High temperature (fever) in cats
- A high temperature (fever) usually means something is wrong.
- If your cat has a high temperature you may notice them eating less, drinking less, that they are hot to touch, obviously unwell, low in energy, or that they just don’t seem themselves.
- A high temperature can be caused by many different conditions ranging from minor to very serious.
- Contact your vet if you think your cat has a high temperature.
If you think your cat may have a temperature it’s always safest to contact your vet for advice. It’s very unlikely that the COVID-19 virus will be the cause, see our information on coronavirus in pets for more details.
General information and symptoms
Normal body temperature for a cat ranges between 38-39°C, if it rises above the normal range your cat is likely to feel unwell and become lethargic (low in energy).
A high temperature can be caused by many different conditions ranging from minor to very serious problems. If your cat has a high temperature, you may notice that they feel hot to touch (especially their feet, ears or face), hide away, not want to eat, shiver and breathe more quickly than usual.
- Infections and abscesses - especially cat bite abscesses.
- Pain or inflammation (swelling) - due to conditions such as a urine infection.
- Pyrexia of unknown origin - high temperature with no obvious cause.
- Poisons/toxins - such as insecticides and slug pellets can cause muscle tremors and a high temperature.
- Heatstroke - cats stuck inside hot spaces can become dangerously overheated.
- Stress - cats can get easily stressed which sometimes raises body temperature.
- Medicine reactions - can cause a high temperature.
- Obesity - overweight cats find it more difficult to lose body heat so become overheated more easily.
'Pyrexia (which means high temperature) of unknown origin’ means your cat has a high temperature with no obvious cause. This is a tricky condition to treat. It can take some time, and several different tests before a cause is found and the correct treatment is started. It’s very common to never find the cause but the high temperature to get better in a short space of time.
Published: April 2020
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Written by vets and vet nurses. This advice is for UK pets only.
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