How can I tell if my cat has a temperature?

If you want to tell if your cat has a temperature you will need to check it with a thermometer. The procedure is quite straightforward but gentleness is the order of the day. If you don’t already have one, buy a standard digital thermometer. You can get them for under £10 in the UK or under $10 in America on Amazon. It is much safer to use a digital thermometer because it won’t break inside your cat’s rectum.

Taking cats temperature
Taking cats temperature has to be done rectally. Image: PoC.
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Taking your cat’s temperature

Yes, the only effective way to take your cat’s temperature is to use a rectal thermometer. If you use a glass, bulb thermometer it might break off if your cat tries to sit down while you are checking her temperature. If that happens you will have to call your vet and mayhem will ensue.

Your cat should be standing. You should raise her tail and hold it fairly firmly to prevent her from sitting down. You can place a hand under your cat’s tummy to encourage her to remain standing.

You should gently insert the thermometer into her anal canal to a depth of 1-1.5 inches (25 to 38 mm). The thermometer should be held there for three minutes. Remove the thermometer and read the temperature. If you feel unsure about doing this ask your vet to do it.

Target temperature

The body temperature of an adult cat should be between 100°F to 103°F (37.7°C to 39.4°C). The average temperature is 101.5°F (38.6°C). The temperature of newborn kittens is 95°F to 99°F (35°C to 37.2°C). After two weeks of age the temperature should be 100°F (37.8°C).

High temperature

Your cat will have a fever if her temperature is above 102.5°F. Take her to the vet. A high temperature they produce other symptoms such as: eating less, drinking less, being hot to the touch, low-energy and signs that your cat is feeling unwell. A fever can be caused by many different illnesses and diseases. Therefore you can’t self-diagnose.

Kittens

When kittens are born their body temperature is the same as their mother’s. It drops several degrees immediately. Kittens snuggle up to their mother and their temperature rises. Kittens can maintain body temperature at about 10° above room temperature when they are healthy. Kittens quickly become chilled which can dramatically reduce metabolism. Chilling is the single greatest danger to infant kittens according to veterinarians. If a mother is away for 30 minutes in a room at a temperature of 70°F her kittens’ temperatures will fall.

Source: Myself and veterinary reference books.

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