If you feel like your feline friend is under the weather, you might wonder: “Does my cat have a fever?” As a cat parent, it helps to be aware of certain things such as how to tell if your cat has a fever as well as what you can do in such situations. Below are some tips.
This article was reviewed by our expert veterinarian, Chris Vanderhoof (DMV).
Signs Your Cat Has a Fever
Similar to us humans, cats also exhibit signs such as lethargy, lack of appetite, weakness, dehydration, chills, and warm ears when they have a fever. Depending on the underlying cause of your cat’s fever, they may experience an increased heart rate and respiratory rate, among other cat fever symptoms.
To confirm whether or not your cat has a fever, taking their temperature is the best way to find out. Normally, a cat’s body temperature ranges from 99.5 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. If it exceeds the temperature range, this signifies a fever.
How To Tell If A Cat Has A Fever?
A rectal or digital thermometer is best when it comes to taking your cat’s temperature. Typically, it requires two people: One to hold the cat while the other inserts the thermometer. Remember to use petroleum jelly on the thermometer to provide lubrication and leave it for not less than 2 minutes in order to get accurate results.
If using a rectal thermometer, remember not to stick it too far so as not to hurt your cat. This is because the rectal tissue is quite sensitive and can get damaged if probed. Do note that it is never safe to use a mercury thermometer when taking your cat’s temperature. If a mercury thermometer breaks, this can risk your cat’s health and can be life-threatening as well.
While using a rectal thermometer on your cat may not be comfortable, it is the best way to find out if your cat has a fever. If you are worried, you can contact your vet to have your cat’s temperature taken.
Bringing your cat’s vaccination record may also help your vet know which illnesses your cat may not be protected from yet and help them in finding out the underlying cause of the fever.
Read more: How Often Should You Take a Cat to a Vet?
Causes of Fever in Cats
After confirming that your cat has a fever, your vet may recommend further testing to find out the cause, depending on the situation. Showing records and knowing the history of your cat’s health and well-being will be beneficial in finding out the cause as well as determining what treatment is best.
Like with us humans, there are several possible reasons why a cat may have a fever. However, the usual culprit is a viral or bacterial infection. Other possible causes include: exposure to toxins, inflammatory or immune system issues, a disease or disorder, or a tumor, among other illnesses in cats.
What To Do If Your Cat Has a Fever
When it comes to cat fever, it is important to make sure that your cat gets enough hydration and rest. Common treatments may include antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medication, but remember to consult with your veterinarian first before giving any medication to make sure that it is safe for your cat.
Giving your cat medication can be a challenge, but it might be necessary for treating your cat’s fever. You may try hiding the pill in your cat’s food, but if you’re having a hard time, read our article on how to give your cat a pill.
If you have to leave the home or go to work, you can always take a sneak-peak into what your cat is doing while you are away with Petcube's interactive cat camera. This way you can also know if your furry companion actually ate that morning pill you gave them during breakfast!
Online Vet by Petcube
As a cat parent, it’s worrying whenever we see our cat is weak and not their usual selves. Having said this, being able to talk to a professional throughout the process would be of great help. Thankfully, there are already online vet services that address this need.
A good example is Petcube’s Online Vet which offers a 24/7 online veterinarian chat service. With the service, you get to consult with licensed vets from asking about fever symptoms to determining how to best treat your cat’s fever, among many other things.
And you can do so anywhere you may be and at any time, even if it’s in the wee hours of the morning. That way, you get to have peace of mind while taking good care of your pet’s health and wellbeing.
How to tell if a cat has a fever without a thermometer?
The symptoms of cat fever are typically the same as when humans have a fever. If your cat exhibits the symptoms mentioned above but you don't have a thermometer and are worried, it's best to consult with a veterinarian to determine the cause and provide your cat with treatment if needed.
How to tell if a kitten has fever?
Signs to look out for that may indicate that your kitten has a fever include: a loss of appetite, lethargy, withdrawal, sneezing, runny nose, pale gums, weakness, and diarrhea/vomiting. Kittens are usually playful so you’ll know if something’s amiss if their behavior suddenly changes.
If you suspect that your kitten has a fever, contact your vet immediately to avoid complications, especially because kittens have weaker immune systems since they aren’t fully developed yet.