Fever in Cats: Symptoms & Treatment
Everyone feels hot once in a while. Now don’t take me a wrong way but I’m talking about body temperatures here. We all have experienced our body temperature rise to a level that feels uncomfortable. It is usually coupled with the loss of energy, lack of motivation to eat food, bad taste in the mouth, headaches, body aches, etc. Now this is, what our mothers would also call, a fever. But what exactly does classify as a fever and why do we feel it?
What are fevers?
A fever is a temporary rise in body temperature. It is a response by the immune system against a certain discomfort in the body. Unlike common belief, fever is not actually a disease but a symptom of an underlying disease. The body temperature rises in an attempt by the immune system to fight a foreign discomfort in the body. Our normal body temperatures range from 97.5°F to 98.9°F (36.4°C to 37.2°C). It tends to be lower in the morning and higher in the evening. Usually, a fever is considered when the temperature crosses 100.4°F (38°C). A fever is generally classified into 4 types –
A low-grade fever happens when the body temperature rises to 100.4°F (38°C)
Moderate fever if the temperature rises above 102.2-104°F or 39.1-40°C.
High-grade fever indicates if the body temperature is 104F (39.4°C) or above.
Hyperpyrexia, if the temperature is above 106°F or 41.1°C
Fever in Cats
A normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5º Fahrenheit. A fever in cats occurs when temperatures rise above 102.5º F. Fever in itself is not a disease. It is the body’s defense mechanism to fight against an unknown or a foreign uncomfortable element in the body. Now for determining a fever in your Cat, one thing you need to know is how to check the temperature in the first place.
How to check Temperature in Cats
The only way to check for a cat’s fever is by checking the temperature. So, all you need to begin the process is a thermometer, a lubricant like petroleum jelly, alcohol, or a paper towel to clean the thermometer after use and a cat treat to reward him/her after good behavior. Now the steps to check the temperature are as follows –
Ensure the mercury line in the thermometer is below 96 º by shaking it. A digital thermometer may be easier to use
Apply the lubricant on the tip of the thermometer
Ask someone to hold your cat in a way that the hind is facing you. If alone, cradle your cat’s body firmly against you with one arm.
Lift the tail and gently insert the thermometer into the anus. Twist the thermometer side to side to relax the muscles there.
Go as deep as one inch inside the rectum
In the case of a digital thermometer, it will beep once the temperature is noted and in the case of a glass one, leave it there for around 2 minutes.
Remove and clean it with alcohol or a cleaning solution.
Read the temperature in the thermometer.
Note – It is possible that your cat might vomit. In case he/she doesn’t, a treat is deserved there.
Signs of Fever in Cats
Diseases that cause fever in cats, cause some behaviors which help them survive illness and conserve the necessary energy to produce a fever. Sadly, your cat won’t be able to tell you in human language that he/she is feeling feverish, but it will use its own non-verbal language to communicate the discomfort. The signs to look out for are –
Loss of appetite
Lack of energy or activity
Shivering or rapid breathing
Gently press your cat’s body with your fingers. Determine whether you can feel any injuries like bone fractures, swollen lymph nodes, abscesses, wound infections, or tumors. All of these instances can cause fever.
Causes of Fever in Cats
A fever is caused when the immune system in cats is activated by certain conditions. These include –
Bacterial, viral, or fungal infections
Note: Cats who spend more time outdoors are more prone to fevers as compared to lap or in-house cats.
When you should be concerned about Cat Cramping?
Cats exhibiting signs of fever for more than 24 hours can become a severe concern as usually, the signs shouldn’t last more than a couple hours. Even if the temperature reading shows more than 104º F, you would want to take your cat to your vet at the earliest.
Treatment for Fever in Cats
The vet once contacted, will look out for the underlying reason for the fever. But before that, there are some things you can do to cool the fever down. Cats lose heat through sweat glands in their paws and by panting. The things you can do to help include –
Find a cool, dark, room, preferably with a slate or tile floor so that he/she can stretch out and transfer her body heat to the tiles.
Position a fan on the floor so that it blows cool air over her body.
Gently coat his/her coat with water
Use a damp cloth or a spray bottle to dampen the coat
Make sure fresh water is available all the time for him/her
You can sponge her gums with tepid water.
You could also give Gatorade or some electrolyte solution to the cat
Provide recommended supplements to your cat with soft foods
You can give vitamin B and energy supplements.
Your vet will prescribe some antibiotics to relieve the cat of the fever symptoms and bring the temperature down.
Note: Never give your cat milk! Cats are very sensitive to lactose, and it can cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea. And never give your cat supplements with Garlic or onion, calcium, vitamin D, or vitamin C. Do not use human medications on your cat ever.
Fever is a common condition in cats. It is not a disease in itself but a response by his/her immune defense system against some conditions. As a responsible and loving pet parent, your job here is to keep checking for any signs and once seen, provide the cat with ample solutions and love.
Happy Mood and Health to your Cat and lots of Love and Purrrss to you!
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