing more than normal, coupled with increased water intake, can indicate kidney diseasediabetes mellitus, or a urinary tract infection. Peeing less than usual is a sign of dehydration or a urinary blockage. All of these issues should be addressed by your veterinarian.

What Color Should My Cat’s Urine Be?

Someone's right hand wearing a white glove holding a test tube of urine.

You may hear the term “straw-colored” to describe the normal color of cat pee. That just means a light yellow color. Some cats may even have urine that’s more clear but is still considered normal. What you don’t want to see is cloudy urine with ‘floaters’ in it. 

Cloudiness or debris in urine is often white blood cells or bladder epithelial cells. Both can signal issues such as a urinary tract infection or a bladder tumor. Other changes in the color, whether darker or lighter, can also indicate that something is wrong, and of course, pink or blood-tinged urine definitely warrants a trip to the vet.

Should Cat Urine Have an Odor?

A young woman wearing a grey top holding her nose with her right hand to indicate something smells unpleasant.

If your kitty is spayed or neutered, their urine shouldn’t pack too much of an odorous punch. However, if you waited a bit too long to get your male kitty fixed, they may have developed that telltale tomcat, testosterone-fueled ammonia odor that will drive you out of the house. 

Urinary tract infections can also lead to a foul odor in your cat’s urine and possibly some discoloration. Let’s not forget that neglecting the litter box cleaning for even one day in a multi-cat household can also create unwanted and unpleasant odors.

Why Is My Cat Peeing Outside of the Litter Box?

A grey and black kitten with white patching looking down at the floor with a white and green enclosed litter box behind it.

Even though most of the time, using a litter box comes as second nature to a cat, there are times where you may find accidents outside of those four walls. Not using the litter box can happen for several reasons, including:

1. Not Cleaning the Litter Box Frequently Enough

Kitties like a clean space, so much so that even one dirty clump will have some kitties searching elsewhere to do their business. Clean your litter box at least daily, especially if you have multiple cats. You can also increase the number of litter boxes in your household or get a self-cleaning one if this frequency is a problem.

2. They Don’t Like the Litter

Some cats can be picky about the litter in their box. They may not like the texture, fragrance, or the way it sticks between their toes. Unfortunately, some cats decide that the living room rug is a better place to do their business.

3. They Can’t Get Into the Box

If your kitty is getting older or has some medical issues that impede their mobility, getting into a high-sided or top entry litter box can be hard to do. Some kitties might have the ability but lack the desire to enter one of those harder-to-get into litter boxes. For these kitties, choosing a litter box with a lower entryway or a more open design may help.

4. Other Medical Issues

Besides mobility issues, other things like urinary tract infections, kidney disease, or diabetes could have your kitty peeing outside the litter box. This is often because they are drinking and urinating more, and sometimes, they have to go…now! They just can’t make it to their litter box. 

Sometimes, as with urinary tract infection or blockages, it’s painful to pee, and they associate that pain with the litter box. Their fix for this is to avoid the litter box to prevent the pain.

Anytime your kitty isn’t using their litter box properly, see your veterinarian. They will be able to rule out medical issues and recommend products that may help your kitty love their litter box again.


How often your kitty pees and what that pee looks like can tell a lot about their health. If, as a cat parent, you’ve come to take your feline friend’s potty breaks for granted, it’s time to get nosy. Understanding what’s normal urination for your cat will help you to determine when something is abnormal. It can also help you and your vet quickly get a handle on an issue before it becomes a more serious problem.

When Do Cats Stop Growing?

One adult grey cat sitting next to small grey kitten. Both are looking at something in the distance


When Does a Kitten Become a Cat?

The day you bring home your cute little mischievous kitten is one of the most exciting days of a new kitten owner. Holding her in your hand might make you wonder how a creature so small could have such a big attitude. You might even wonder when she will grow into this big personality she already shows off.

Kittens grow rapidly into full-size cats; it often seems to be right before your eyes! It is good to know what to expect as your kitten grows up to ensure you are providing the best nutrients and environment for their health and safety.

When Do Cats Stop Growing?Small yellow kitten climbing out of a blue basket. The kitten's mother is in the background watching.

As your kitten grows up, you might wonder when they will stop growing.   At what point is a kitten considered an adult cat?

The answer varies based on several different factors, including what breed or sex of cat you have. In general, a cat is considered an adult by around 12 to 15 months of age. They will have some filling out to do at this point, but typically at a much slower pace than their first year of life. On average, a full-grown cat can be expected to weigh about 10 pounds but can range anywhere from 8 to 18 pounds.


Cat Growth Cycle

1 to 6 monthsTwo newborn kittens in the palms of 2 people's hands

  • Newborn kittens are born with both their eyes and ears closed. They start opening around 1 to 2 weeks of age. By 2 weeks old, their deciduous (baby) teeth start to erupt.
  • Kittens are raised with their mother until about 8 weeks of age, which is when they can be weaned.
  • Until about 6 months of age, a general rule for a healthy kitten is they will grow about 1 pound per month. A 1-month-old kitten will weigh about 1 pound; a 2-month-old kitten will weigh about 2 pounds, and so on until about 6 months of age.
  •  A kitten’s baby teeth will be replaced by adult teeth once it is around 3 or 4 months old and continue until 6 months of age.
  • Kittens up to about 6 months old are equivalent to human babies and toddlers.


