Does Your Cat Have A Fever?

Does Your Cat Have A Fever?

Sep 21, 2021
6 min

How do you know if your cat has a fever? Known as pyrexia, cat fever can be defined as a higher than a normal body temperature in felines. The normal body temperature for felines is between 38.1°C to 39.2°C. Cats are considered to have a fever if their body temperature is above 39.7°C, according to VCA Hospitals.


Causes Of A Fever In Cats

According to PetMD, fever in cats usually results when the immune system is activated by conditions such as:


  1. Infection: Bacterial, fungal or viral infections of a milder nature.
  2. Cancer: Tumors tend to affect aging cats more than younger ones.
  3. Injury from trauma
  4. Side effects of certain medications: Antihistamines, certain antibiotics, interferons.
  5. Immune-mediated disorders: Common example is lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that occurs when the body’s immune system becomes hyper-defensive, attacking the normal cells, tissues and organs of its own body.


Signs Of A Fever In Cats

The primary symptom associated with fever in felines is a body temperature above 39.7°C. There are other symptoms that can indicate the presence of a fever, including:


  1. Lethargy
  2. Dehydration
  3. Reluctance to move
  4. Loss of appetite
  5. Pain and tenderness when touched (hyperalgesia)
  6. Shivering
  7. Hunched over appearance
  8. Increased breathing (hyperpnea)


How Can I Tell If My Cat Has A Fever?

The only way to check if your cat has a fever is to take her temperature. A fever in cats occurs when temperatures rise above 39.7°C. Although fevers may be helpful in fighting disease, a fever higher than 41.11°C can damage organs. If your cat does have a fever, bring her to your veterinarian as soon as possible.


Here are the steps to take your cat’s rectal temperature:


  1. Prepare thermometer, KY jelly or other water-based lubricant and towel.
  2. If you are using a mercury thermometer, shake it with a quick flick of the wrist until the mercury is below 94 degrees (34.44°C). Then, lubricate the thermometer with water-based lubricant. A digital thermometer is a good option as well – it typically gives a faster result than a mercury thermometer.
  3. Stand your cat on the counter and hold her securely with your left arm like a football, with her tail towards the front of your body. Wrap her in a towel with her butt end protruding if necessary.
  4. Lift her tail and insert the thermometer slowly and carefully into the rectum, located just below the base of the tail. Be sure to only insert the thermometer about 1 inch (2.54cm) and hold in place for two minutes.
  5. Remove the thermometer and read the result.
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