The most common reason for checking your cat's temperature is to determine whether or not your cat has a fever. A cat's normal temperature is between 38.0 and 39.1 degrees Celsius. A cat is considered to have a fever when its temperature stays above 552 degrees Celsius for an extended period of time, according to WebMD. Fevers can be helpful for fighting off illness, but if one soars to over 41.1 degrees Celsius, it can cause serious damage to internal organs and should be immediately treated by a veterinarian. Although you can't get an exact reading without a thermometer, you can tell if your cat's temperature is above normal with a few simple steps.
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Touch your cat's nose with your finger. If its nose is warm and dry, it could be a sign that it is dehydrated and has a temperature. Keep an eye out for strange behaviour that could indicate that your cat is sick, such as lethargy or lack of appetite.
Stroke your cat's fur with your hand by petting it gently. Remember that your cat's fur may feel warmer than normal if it has been sitting in the sun or over a heating vent, so don't use this as your only method of detecting a fever.
Feel your cat's ears with your fingers. Remember that your cat runs significantly hotter than humans, so it will feel warm to the touch. Get a baseline feel of your cat when you know it is feeling well so that you will know if your cat feels warmer than normal. This will help you read if your cat has a really high temperature.
Touch the tip of your cat's ear with your lips for a more accurate temperature reading. Place the top 1/2-inch of your cat's ear gently between your lips to determine if your cat is hotter than normal. Your lips are more sensitive than your hands and will be able to sense differences in temperature more easily.
Watch for signs of pain or excessive sleepiness or if your cat just isn't acting right. General malaise combined with your cat feeling warm could mean a fever. If you ever think your cat may be running a fever, it is best to take it to a vet where an exact temperature can be taken with a thermometer.
Tips and warnings
- The best way to tell if your cat has a fever is by using a thermometer, so only use steps to help you determine whether your cat may have a temperature. Always follow up with a thermometer if your cat seems warm or sick.
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