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Fever in cats: how to recognize it and what to do
Fever in cats: how to recognize it and what to do

There fever in the cat it is more difficult to identify than human beings, in which maybe just a kiss on the forehead is enough to have some clue about it. In the case of felines, however, things get complicated: it is then the case to know how to recognize it and what to do if we find that our cat has a fever.

white cat on a blue background
white cat on a blue background

Possible causes

An increase in body temperature from the normal level is called hyperthermia. If these are sporadic episodes, the cause may simply be prolonged exposure to heat sources or particularly hot environments, or a particular physical activity.

Fever, however, is a specific and regular type of hyperthermia, and develops when the normal (or "set point", which is around 38 degrees in the adult cat and 39 in kittens) increases in the hypothalamus. area of the brain that acts as a thermostat for the whole body. Fever results from an immune response to some conditions, including:

  • A tumor;
  • Bacterial, viral or fungal infections; the most common, both viral, are feline calicivirus and feline herpes;
  • Infected wounds;
  • Some types of drugs;
  • Heatstroke;
  • Diseases such as lupus.

When the fever lasts for more than two weeks for no apparent reason it is in the presence of FUO (Fever of Unknown Origin).



Fever, if caused by specific ailments, usually occurs along with other symptoms. Here are the most common:

  • Lack of appetite;
  • Tiredness, which often leads them to neglect the cleaning of the coat;
  • Dehydration;
  • Rapid breathing;
  • Chills or tremors
  • Sneezing
  • He retched;
  • Diarrhea.

Measure the cat's fever

Regardless of the symptoms it accompanies, there is only one way to determine if cats have a fever: by measuring their body temperature. A pediatric rectal thermometer, possibly digital and without glass parts, is the best tool for this purpose.

Make sure you have a lubricant and disinfectant with you as well as a thermometer, as well as something to feed the cat as a treat at the end of the procedure.

Get someone to help you immobilize the cat. After disinfecting and lubricating the thermometer, gently lift the cat's tail and insert the thermometer into the rectum approximately 2.5 cm deep. After a few minutes remove it, clean it and read the temperature.

cat ear exam
cat ear exam

What to do in case of fever

If the fever is an encouraging sign that the body is fighting an infection, it must not be allowed to rise too much: over 41 degrees temperature should be called immediately to the veterinarian. Tests may be needed to determine the cause of the fever, and the solution may be to administer antibiotics or rehydration.

In any case avoid doing it yourself and above all, avoid giving your cat medicines that are not suitable for him: remember that our medicines are absolutely not for him and on the contrary they risk poisoning him!