The normal temperature range for cats is between 100.5 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit quite higher than the human body temperature. Therefore, they can tolerate higher temperatures than we do only if they have access to water. When the heat goes overboard in the feline body, they have different ways of cooling down. They are smarter than dogs and don’t panic when the temperature level is higher. They get dead quiet and inactive to avoid adding up the heat to the already soaring heat in their body. They will run to cool places in your home like the basements where it is cool and spread their body for heat to escape. They will seek water by any means to drink and stave off dehydration.
When the temperatures are extreme, cats sweat from their paw pads and noses to relieve their bodies of the heat. And if the heat continues to soar, they may pant like dogs to expel heat from their bodies. Cats are known to be efficient at regulating their body temperatures therefore can tolerate higher temperatures than we do.
How to record a cat’s body temperature
Disease and prolonged exposure to extreme temperatures (hot or cold) may lower or raise the body temperature of a cat out of the normal range. Mild fever in cats results as part of a disease-fighting system just like it is for humans. But if persistent, it can cause fatal damage and call for a professional to help. You can’t easily tell by holding them when they have a fever or not and you can’t test their body temperature by letting them hold on to a thermometer or putting it under their tongue. The accurate model of reading their body temperature is by inserting the thermometer into a place they will not like – rectally. I know it is going to be a tough experience for both of you but it is worth trying. Knowing the pet’s temperature will help you let the vet know if she or he is suffering a fever upfront.
Use a rectal thermometer dedicated to cats to read the temperatures of your cat and if possible the digital one. And the best or call it the worst part begins. Hold your cat firmly on the surface and tuck it under one arm with the tail held upwards, you may perform this exercise with someone else. Of course not a stranger to your cat. Gently insert a lubricated thermometer inside the anus to about an inch and leave it there for at least three minutes. After three minutes, remove the equipment gently and record the readings to tell your vet. That is the only way you can tell whether your cat has a fever or not before heading to a vet for further diagnosis if you feel your cat is acting strange.
Hopefully, now you know how to examine your feline friend from the inside out. And now you know when it is necessary to take her to a professional for help. Hopefully, your cat will soon be on the road to recovery.
How cats regulate their body temperature
Normal temperature for felines ranges between 100 and 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit or 37.7 and 39.1 degrees Celsius. Infections in felines increase body temperature in a way to respond to and fight infectious organisms – pyrexia.
How a cat regulates body temperature is no different from the way we do. Thermoregulation is a term that refers to the control of body temperature when external factors decrease or increase body temperature. Cats respond to temperature changes in their bodies by;
Changing location: cats move to a shady location when it is extremely hot or move into the sun when it is extremely cold. These are behavioral responses to changes in weather.
Vasoconstriction and vasodilation: The narrowing of blood vessels to restrict blood flow near to the skin to reduce the loss of heat is vasoconstriction while blood vessels dilate when it is hot to increase blood flow near to the surface to encourage heat loss is vasodilation. This happens in humans too.
Hairs: The cat’s hair stands on the end to improve air insulation when it is extremely cold. It shields loss of heat to the environment, while they sleep normally on the hair coat when it is too hot to encourage loss of heat into the environment.
Shivering: when body temperature drops and all the other mechanisms are unsuccessful in restoring it, your cat will begin to shiver. Muscles shiver slightly to produce warmth by expending energy. Cats also shiver to respond to fever.
Sweating: sweating in cats is not as important as it is in humans but they do sweat a little in their paw pads and nose to expel heat from their body.
What causes high body temperature in cats
There are two causes of high temperatures in cats namely;
- Fever – pyrogenic
- Hyperthermia – non-pyrogenic
Fever is commonly caused by infections but there are other causes such as medications, cancer, inflammation, endocrine disorders, autoimmune diseases, and vascular disorders. Hyperthermia happens when external temperatures rise above the body’s temperature and the body cannot undergo thermoregulation to bring temperatures to normal. This is heatstroke and heatstroke requires urgent attention from the vet.
What causes low body temperature in cats
A common cause of hypothermia is prolonged exposure to cold. But not to say no other causes. Medication, blood infection, kidney disease, and diabetic ketoacidosis are other possible causes of hypothermia. Also, infants or old-aged cats may fail to regulate their body temperatures.
How to reduce fever in felines?
If you notice your cat has a fever, the best thing to do before reaching a vet is to introduce fans to cool their bodies and give them plenty of cool fresh water. Avoid baths because it could worsen the situation. Do not administer any medication unless under the directions of a qualified vet. If your cat suffers from heatstroke, refer it to the vet immediately without giving them anything. Upon reaching a vet, antibiotics will be administered to treat the bacterial infection while for viral infection, support care by fluid and nutritional support is accorded.