Table of contents:

Body Temperature In A Cat And A Cat: What Is Considered Normal For A Healthy Adult Pet And Kitten, How To Measure It
Body Temperature In A Cat And A Cat: What Is Considered Normal For A Healthy Adult Pet And Kitten, How To Measure It

Video: Body Temperature In A Cat And A Cat: What Is Considered Normal For A Healthy Adult Pet And Kitten, How To Measure It

Video: How to take a CAT'S TEMPERATURE 😿🌡️ Know if My CAT HAS FEVER 2022, December

Body temperature in cats: features and measurement technique

Temperature measurement in a cat
Temperature measurement in a cat

There is hardly a person who, having got a cat, would be indifferent to its well-being. Everyone knows that an increase in temperature is a signal that not all is well in the body. But what body temperature is considered normal for a cat and how to measure it, not everyone knows. But the timeliness of contacting a veterinarian largely depends on this. Let's try to understand these issues.


  • 1 Thermoregulation of cats
  • 2 Normal temperature readings
  • 3 Reasons for an Increased Cat's Body Temperature

    • 3.1 Temperature rises requiring veterinary attention
    • 3.2 Hyperthermia, which should not be of concern
  • 4 Reasons for a drop in temperature in cats

    • 4.1 How to normalize the temperature of an animal
    • 4.2 When to contact your veterinarian for hypothermia
    • 4.3 Adverse effects of hypothermia
  • 5 How to measure body temperature of a cat

    5.1 Photo gallery: different types of temperature measuring devices in cats

  • 6 How to measure temperature

    • 6.1 Method for measuring rectal temperature

      6.1.1 Video: how to measure the temperature of a cat with a mercury thermometer

    • 6.2 Determination of temperature with an infrared device

Thermoregulation of cats

Thermoregulation refers to the ability of animals to maintain body temperature within the most appropriate range for life, even if the ambient temperature is significantly different. Cats are mammals. To determine the ambient temperature, they, like other representatives of this group, have special sensitive organs located in the skin - these are receptors for cold and heat.

The number of receptors for cold and heat in cats is not the same. There are many more of the first, and they are not very deep in relation to the surface of the skin; heat receptors are located deeper. That is why almost all cats love warmth and only in extreme heat give preference to cool places.

Location of heat and cold receptors in mammalian skin
Location of heat and cold receptors in mammalian skin

Cold receptors are closer to the skin surface than heat receptors

Cats have several ways to maintain a normal body temperature:

  • Sweating. Cats don't sweat like humans do. There are few sweat glands on their bodies, and they are not able to ensure the removal of sufficient fluid from the body to maintain normal body temperature. Therefore, cats cannot effectively get rid of "excess" heat in this way.
  • Licking. In a cat, this is not just a manifestation of cleanliness, but a necessary procedure to maintain heat balance. When licked, a moisture-repellent layer forms on the coat, which helps to maintain the desired body temperature. Also, this procedure stimulates the glands located in the thickness of the skin, which secrete a special substance - sebum. It reduces the amount of ultraviolet rays that penetrate the skin, slows down the release of moisture from the skin's surface without preventing air from entering. Sebum protects the animal well from moisture and temperature fluctuations in the environment. In winter, grooming helps cats to keep warm, and in summer - to increase heat transfer by increasing the space between the hairs of the coat, opening the flow of air to the skin.
  • Breathing acceleration. The main method by which cats increase heat transfer. As the air temperature rises, the cat begins to breathe more often. From the outside, it looks like shortness of breath: the mouth is open, breathing is shallow. Under normal temperature conditions, the cat makes about 30 breaths / breaths per minute, in hot weather their number increases several times.

    The cat breathes with an open mouth
    The cat breathes with an open mouth

    With severe overheating, the cat begins to breathe with an open mouth, so it increases heat transfer in the body

The listed cooling methods are not always enough. There are times when the best way to stay cool is to simply go into the shadows. This is what cats do when they feel worse due to the heat.

Changing body position allows cats to both enhance heat transfer and retain heat. For example, in the summer you can often see baleen, which lie stretched out in the sun, just like animals behave near the battery in winter. But as soon as it gets colder, the cat immediately curls up into a ball.

Like other mammals, cats can retain body heat by contracting the small blood vessels of the skin: in the cold, the vessels narrow and heat transfer decreases, in the heat they expand, and the heat transfer, respectively, increases. In addition, cats can fluff up, thus increasing in volume. The resulting air gap reduces heat loss, and the cat does not freeze. It is more difficult for hairless cats in this respect, in the cold they freeze very quickly.

The cat sits fluffed up
The cat sits fluffed up

By fluffing up its fur, the cat reduces heat loss

The above methods of heat regulation apply more to adult cats. Kittens do not immediately become capable of independent thermoregulation. At a temperature of less than 18 on the C kids can freeze.

Normal temperature readings

Almost all of my friends have or once had cats, but no one could answer the question of what temperature is normal for pets. They said that it was higher than that of people, but how much, no one knew. Almost all of the people I interviewed believe that it is not necessary to measure the temperature of cats. You should focus more on the well-being of the animal, and even more so you shouldn't give your pets any medications. To be honest, I have never measured the temperature of a cat on my own, although I had three of them, one of them lived for 17 years, was ill and underwent surgery.

