Does My Cat Have a Fever?

Have you noticed your cat feeling lethargic and breathing rapidly? It could be a sign of fever. While fever is a symptom of an underlying illness and a way for the body to fight off infections, too high a temperature can be dangerous.

Your cat’s normal temperature should be between 100.4º F to 102.5º F. If your cat has a higher temperature, immediately take it to the vet.

This article will help you identify the signs of fever and understand how to better care for your cat.

What Signs Should I Look Out For?

Certain diseases lead to fever in cats to kill bacteria and viruses. However, it is difficult to tell whether your cat has a fever by just trying to feel its body temperature. To accurately tell if your cat is suffering from a fever, you must look check your cat’s temperature and look for the following signs:

  • Low appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Low water consumption
  • Hiding
  • Stops self-grooming
  • Rapid breathing
  • Vomit and diarrhea
  • Sleeping more than usual

If your cat exhibits any of these symptoms, check its temperature. Any temperature higher than 102.5º F signals a fever. Your cat may also suffer organ failure if the temperature increases to 106º F. Immediately seek a veterinarian’s help.

Below are some tips to help you take your cat’s temperature.

How to Take Your Cat’s Temperature?

Taking your pet’s temperature is the most accurate way to determine whether it has a fever. You can start by getting a glass or digital rectal thermometer from the pharmacy. To take the reading, you will have to insert the thermometer into your cat’s rectum.

If it is a glass thermometer, you will have to hold it in for 2 minutes. A digital thermometer will make a beeping sound when it’s time to take it out.

Clean the thermometer using alcohol and a paper towel after you’re done.

If you have never done this before, the tips below will help you in this process:

  • Use a lubricant, like petroleum jelly, to easily slide the thermometer into your cat’s rectum.
  • Ask someone to help keep your cat in place or firmly but gently hold the feline in your arms while putting the thermometer inside.
  • Go slow. Once your feline’s muscles have relaxed, push the thermometer in but don’t force it in.
  • Keep a cat treat handy with you to give to your cat afterward.

Remember that your cat’s safety is a priority. If you are hesitant or do not feel comfortable doing it yourself, seek professional help from a vet.

What are the Causes of Fever?

If your feline has a high temperature, this could be due to several underlying health issues, including infections, liver disease, or gastrointestinal problems. Excitement, anxiety, or pain could also result in a fever. A proper diagnosis can only be done by a professional veterinarian, but we have shared a list of the most common causes of fever in cats below:

  • Bacterial Infections
  • Viruses in the upper respiratory tract
  • Severe dental infection
  • Inflammation
  • Injury
  • Tumor/cancer
  • Certain medicines
  • Lupus
  • Idiopathic – This is when there is no apparent reason behind the fever, also known as a fever of unknown origin.

A fever of unknown origin requires further examination to determine the actual health problem. It can be done via various tests that your vet deems necessary, including:

  • Blood test for Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV)
  • Complete blood count for infection or inflammation
  • Biochemistry panel for abnormal organ function
  • Urinalysis for urinary tract infection
  • Ultrasound of the abdomen
  • X-ray for pain, pneumonia, or bowel blockage

What Should You Do When Your Cat Has A Fever?

Observing your cat for 24 hours and checking the temperature at least twice a day are the most important steps you can take if your cat is running a fever. If the temperature lies between 104º F and 106º F and hasn’t faded after 24 hours, immediately take your feline to the vet.

Treatment depends on the diagnosis, ranging from an antibiotic prescription to IV fluids. Refrain from giving antibiotic medicines to your cat without consulting your vet first, especially Acetaminophen, which is toxic.

Keep providing care to your cat at home by ensuring proper food and water intake. You can prevent most of the underlying diseases by maintaining cleanliness. When your cat’s surroundings are clean, it is less likely to catch infections. You should also keep your cat away from affected animals to block the transfer of contagious viruses. Most of the causes of fever in cats can be avoided through these cautionary acts at home. However, you should consult a vet if you are worried about your pet’s well-being.

Emma Ken
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