If your cat has a fever it could indicate an underlying health issue. Today our Carolina Veterinary Specialists in Matthews explain the causes of fevers in cats and how you should care for your feline friend if they have a fever.
How do I know if my cat has a fever?
Your cat's normal body temperature should be within 100.4º to 102.5º Fahrenheit. A fever in cats is characterized by a temperature of more than 102.5º F. If your cat's fever goes higher than 106º F your kitty is at serious risk of damage to their vital organs.
With the right tools, it's easy to check your pet's temperature. Simply use a digital thermometer in your cat’s ear or a pediatric rectal thermometer. Be sure not to use an older style mercury thermometer on your cat, if the thermometer breaks it can be very harmful to your kitty's health.
A rectal thermometer is the best way to determine whether your kitty has a fever. Leave the thermometer in place for at least two minutes in order to get an accurate reading.
Apply petroleum jelly to the thermometer to lubricate it, and gently insert it being careful not to go too far as it could damage your cat's rectal tissue. You may need the assistance of another person to restrain your cat while you insert the thermometer.
If you believe that your cat may have a fever but feel uncomfortable checking their temperature, contact your veterinarian to book an appointment. Your vet will be able to assess your kitty's temperature and overall health quickly and accurately.
Why does my cat have a fever?
Fevers in cats are typically the result of the immune system being activated by conditions such as:
- Fungal infections
- Certain Medications
- Diseases such as Lupus
- Bacterial or Viral infections
- Injury from Trauma
Haemobartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonellosis, and toxoplasmosis are infectious diseases that are common in cats and can lead to fever. Outdoor cats that frequently come in contact with other animals are at the highest risk for exposure to these highly contagious diseases.
After an extensive medical investigation into your cat's fever, if the cause cannot be identified your kitty could be diagnosed with FUO (which simply means 'fever of unknown origin').
What are the symptoms of a fever in cats?
As a pet parent, it is essential to monitor your cat's health and take note whenever they exhibit unusual behavior. If your cat displays any of the following, they may have a fever:
- Lack of Appetite
- Weakness or Lethargy
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Decreased Drinking
- Decreased Activity or Grooming
- Vomiting or Diarrhea
How do I care for my cat while they have a fever?
Human medications should never be given to a cat without the explicit advice of a veterinarian!! Many human medications, such as acetaminophen, can be extremely toxic to cats.
Keeping your kitty hydrated will be essential while they fight off the fever. Make sure that your cat has fresh clean water, easily accessible to wherever they are most comfortable relaxing.
If your kitty has a fever for longer than 24 hours or a fever above 106º F contact your vet to book an urgent appointment or visit your local emergency animal hospital.
At the veterinary clinic, tests may be conducted to determine the cause of your pet's fever, and treatment will be administered accordingly. If your cat has moderate or severe dehydration, intravenous fluids may be used to help your cat begin to feel better and fight off illness.
How long will it take for my cat's fever to clear-up?
Your cat's recovery from fever will depend upon the underlying cause. Cats suffering from a minor infection or illness can recover very quickly once treatment begins, usually within a day or two. If the underlying condition is more serious, recovery could longer and require a number of different treatment approaches.
To help your cat recover as quickly as possible, follow the treatment instructions provided by your vet and finish the full course of medications, even if your cat's symptoms have improved.
Kitty is going to need plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, so continue to ensure that your cat has easy access to fresh water. In some cases, a modified diet may be recommended, or possibly high-calorie liquids to help support your pet's recovery.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding people or pets. Always follow your doctor's advice regarding asthma or other allergy symptoms.