Body temperature, which is considered normal in cats, ranges from 38 o C to 39 o C. Like humans, animals may have individual characteristics, and the temperature may deviate from the accepted norms. Sometimes this can even be associated with the age of the cat or with the time of day (in a dream, the temperature is usually lower, and during wakefulness and the manifestation of activity, it rises). In grown-up kittens body temperature is half a degree higher than that of adult cats, and in newborns considered normal values of 40-40.5 of C. During pregnancy, expectant mothers whiskered temperature may be slightly higher than in the normal state, but before the birth she goes down.

Reasons for the increase in body temperature of a cat

A cat's body temperature can rise, signaling various malfunctions in its body.

Most often, fever in cats is associated with various infections. But the cause can also be oncological, autoimmune and other diseases, as well as unexplained factors.

Cat with a thermometer and a towel on his forehead
Cat with a thermometer and a towel on his forehead

A cat's body temperature may rise, signaling disease

Fever, requiring veterinary attention

In addition to high fever, serious illnesses are accompanied by other symptoms that are hard to miss. It can be:

  • Viral infections. They are accompanied by a runny nose, discharge from the eyes, and disorders of the digestive system.
  • Bacterial infections. The cat loses appetite and may vomit or have diarrhea.
  • Helminthic invasions. An increase in temperature may be accompanied by digestive disorders, depression.
  • Allergies and poisoning. Manifested by a characteristic rash and disorders of the digestive tract.
  • Endocrine disorders, such as obesity or excessive weight loss, may be accompanied by a slight rise in the temperature of an animal (to 39.8 of C).
  • Tumors. The cat loses weight, it begins to lose hair, digestion processes are disrupted.
  • Purulent inflammations after injuries and injections, postpartum mastitis (inflammation of the mammary gland). In this case, you can notice painful seals at the site of inflammation.

In addition, the cat should be seen by the veterinarian when the following symptoms are observed:

  • frequent rise in temperature, even to low rates;
  • sharp jump in temperature to 41 on C;
  • for several days, the body temperature of the cat does not fall below 39.5 o C.

It is not recommended to knock down the temperature of a cat on your own using medication. Not all antipyretics used by humans can be used on animals. Also, you should not use traditional methods, for example, covering the animal with ice. You can try to water the cat and move it to a quiet place.

Hyperthermia, which shouldn't be a concern

Fever in cats is due to overheating. This can happen:

  • in the heat of summer;
  • in a closed car;

    Cat in a closed car
    Cat in a closed car

    In a closed car in the sun, the air temperature rises rapidly, if the cat remains inside, it may experience severe overheating

  • in a highly heated room.

In case of overheating, the animal breathes frequently, it has a rapid heart rate. You can handle situations like this yourself. To do this, move the cat to a cool place and offer water.

An increase in temperature can also be observed during estrus. This is temporary and no veterinary assistance is required.

Hyperthermia in a cat can be caused by severe stress, for example, when changing the environment or the owner. This temperature deviation is accompanied by a violation of the animal's behavior, loss of mood and appetite. But when the pet calms down, this state goes away by itself.

Causes of a drop in temperature in cats

In addition to an increase in body temperature, a cat may also experience a decrease in it, the so-called hypothermia.

Experts divide hypothermia into 3 types:

  • light (body temperature within 32–35 о С);
  • moderate (28–32 о С);
  • deep (below 28 ° C).

A common cause of low temperatures is hypothermia. To avoid it, you need to monitor your pet and do not let the cat go for a walk in cold weather. Low body temperature may also indicate a cat's illness.

The following are possible causes of a low temperature in a cat:

  • some bacteria and viruses (for example, enteritis virus);
  • weakened body;
  • loss of appetite and weight loss;
  • consequence of anesthesia;
  • the development of a malignant tumor;
  • kidney disease (common in older animals);
  • trauma;
  • metabolic disorders;
  • the consequence of poisoning;
  • dehydration;
  • heavy bleeding (internal or external);
  • heart disease;
  • diseases of the nervous system.

If the temperature of the animal is low, then the following symptoms may be observed:

  • shiver;
  • apathy;
  • slow breathing;
  • heart rhythm disorder.

The cat can look for a warmer place and sleep more than usual.

How to normalize an animal's temperature

First of all, when the body temperature drops, the cat should be warmed up.

For this you need:

  1. Bring the animal into the room (if it was previously outside).
  2. Be sure to dry your cat if it gets wet (for example, using a hair dryer).
  3. Offer a warm drink such as milk or broth.
  4. Wrap in a warm blanket and put a heating pad next to it, heated to 39 degrees.
  5. Monitor temperature every 10 minutes.
  6. After the temperature has returned to normal, give the animal food.

When to See Your Veterinarian for Hypothermia

A veterinarian for hypothermia should be consulted if:

  • if the above actions did not lead to the normalization of the temperature;
  • if the temperature is lowered to 36 degrees and continues to fall.

