There are generally two main causes of a rise in body temperature in an organism- hyperthermia or fever. While hyperthermia could result to heat stroke, fever or pyrexia, on the other hand, is just an abnormal increase in body temperature as a response of the body to combat infection or disease. Cats normally have a body temperature of about 100 to 102.5 °F.
Causes and Symptoms of Fever
Body temperature is basically regulated by the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that serves as the body’s thermostat. Fever takes place the moment the body senses foreign small molecules in the blood known as the fever-producing matters, also known as pyrogens. These substances tell the brain’s hypothalamus to build-up the body temperature point when they are detected. Usually, fever is caused by infection, endocrine diseases, some drugs, cancer, and idiopathic or unknown cause.
You can tell that your cat has a fever is she manifests some of these common symptoms: lethargy, rapid breathing, dehydration, loss of appetite, listlessness, shivering, and pain or tenderness when touched.
How to Tell if Kitty Has a Fever
The only accurate way to determine if your cat has a fever is by taking her internal temperature. This can be best carried out with a helper since you will need someone to hold kitty while you take a reading. You can get your cat’s temperature using a rectal thermometer. After lubricating the tip of the thermometer with a petroleum or KY jelly, have your assistant grasp the bottom part of kitty’s tail and then lift it. Slowly insert the oiled tip of the thermometer approximately halfway into kitty’s rectum and then hold it in place until the reading is finished. You can find thermometers that take readings very quickly, in just a matter of seconds, instead of using an old fashioned thermometer that can take several uncomfortable minutes for both you and your cat. Gently take the thermometer out, and take note of the reading.
How to Treat Fever
Normally, a reading of about 105 °F needs to be closely monitored. Once the temperature increases to more than 105 °F, then it means you have to seek veterinary care immediately. When your cat’s temperature is only slightly above the normal reading, then you can try home care. Cool her off by giving her some cool fresh water or by using a fan. Never bathe kitty as this may only trap the water and serve as an insulator. Your cat has to be brought to a vet to identify the cause of her fever, and so that necessary treatment can be given.