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How To Tell If My Cat Is Sick And Has a Fever

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If you are a cat owner or lover there are certain things you would like to know, such as how to tell if a cat has a fever? And ways to take care of the cat and keep it in good health.

The first thing to know is that a cat’s normal body temperature is around 38 and 39.5 ºC. Any temperature rise is translated to be abnormal and an indication of your cat having a fever, and this might have an adverse effect on his health.

It doesn’t matter what caused it, the presence of fever is usually an indication of health problems present in an animal, so it is vital to detect the epidemic and quickly begin the best treatment.

Bear in mind that these causes can range from minor problems to more serious illnesses that can even kill your cat. This article majorly focuses on how to tell if your cat is sick and has a fever, we explain everything about feline fever, its causes, symptoms, treatment, prevention.

How To Tell If My Cat Has a Fever

Generally, when it comes to dogs and cats the presence of fever is initiated when the animal’s immune system has a particular abnormality that is present in the body. Since not all illnesses cause fever, here are the most common causes that are known to cause fever in cats:

  • Tumors that tend to have an effect on older cats more than kittens
  • Viral and bacterial diseases, like distemper or leukemia
  • Other viral, bacterial or fungal infections that have a low impact
  • Cold 
  • Flu
  • Pancreatitis or Lupus

Although these are the most common reasons that tend to develop a fever, remember that this is not the only symptom they have, so it is essential to pay attention to the general behavior of your cat as this would help you identify the cause easily and also to apply the necessary treatment appropriately. Especially if it involves a tumor, viral or bacterial diseases, quick and immediate treatment would be beneficial due to the high mortality rate of these diseases.

Cat, Fever: Symptoms

To answer one question that is common among guardians, “How would I know if my cat has a fever”, it is vital that we examine all the details of his behavior. A cat that has a fever has some or all of the following symptoms:

  • A dry nose. This might not be a definitive fact, but it can help you observe that your cat has other symptoms than this one. 
  • Loss of appetite. Eating becomes a struggle due to the poor condition of the body.
  • Reduction in water consumption. Cats are generally not animals that have a high intake of fluids. They consume low amounts of water, so any reduction in water intake can have a negative impact.
  • Apathy. This refers to a lack of energy in the cat. If the cat is known to be very energetic, a lack of energy exhibited by him would clearly show that something is wrong.
  • On the contrary, and depending on the disease-causing the fever, the cat may appear restless and anxious.
  • Lack of personal hygiene. Cats are extremely well-kept animals, anything that is opposite of that is a warning sign that it is not in perfect health condition.
  • In certain cases, chills, rapid breathing, and tremors are glaring symptoms.

Some of these diseases or health conditions that cause fever in the feline can lead to diarrhea, vomiting, sneezing and even coughing.

How To Tell If My Cat Has a Fever

If you observe that your cat has some or all of the above symptoms, it is time to take his body temperature, as this is the only way to confirm that he really has a fever. To do this, you must have all the necessary utensils:

  • A digital rectal thermometer that you can get at any veterinary clinic.
  • Vaseline, or any other lubricant.
  • A clean cloth or towel.

Once you are ready with the utensils, apply these steps:

  1. Clean the thermometer well with a dry cloth and cover the tip with a little lubricant like petroleum jelly.
  2. If you can, tell someone else to hold the cat by the front paws, so that it is easier for you to continue (always gently).
  3. Carefully lift your cat’s tail and insert the tip of the thermometer into his rectum.
  4. Immediately you see that the digital thermometer stops, remove it, check the indicated temperature and reward your animal for its good behavior (treats, caresses, etc.). Clean the thermometer.

As we mentioned at the beginning, the normal temperature should be between 38 and 39ºC, in adult cats, and 39.5ºC in kittens. If your feline exceeds these figures, we consider that he has a fever and you should treat him to reduce it as soon as possible. If the temperature exceeds 41ºC, you will have to go quickly to the veterinarian so that he can examine it and determine the cause.

Sick Cat: What To Do?

The treatment of fever in cats is closely linked to its cause. If, for example, it seems to be a side effect of taking a drug, you should consult your veterinarian for what to do, but never decide to stop medical treatment yourself. In situations where the cause is a serious illness, such as distemper, leukemia or cancer, consulting a specialist will help. The specialist would know the best treatment to eradicate the pathology. For minor bacterial or viral infections, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics. Remember that you should not self- medicate your cat, some drugs for human consumption are toxic to him and you will only make his condition worse.

In milder cases, such as a cold, you can take steps and home remedies to reduce your cat’s fever :

A known symptoms of fever is a reduction in the amount of water ingested, the first thing to do is to hydrate your cat. If he does not want to drink, you will need to give him the amount of liquid he needs, using a syringe, always carefully and slowly! The water should be cool.

It’s the same with food. To avoid malnutrition, you should encourage your cat to eat by providing it with food that meets its nutritional needs while being appetizing. In other to carry this out, go for a wet diet. Once cured, you can combine it again with dry food. However, if the fever is accompanied by vomiting or diarrhea, it is best to consult the veterinarian for the diet to follow.

Look for a place free of humidity and heat in your house to place your bed. Your cat needs to feel as comfortable as possible to promote healing.

Wet compresses will be your best ally to reduce your cat’s fever. You will need to moisten them with cold water, place them on his forehead and let them act for a few minutes. Then remove them and apply them in the same way on its legs, abdomen, and groin. Dry the wet areas well and carry out the process twice a day.

Once you know how to tell if a cat has a fever, you would be in a better position to know when to reach out to a vet. It is recommended to go to the vet if after 48 hours the fever has not subsided. You may not have noticed any other symptoms and he may be suffering from a serious illness that requires medical treatment.