It is better to take the cat to the veterinary clinic on your own. The doctor will conduct a full examination of the animal and try to diagnose the cause of the lowered temperature, and also prescribe treatment.

The veterinary clinic can do:

  • an enema with a warm solution;
  • a dropper with a warming solution.

Adverse Effects of Hypothermia

Low temperature in a cat should not be ignored by the owner. With prolonged hypothermia, the cat may develop health problems, such as:

  • meningitis (inflammation of the meninges);
  • pneumonia (pneumonia);
  • nephritis, pyelonephritis (inflammatory kidney disease).

How to measure a cat's body temperature

Today there are many types of thermometers that can quickly measure a cat's body temperature. Let's list the main models:

  • Electronic universal thermometer with flexible tip. This device most accurately and quickly shows the body temperature of the animal. It is suitable for rectal measurements; temperature is not measured in the armpit and orally to cats. After a while (maximum 3 minutes), a special sound will be heard, indicating that the temperature change is complete. Electronic or digital thermometers are fast and accurate. Unlike glass mercury, they are not as fragile. The only disadvantage of an electronic thermometer is the price, which is an order of magnitude higher than that of mercury.
  • Electronic universal thermometer with a rigid tip. The same properties as the previous model, only it must be used more carefully rectally due to the rigid tip.
  • Infrared ear thermometer. The tip of this device is designed in such a way that you can safely measure the temperature in your cat's ear. The procedure does not disturb the animal, and the temperature is measured quickly and accurately. The price of infrared thermometers is almost an order of magnitude higher than electronic ones. Advantages of the device:

    • speed (up to 30 seconds);
    • ease of use;
    • safety.
  • Non-contact infrared thermometers. You don't need to touch the cat at all - the device will measure the temperature from a distance. But such thermometers, unfortunately, have drawbacks - some experts believe that their readings are approximate.
  • Mercury thermometer. This is a well-known device used to measure body temperature. Sometimes with a rounded tip - it can be used rectally. This thermometer is not the best way to measure a cat's body temperature. You will have to wait at least 7 minutes for the result, and during this time you will need to hold your cat and persuade her to be calm. Moreover, a mercury thermometer is fragile, and mercury is a dangerous substance. If such a device breaks, then the animal can be injured and poisoned by poisonous vapors.

Photo gallery: different types of temperature measuring instruments in cats

Infrared ear thermometer
Infrared ear thermometer

Infrared ear thermometer shows results quickly

Mercury thermometer
Mercury thermometer

A regular mercury thermometer can be used to measure a cat's temperature rectally

Electronic (digital) thermometer
Electronic (digital) thermometer

A versatile electronic thermometer can be used to measure the temperature of a cat

Universal electronic thermometer with flexible tip
Universal electronic thermometer with flexible tip

Universal electronic thermometer with flexible tip is the most convenient for measuring temperature in cats

IR non-contact thermometer
IR non-contact thermometer

An infrared non-contact thermometer detects body temperature instantly and from a distance, but may have measurement errors

How to measure temperature

Often, owners think that measuring the temperature of a cat is a useless and troublesome task. But sometimes it is better to suffer a little and do it than to miss the time to see a doctor.

Rectal temperature measurement method

The rectal (anal) opening is the first opening under the tail of the cat.

Rectal foramen in a cat
Rectal foramen in a cat

The picture shows where the rectal opening is located in cats

How to measure temperature rectally:

  1. Carefully read the instructions supplied with the thermometer.
  2. Choose a time when your cat is calm.
  3. Take a thin blanket (towel, blanket), wrap the cat, leaving only the tail and head open.
  4. Lubricate the tip of the thermometer with cream.
  5. Insert the thermometer into the cat's anus (1–1.5 cm).
  6. Tilt the thermometer slightly (should touch the rectal mucosa).
  7. Wait for a special signal.
  8. Take out the thermometer.
  9. Determine the temperature.
  10. Wash the thermometer.
  11. Praise, treat the cat.

Video: how to measure the temperature of a cat with a mercury thermometer

Determination of temperature with an infrared device

You can measure your cat's temperature using an infrared thermometer. To make measurements with an ear instrument:

  1. Read the instructions that came with your infrared thermometer.
  2. Hold the cat's head.
  3. Point the thermometer at the animal's ear.
  4. Wait for the signal.
  5. Take out the thermometer.
  6. Determine the temperature.
  7. Wipe down the thermometer.
Ear thermometer
Ear thermometer

An ear thermometer doesn't bother your cat

Despite the existence of modern thermometers for measuring body temperature, in practice, veterinary clinics use ordinary mercury thermometers and, according to the owners, do not stand on ceremony with pets. Typically, the temperature measurement is accompanied by a pre-vaccination examination. Such a procedure at home is a useful thing, but, fortunately, it has to be done very rarely.

When starting a mustachioed pet, you need to be prepared not only for joyful moments, but also for the fact that a four-legged friend may need help. Measuring a cat's temperature is not an easy procedure. But every owner should know how to carry it out. To be able to quickly measure the temperature, to have a general idea of ​​the features of the thermoregulation of cats is necessary in order to help your pet in time if it gets sick.

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