Fever in Cats

If your cat has a fever it could indicate an underlying health issue. Today our Sharpsburg vets explain the causes and signs 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?

The normal body temperature of your cat should be between 100.4o and 102.5o Fahrenheit. A fever in a cat is defined as a temperature of more than 102.5o F. If your cat's fever rises above 106o F, its vital organs are in grave danger of being damaged.

It's simple enough to check your cat’s temperature if you have the right tools. Simply insert a digital thermometer or a pediatric rectal thermometer into your cat's ear. Be very careful if you’re using an older-style mercury thermometer on your cat. If the thermometer breaks, it can be extremely dangerous to your kitty's health.

The best way to tell if your cat has a fever is to use a rectal thermometer. To get an accurate reading, leave the thermometer in place for at least two minutes.

To lubricate the thermometer, apply petroleum jelly to it and gently insert it, being careful not to go too far as this could damage your cat's rectal tissue. Another person may be needed to restrain your cat while you insert the thermometer.

If you suspect your cat has a fever but are hesitant to take their temperature, contact your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. Your veterinarian will be able to quickly and accurately assess your cat's temperature and overall health.

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
  • Tumors

Infectious diseases that cause fevers in cats include haemobartonellosis, ehrlichiosis, bartonellosis, and toxoplasmosis. Outdoor cats who frequently interact with other animals, or even other cats, are at the greatest risk of contracting 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, it may have a fever:  

  • Lack of Appetite
  • Weakness or Lethargy
  • Shivering 
  • Rapid Heart Rate 
  • Decreased Drinking
  • Dehydration 
  • 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 cat 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.

The veterinarian may perform various tests to determine the cause of your cat’s fever. Treatment will then be administered accordingly. If your cat is dehydrated to a moderate or severe degree, intravenous fluids may help them feel better and fight off illness.

How long will it take for my cat's fever to clear up? 

The underlying cause of your cat's fever will determine how quickly he recovers. Cats suffering from a minor infection or illness can usually recover within a day or two of starting treatment. If the underlying condition is more serious, recovery may take longer and may necessitate a variety of treatment approaches.

To help your cat recover from a fever, follow your vet's treatment instructions and finish the entire course of medications, even if your cat's symptoms have improved.

Kitty will require plenty of fluids to stay hydrated, so continue to provide your cat with easy access to freshwater. In some cases, a modified diet or high-calorie liquids may be recommended to aid in 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. 

Does your cat have a fever and require veterinary care? Contact East Coweta Veterinary Hospital to book an appointment for your feline friend.