How To Determine If Your Cat Has A Fever
Finding out that your cat has a fever can be a scary thing, but it's imperative that if your cat has a fever that you recognize the signs and symptoms of one. Unfortunately, many pet parents mistakenly believe that they can detect a cat's fever via a variety of methods that aren't that effective. Here is what does and doesn't work in determining if your cat has a fever, as well as what is considered a fever for cats.
Methods That Don't Work
People often think that the condition of a cat's ears, paws, and nose are a surefire way to determine if a cat has a fever. However, this isn't actually a good way to determine if your cat is feverish.
First of all, the average cat's normal, healthy temperature is higher than that of a human, and typically higher than room temperature, unless you're having a particularly hot day. As a result, touching your cat and comparing to your temperature or the temperature of the room isn't a very helpful metric.
Furthermore, while cats with fevers do sometimes have hot ears, paw pads, or noses, that's not always the case, as fevers can sometimes pull the heat out of the extremities and into your cat's core. As a result, your cat's extremities might actually seem cool to the touch, even if they're burning up.
The Method That Does Work
The only way to know for sure if your cat has a fever is to take their temperature yourself. This can be done with any thermometer that a human would use, and the temperature is taken rectally. If your cat's temperature comes in at above 102.5, that qualifies as a fever. 106 is the threshold for organ damage, and a normal temperature ranges from 100.4 to 102.5.
However, there are other symptoms you can keep an eye out for that may indicate that your cat is feverish. Cats with fevers tend to avoid eating and sometimes drinking, and they also sleep more and lose interest in play or activities.
What To Do If Your Cat Is Feverish
If you confirm that your cat has a fever, you should take them to a veterinarian immediately. A fever most likely indicates that your cat's body is fighting off some kind of illness or infection, and if left untreated, their temperature could potentially rise to the point of putting their health at risk. A veterinarian will be prepared to examine your cat and prescribe medication to bring down their fever, as well as to treat the root cause of the fever.
The next time you think your cat might be feverish, don't both reaching for their paws, ears, or nose to check their temp. Grab a thermometer, find out for sure, and get to a vet if your cat is ill.