What is the Body Temperature of a Cat?

The normal temperature in cats is almost 3 degrees higher than that of humans. However, minor fluctuations, even within one division, may indicate a serious pathology that developed in the animal’s body in a latent form. How to understand that a cat is unhealthy and measure the temperature with a minimum error – all about home diagnostics of diseases in the article.


What Affects the Temperature of Cats?

The normal body temperature of cats depends on three factors: their age, time of day, and individual characteristics. To know for sure, take control measurements starting from 1 week of a kitten’s life or from the moment a new pet appears in the family. This is necessary in order to determine his personal temperature regime and quickly navigate if ailments appear.


We offer the averages, so you know, on what a start:

Animal age                                                         Average indicators of normal body temperature

For a newborn kitten up to 10 days                         35.1 – 36.1 ° C

For a kitten from 10 days to 1 month                       36.5 – 37.5 ° C

For a kitten over 1-month-old and an adult cat        37.7 – 39.1 ° C


Times of Day

The average temperature of cats is associated with sleep and wakefulness. If the animal is asleep, all processes slow down. Therefore, it is useless to measure the temperature. In some cats, it drops immediately to 1 – 2 degrees from their basic norm. Although, running your hand over the body, the difference is almost not felt.

If you measure the temperature during the day, the permissible fluctuations vary within half a degree: this is typical for healthy and mobile cats. Especially if you find your pet playing actively with his favorite toy.

Morning measurements will be lower than evening ones. In this, the cat is similar to humans and many other warm-blooded animals.

Characteristics of the Organism

Veterinarians have observed that a cat’s body temperature is affected by its dietary habits, mood, and sensitivity to heat.

If your cat often overeats or spends time in a hot room, its temperature may rise. In addition, slight fluctuations are allowed after experiencing stress. For example, after going to the veterinarian, physical punishment or the departure of the owner.

The period of pregnancy and childbirth also affects the temperature of a cat. Usually, the body temperature of cats drops by one degree one to two days before kittens appear. Therefore, you should not be afraid of this. The main thing is that the “nest” in which the cat gives birth is insulated in advance. The temperature of a newborn kitten is very low. This is due to poor thermoregulation processes. Therefore, the female does not even lick some kittens, and the owner has to rub the newborn cub.

As for the length of the coat, it does not depend on body temperature. Contrary to popular belief, Sphynxes and other short-haired breeds maintain the same temperature as long-haired ones: the opinion that the body of a bald cat seems hot is connected only with the subjective sensations of a person.

How do You Know That the Cat is Sick?

Is your nose dry and warm to the touch? So the cat is sick. Many have heard of this symptom since childhood. But in practice, a dry nose also occurs under completely harmless circumstances. For example, in many older animals, nasal dryness is associated with impaired secretion of the nasal glands. And in young cats, the nose dries up during outdoor games or sleeping near heating appliances or under a blanket.

If crusts or yellowish discharge appear on the nose, then there are already more reasons for concern.

Here’s a basic list of symptoms that signal a cat’s temperature is out of order:

Chills: The animal is shivering, hiding under a blanket, or pressing against a radiator. Sometimes this is due to a short haircut for a typewriter. In the first week after grooming, the cat may be very cold. But if the coat is not trimmed, this is a reason to measure the temperature.

Hot ears: Feel your ear and look inside. If the skin inside your ear is red, you are probably dealing with an ear infection.

Behavior change: the cat becomes uncommunicative, hides in secluded places, or, on the contrary, clings to the owner and meows plaintively.

Shortness of breath and heart palpitations: The pet is at rest, but continues to breathe quickly and heavily. Sometimes a rapid heartbeat is noted after experiencing stress. But in most cases, this is a sign of a bacterial or infectious disease.

Weakness and apathy: the animal becomes lethargic, refuses to eat, drink, and outdoor games.

Dilated pupils: appear in everyday life due to stress, anxiety, sexual desire. But if there are no apparent reasons, they can become a harbinger of eye disease, the development of tumors, and inflammatory processes.

Discharge from the eyes, nose, or ears: Dark discharge indicates a viral illness, colds, or parasites. Suppuration – about the addition of a secondary infection.

Pain when urinating: the cat meows nervously, walks around the litter box, takes a tense posture. Most often, the problem is associated with urolithiasis or urinary tract infection.

Vomiting: indicates an intoxication of the body of worms. With a sharp drop in body temperature, sepsis is possible.

How to Measure Body Temperature in Cats at Home

There are two ways to measure the temperature of a cat: rectally or through the ear canal.

