What causes fevers in cats?

Posted by Edward Cruz on


In humans, a kiss on a warm forehead may give you a clue if someone has a fever. But how can you tell if your cat has a fever? Contrary to popular belief, you just can’t tell if your cat has a fever by feeling for a warm, dry nose. The only way to detect a fever, whether a human or a cat is to take the temperature.

Cats have a normal temperature that ranges from 100.4º to 102.5 º Fahrenheit. When the temperatures rise above 102.5ºF a fever in cat occurs.  Although fevers in cat may be helpful in fighting disease, a fever higher than 106ºF can damage the organs. Fevers fight disease by stimulating the immune system and slowing growth of bacteria and viruses but high fever is dangerous to cats. See your vet immediately if your cat has a high fever.

What causes fever in cats? An increase in body temperature above normal is called hyperthermia. A very warm environment or having increased muscle activity may result in abnormal or unregulated hyperthermia in cats. On the other hand, a fever is a specific, regulated type of hyperthermia. Fever develops when the set points is increased in the hypothalamus - a part of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat. These following conditions may activate the immune system resulting in fever:

Injury or trauma
Bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
Certain medications
Diseases such as lupus

There is also the FUO or the fever of unknown origin when a fever develops with no apparent reason for more than two weeks. You can check if your cat has a fever if he or she is showing these signs:

Loss of appetite
Lack of energy or activity
Decreased drinking
Decreased grooming
Shivering or rapid breathing
Feline Depression

Other specific signs of illness such as sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea may also be displayed by your cat.


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