How To Take A Cat’s Temperature
Many cats dislike having their temperature taken, but this plays a vital part in checking on their state of health, particularly if a fever is suspected. As with ourselves, there is some variation in what constitutes a normal temperature. This is generally said to be approximately 38.6°C (101.5°F), but it can be up to 0.5°C (1°F) higher, without this being a cause for concern. It tends to be elevated closer to this figure with kittens and young cats.
Q. Is the cat’s body temperature the same over its entire body?
No, the temperature being measured by the thermometer is its core body temperature. But at the exposed extremities of the body, such as the feet and tail, the body temperature is lower. This is actually what causes the markings of breeds such as the Siamese to be apparent. If a limb is bandaged, thus raising the cat’s temperature, the point coloration will become lighter as a consequence.
Q. Is there any danger in taking my cat’s temperature?
If your cat is very nervous, this may not be advisable, simply because it may struggle. Don’t force the thermometer in at an angle because there could be a risk of damaging the rectal wall. Move gently at all times, and be sure to use adequate lubricant.n ordinary human mercury thermometer is traditionally used for taking a cat’s temperature, although electronic readers are now increasingly preferred in veterinary practices. Suitable inexpensive mercury thermometers are available from most drug stores. Choose either a rectal thermometer or, alternatively, a clinical thermometer, also with a small bulb.
TAKING A TEMPERATURE READING
When taking the reading, it will be easier and safer if you have someone else who can restrain the cat, leaving you to concentrate on taking its temperature.
Start by preparing the thermometer in order to minimise the stress on your cat. Be sure to shake this down, as it could already be registering a high figure. You will need to lubricate the bulb and up to a third of the stem with some vegetable oil or petroleum jelly, to minimise the discomfort for your cat, as the rectum will be dry. You may still encounter some resistance when you slide the thermometer into the body, because of the sphincter muscles. Rotating the bulb gently should help it to pass through these obstructions. Move carefully and slowly, stopping once a third of the thermometer is within the cat’s body. Then tilt it slightly to one side, so that it will be in contact with the rectal wall.
The thermometer needs to stay in place for a minute or so, after which, you should withdraw it carefully, wipe it on a piece of cotton wool and read it in a good light. Finally, disinfect and shake it down, so that it will be ready for use again in the future.
A typical mercury thermometer can be used for taking a cat’s temperature. You need to take great care when using a mercury thermometer and follow the correct procedure. If you are nervous about using this type of thermometer, it’s best to leave it to your vet.
When taking a cat’s temperature, it helps if you tilt the cat’s body so that it is resting on its front legs, with its hindquarters raised.
You should be careful not to drop the thermometer, because mercury is poisonous and can be absorbed into the body through the skin. It forms into little globules however, which make it easier to clean up after an accident, rather than flowing like a typical liquid.
Once the thermometer is inserted into your cat’s body, you should not let go of it. Hold the end between the tips of your fingers. Should your cat then escape, this means it will not run off with the thermometer still inside its body.