What is a cat’s normal temperature? How to detect fever?

Cat - Getty Images
Cat – Getty Images

In addition to a large number of symptoms, which vary depending on the cause, the cat may present with a high fever when sick. It is in any case a good indicator to communicate with the veterinarian during the necessary consultation. But to be sure that he has a fever, you still need to know what the cat’s body temperature is at normal times. The best way to get a reliable reading is to use a thermometer. What is the procedure for taking a cat’s temperature without stress?

Body temperature in cats

Between 38 and 39°C, the cat’s temperature is normal. However, it can be a little below or significantly above the norm without causing concern.

For example, when the cat sleeps in a very cool place, its temperature can drop to 37.8 or 37.9°C. On the contrary, if he has just exerted himself or if he is in an extremely hot environment, during a heat wave, for example, it is not uncommon to see a rise in a cat’s body temperature. Stress can also cause it to rise to 39.3°C.

cat is considered to have a fever when its body temperature reaches or exceeds 39°C and it shows certain unusual signs. To be sure, it is anyway necessary to reliably detect the fever.

Taking your cat’s temperature: which thermometer to choose?

To find out if a cat has a fever, the best solution is to use a rectal thermometer for cats, generally sold between 8 and 15 €. It is better to have an electronic model with a soft tip because:

  • The temperature is taken in a minimum of time (about twenty seconds at most),
  • The risk of injuring the cat is greatly reduced compared to a hard-tipped thermometer.

Some people prefer to use an ear thermometer or a forehead model, but the data is not as reliable.

How to take your cat’s temperature?

Even if you have a patient, calm and non-aggressive cat, it is better to be two to detect its fever with a rectal thermometer. Here is the procedure to follow :

  • First of all, disinfect the tip of the thermometer then coat it with petroleum jelly.
  • The first person stands in front of the cat and holds it firmly while talking to it to reassure it.
  • The second person stands behind the animal.
  • Slightly lift the cat’s tail,
  • Gently insert the tip of the thermometer into the cat’s anus and then remove it:
    • Either after one minute if it is a non-electronic thermometer,
    • Either after a beep in the case of an electronic thermometer, generally within a few seconds of its installation.
  • Pet the cat to praise it and give it a specific treat or two.
  • Finally, disinfect the tip of the thermometer and store the device in its case.
  • Note the cat’s temperature in order to communicate it to the veterinarian.

Not all cats let it go and make it impossible to take their temperature. In these specific cases, there is no need to risk being scratched or bitten! It is better to place the kitty in its transport basket and take it to a veterinary clinic or to the specialist’s office. The animal’s temperature will be taken on-site.

In any case, it is not recommended to take it more than twice a day because this risks upsetting the animal to the highest point and raising its fever even further. In addition, he will never let himself be done again.

What about fever in kittens?

The normal temperature for a kitten is also on average 38.5°C. The method is the same for detecting fever in a kitten, but it is often easier because the little hairball does not fight back as violently as an adult cat can.

However, it is necessary to be extra careful when it is higher than the norm in a very young kitten who is still very fragile. Ditto if its temperature is insufficient and in this case, we try to warm it with a hot water bottle. But whether he has too much fever (hyperthermia) or not enough (hypothermia), the baby cat must be taken to the vet urgently.

Fever in cats and symptoms to watch out for

sick cat may have a fever , but in many cases, it also exhibits certain symptoms . It could be :

  • A loss of appetite,
  • Diarrhea,
  • vomiting,
  • rapid weight loss,
  • Abundant urine,
  • difficult urination,
  • From a lethargic state,
  • Difficulty moving,
  • With jerky and rapid breathing,
  • In a bad state of his fur which seems duller than usual with hairs stuck together or soiled,
  • A change in the color of its mucous membranes,
  • Swelling of the mucous membranes,
  • Blood spots in one or both eyes.

Other less common symptoms may also be noted by the animal’s master. At the slightest alert, he must be seen without delay by the veterinarian. In the absence of care, he may still be in worse shape after a few days or even after a few hours if the origin of his discomfort is poisoning. The cat owner has to react really fast.

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