How to measure temperature rectally:

You will need:

  • high table or ironing board;
  • veterinary thermometer or conventional thermometer;
  • petroleum jelly or antimicrobial ointment;
  • towel;
  • antiseptic;
  • an assistant who will fix the cat in the correct position.

Step 1. Secure the pet in the correct posture: place the cat on a high table or ironing board in a prone or sideways position. Ask the assistant to fix the animal by the front legs and head.

If your pet is restless, use a pet or treat. Usually, body temperature measurement is painless, but shy and irritated cats may resist curling up in a ball or curling their tails. In this case, the animal is swaddled in a towel.

Step 2. Prepare the thermometer: wipe the tip of the thermometer with an alcohol wipe and generously lubricate with ointment or petroleum jelly.

In order not to injure the rectum if the animal begins to escape, use a veterinary thermometer or a regular electronic thermometer. The mercury thermometer is only suitable for patient cats.

Step 3. Insert the tip into the anus: lift the tail and use a gentle twisting motion. The thermometer is inserted to a depth of 2-3 cm.

To keep your pet from getting nervous, do not make sudden movements or raise your voice.

Step 4. Wait for the beep or follow the instructions for your thermometer model. Make sure the numbers on the scoreboard do not change. Gently remove the tip from the anus and treat the thermometer with an antiseptic.

If using a mercury thermometer, measure for 7 minutes.

Precautions: do not perform the procedure on your knees or on weight. Do not allow the animal to curl up into a ball and curl up its tail. In case of aggressive behavior, ask your veterinarian to take your temperature.

If using an electronic thermometer, allow for an accuracy of 0.1 – 0.5 ° C, depending on the model.

When the procedure is over, offer your pet a treat, praise, and pet. If done correctly, animals are relatively calm about the procedure.

How to measure temperature through the ear canal:

You will need:

  • high table or ironing board,
  • ear thermometer,
  • antiseptic.

Step 1. Prepare the animal: pet the pet and offer to sniff the thermometer. You do not need an assistant to measure temperature through the ear canal.

Step 2. Prepare the thermometer: treat the tip with an antiseptic.

Step 3. Insert the tip into the ear canal: fix the pet’s head and gently insert the tip until the probe is immersed.

Step 4. Wait for the beep, count 20 seconds (so that the numbers do not change), and gently pull the tip out. Finally, treat the thermometer with an antiseptic.

Precautions: Do not try to insert the thermometer deeply. This can deform the eardrum and lead to otitis media.

When the procedure is over, do not forget to pet the cat and offer a treat. If you do everything correctly, without unnecessary movements and nervousness, animals tolerate the procedure almost indifferently.

Why the Temperature is not Normal

Have you measured your temperature and got an unsatisfactory result? Check out the common causes of abnormalities:


  • Poisoning
  • Attachment infection
  • Neoplasms
  • Endocrine Disorders
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Damage by parasites
  • Urolithiasis disease
  • Inflammatory process
  • Allergy

Low Temperature

  • Internal trauma
  • Hypothermia
  • Low pressure
  • Cardiovascular diseases
  • State of shock
  • Intoxication

High Fever in a Cat

An increase in temperature (hyperthermia) is one of the pronounced symptoms of the development of pathology.

The critical temperature rises for life: above 40 ° C. This condition leads to dehydration and disrupts the functioning of organs.

At risk: kittens up to 3 months old and older cats over 10 years old.

Memo to the owner:

  • Do not use antipyretics from your own medicine cabinet: most medicines for humans are not suitable for animals.
  • Lay on a cooling mat or use an ice warmer.
  • Provide access to clean, cool water.
  • Go to a veterinary clinic.

Trying to bring down your body temperature on your own is unsafe. This can lead to the rapid development of the disease.

Low Temperature in a Cat

A drop in temperature (hypothermia) is much less common. This usually occurs after surgery, severe shock, or hypothermia. But if a decrease in temperature occurs for no reason, this is a sign of more serious pathologies that have developed in a latent form.

Critical temperature drop for life: below 37.5 ° C.

At risk: kittens up to 3 months old and older cats over 10 years old.

Memo to the owner:

  • Wrap the animal in a warm blanket or use a warm heating pad (usually placed on the neck);
  • Provide access to warm water;
  • Go to a veterinary clinic.

If you prescribe drugs yourself, this can lead to a distortion of the picture of the disease, an incorrect diagnosis in the clinic, and a deterioration in the pet’s well-being.

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