6 to 12 monthsCute fluffy grey cat with bluish greenish eyes looking at the camera

  • Kittens reach sexual maturity during this juvenile period. It is often around this age that your veterinarian might recommend having your female cat spayed or your male cat neutered.
  • By this age, a kitten will have their adult teeth.
  • A kitten from 6 to 12 months is considered similar to a human preteen and teenager.


1 to 2 years

Yellow brownish cat with black stripes lying down looking at something in the distance

  • Once a cat is a year old, they are considered full-grown and comparable to a young adult human.
  • It is from year 1 to 2 that they mature into a fully developed and mature cat.


How Big Will My Cat Get?Huge white and brown/yellowish cat licking its nose

The average cat will weigh right around 10 pounds. The size and weight of your adult cat will vary based on several factors like breed, sex, and diet.


Breed differences

The International Cat Association (TICA) recognizes 71 different types of registered purebred cat breeds. This doesn’t even include all the varieties of mixed breeds commonly referred to as domestic short, medium, or long-haired cats.

While cats don’t genetically differ much from their ancestors, different breeds can have drastically different looks. From the hairless Sphynx to the large fluffy Maine Coon, there are many various colors, hair lengths, and sizes of cats.


Small Cat Breeds

  • Singapura cats are one of the smallest breeds that you can find. They typically don’t weigh more than about 5 pounds full-grown.
  • According to Purina, a few other small cat breeds include the Munchkin, American Curl, Cornish Rex, Devon Rex, and Siamese. As adults, these cats tend to weigh between 5 and 10 pounds.


Large Cat Breeds

  • Purina also lists some of the largest cat breeds.
  • Maine Coon cats have long been known to take the record, literally the Guinness World Record, for being the largest domestic cat breed. On average, a Maine Coon can weigh between 15-25 pounds!
  • Some other large cat breeds include the Persian, Savannah Cat, Norwegian Forest Cat, Birman, Ragdoll, Ragamuffin, and Chausie.


Male Versus Female

Like many species, males tend to be larger than their female counterparts. There is no specific range or exact difference, but they tend to have a larger muscle mass and stand taller and longer than females.


Spayed or Neutered Versus Intact

Cats that have been fixed (spayed or neutered) are not necessarily bigger but tend to gain more weight and are more prone to obesity than their intact feline friends.  This is because sex hormones help keep a cat’s metabolism in check. Once a cat is spayed or neutered, those hormones go away, and often the cat leads a more sedentary lifestyle and thus is prone to weight gain.


What Is a Healthy Size or Weight for My Cat?Vet putting a tan-ish black Siamese cat on a scale to check its weight

As mentioned above, several factors lead to a cat’s adult weight. It is important to take your cat for yearly veterinary checkups to make sure they are at a healthy weight for their age and breed.


Body Condition Score

Most veterinarians will use the body condition score to determine if your cat is underweight, at an ideal weight, or overweight. The World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA) has a standard chart that you can also use at home.

Ideally, you should be able to feel your cat’s ribs as you run your hands down their sides. You don’t want to see the ribs or hip bones sticking out. On the other hand, you don’t want to feel a lot of fat covering their ribs or have a big belly hanging down when they walk.


Health Conditions

Certain health conditions can cause or predispose cats to weight loss or weight gain. Cats losing weight might have gastrointestinal disease, hyperthyroidism, kidney disease, dental disease, or cancer. Cats that are obese are often predisposed to diabetes. It is essential to talk to your veterinarian if you are worried about your cat’s weight.


What Is the Best Food to Give a Growing Cat?

The best way to know how much food to feed your cat at any life stage is to talk to your veterinarian.  Feeding your cat according to the guidelines listed on their food bag is a good place to start. You can adjust this based on whether they need to gain or lose weight.

Most veterinarians will recommend that you feed your cat meals as opposed to free-feeding or leaving the food out all day. This will make it easier to measure the amount of food your cat is eating and to monitor how much they are eating. It is also easier to track weight loss and weight gain this way.

Typically, the best cat foods are from well-known brands rather than boutique brands.


Newborn kittens should nurse from their mother or be fed kitten milk replacer until their teeth come in, and they start eating wet or canned food, which is typically around 3-4 weeks From 4 weeks to about 6 weeks, kittens can transition to eating dry kitten food. A kitten should be fed dry kitten food or a mixture of wet and dry kitten food until a year of age.


Adult Cats

Once a cat is a year of age, they can eat regular adult cat food.


Senior Cats

When your adult cat grows into their senior years around 10 years of age, they should be transitioned to a senior-specific cat diet.

Cornell University has some great resources for feeding your cat and healthy weights.

As mentioned above, many interesting factors determine how big your little kitten will grow up to be. When you adopt a kitten, there usually isn’t much information about their history, so it can be hard to predict. The most important thing is to enjoy seeing your kitten’s personality blossom as they grow into adult cats.