A cat’s body heat is a tempting body warmer for several pet owners, and we bet many cats become easy preys for tight hugs and cuddles because of it. On the other hand, a cat’s temperature serves a more important purpose, which may help their owners in taking better care of them.
The various body temperatures of a cat can tell you whether she is in good physical condition or not. By being able to read her temperature, you can easily determine if your cat has a fever or not.
What does your cat’s temperature tell you?
- 38°C–39°C: Normal Temperature
It is considered as the normal temperature range for felines, which is also clinically known as euthermia or normothermia. Since felines have a warmer body than us, it is ordinary for them to be 1°C higher than the normal human temperature range. Thus, there is no need to worry if your furry friend’s temperature may go above 38°C.A cat having a normal body temperature indicates that her immune system and circulatory system are in good condition. However, it does not exactly mean that the cat is perfectly healthy either. Sometimes, fever is not a part of the first symptoms experienced by a cat during certain illnesses.
- 32°C-35°C: Low Temperature
This temperature range may also mean that the cat is having a mild hypothermia. Hypothermia is caused by prolonged low water or air temperatures, dehydration, or other health issues such as hyperthyroidism. Kittens and old cats are also more susceptible to hypothermia since they quickly lose their body heat.The cat may show signs of shivering, lack of mental awareness, exhaustion, and shortness of breath. If she is experiencing these symptoms, you should immediately warm up your cat to restore her body temperature. You can do this by providing a warm nest of blankets on her bed to keep her well-insulated.Adding a hot water bottle is also a good method to create more warmth, but be sure that it is well-covered to prevent your cat from getting scalded. However, be reminded not to warm up your feline friend too quickly because it can cause harm to her internal organs.
- 31°C and below: Extremely Low Temperature
In this case, severe hypothermia is occurring, which can lead to a catastrophic aftermath. Cats suffering severe hypothermia exhibit faint heartbeat, difficulty in breathing, and dilated and fixed pupils.If a cat suffering severe hypothermia is not given immediate medical attention, she may collapse, fall into a coma, and later on lose her life. On the other hand, severe diseases may also cause a feline’s body temperature to steadily decline.
- 39°C–40°C: Low-Grade Fever
Temperatures that fall under this range indicate that the cat is having a mild fever. The common symptoms she may show include low appetite, rapid heartbeat, shivering, and dehydration.Although fever hinders the ability of bacteria and viruses to proliferate and also enhances the immune systems reaction to foreign invaders, it can harm the feline’s body if it persists. To prevent making the cat’s condition from deteriorating further, you must quickly identify the cause of the fever. The best course of action would be to visit the vet to get precise diagnosis and advice on what to do if your cat has a fever.However, if you do not have time to visit the vet or already found the source of your cat’s fever, you can help cool her temperature down. Avoid using an ice pack or a wet cloth to do it since it will only cause a negative effect. Find a warm, silent, and breezeless room and let your sick cat rest there. Be sure to check her temperature every three hours.
- 40°C and above: High Fever
High fever is usually caused by severe illness, so you must immediately drive your cat to the nearest pet hospital for medical treatment. Sudden high fever in cats is also a symptom of acute poisoning and internal organ failure.
- Kitten and Geriatric Cat’s Temperature
Kittens normally have a higher body temperature compared to adult cats. It can reach up to 39.2°C. On the other hand, old cats have a lower temperature due to their slow metabolism. Their body temperature would range from 37.6°C to 38°C.
How to Take a Cat’s Temperature
Rectal temperature gives accurate measurement. You may use a rectal thermometer in taking a cat’s temperature. You may also opt to use a digital thermometer since it reads temperature faster, thus making the process shorter. Keep a separate thermometer that will be only for the cat’s use.
Measuring a Cat’s Temperature Through Its Rectum
What you need to prepare:
- Lubricant (e.g., Vaseline, K-Y Jelly, etc.)
- Human rectal thermometer
- Timer with second hand
- A friend for assistance
Step 1: Apply lubricant on the thermometer.
By putting lubricant on the thermometer, it makes the application easier and also prevents from causing your cat pain. If you have water-based lubricants at home, you may use it so you will not need to purchase a whole jar of Vaseline just to use on your pet.
Step 2: Ask your friend to hold your cat.
They can hold his body or paws, and make sure that you can access the backside of your sick feline buddy. Use your free hand to gently grasp your cat’s tail and the other to use the thermometer. Be sure that your friend has a good hold on your cat since she might not like what is coming and would attempt to slip out of their grasp.
Step 3: Insert the thermometer in the anal opening of your cat.
Insert it steadily until it reaches a depth of 2.5 cm, and then wait for two minutes. This is the part where digital thermometers come in handy because it is able to read the body temperature within a few seconds.
Step 4: Take out the thermometer and praise your cat.
Needless to say, your cat has gone through an uncomfortable experience; therefore, to compensate for his efforts, end it with a positive note. Rewarding your cat with a treat after taking her temperature will make her tolerate this unpleasant experience much better in the future.
Step 5: Take the reading.
Jot it down on a piece of paper or type it in your phone to make sure that you have something to refer to. This way, you do not need to go through the whole ordeal again in case you forget the reading.
Step 6: Sterilise the thermometer.
Use warm water and disinfectant soap to wash the thermometer and further disinfect it with alcohol. Remember to store it separately. You must also wash your hands and the area of the sink where you have washed the thermometer to prevent the spreading of harmful bacteria found in cat’s faeces.
What are the causes of fever in cats?
There are several causes for a cat to run a fever, and we have compiled the most common ones in a list. This can help pinpoint the reason why your cat is having a high temperature.
- Side Effect of Vaccines
Some cats may experience a low-grade fever within a day or two after vaccination. No need to worry because it is only the side effect of the vaccine. There is no need for treatment since it will go away quickly.
- Bacterial Infections
The different bacterial infections, such as common bacterial infection in the cat’s wounds or intestines, are another cause of her fever. It may result in the weakening of the cat’s immune system and also bring damage to internal organs.
If a cat is poisoned, she would suddenly run a high fever. Drug poisoning and cat leukopenia are some health issues that can cause high fever on the cat, which can reach more than 40°C and then instantly revert back to the normal body temperature.
- Viral Infection
Fever is a common symptom when a cat has a viral infection, specifically upper respiratory tract infection also dubbed as ‘cat cold.’ A feline afflicted with cold will experience a low-grade fever at first, and then later on it will be accompanied by runny nose, sneezing, and soreness of the cornea. If the cold is left untreated, it may cause high fever.
Peritonitis is commonly caused by a bacterial infection from the blood or after the bursting of an abdominal organ, which causes inflammation on the peritoneum. This health issue will cause a mild fever coupled with vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal swelling, and sneezing on your cat.
Fever, diarrhoea, and vomiting can also be signs that your feline friend has parasites. It is crucial to regularly deworm your cat in order to wipe out in vitro and in vivo parasites. If your cat has unexplained fever, bring her to a pet hospital to inspect the plausible presence of parasites.
A Good Way to Check Your Cat’s Health
Through discovering the reasons and causes of your cat’s temperature, you are able to keep tabs on your cat’s physical condition. It can help you pinpoint the causes of your cat’s health issues, which will allow you to quickly seek or administer proper treatment.