Fevers in Cats

Early last year, hubby and I had just come back from a one night trip away from home leaving Agent S and L behind with plenty of food and water. However, instead of them both coming to greet us at the door upon our return, only Agent L came.

We called out to Agent S only to find him in his basket drooling with a high temperature. We thought it was just a flu and brought him to the vet. He was given some antibiotics and sent home. After two days, his head seemed to get bloated and we knew it was not just a simple flu.

We brought him to the Animal Hospital where he was admitted for observation. He was severely dehydrated as he refused to drink or eat ( we suspect he had a bad sore throat) so the docs had to put him on a drip. It was heart-wrenching having to leave him there for about a week.

When we finally could bring him home, we also brought home a bill of over RM1,000 for all the medication and a week's stay. In Malaysia, pet insurance is not as common as in the UK or US. If we had pet insurance, we wouldn't have felt the pinch of vet bills. For example, www.pet-insurance.co.uk covers up to £4000 on Vet's Fees, offers 10% multi-pet discount and 35% introductory discount.

We don't regret spending that money on Agent S, though. His presence gives great meaning to our lives. Till today we don't know what triggered the fever, though. We just hope he won't have to go through it again.

Agent S enjoying some sunshine after a week in the hospital.

How can you tell if your cat has a fever? In humans, a kiss of a warm forehead may give you a clue. But you can’t tell if your cat has a fever by feeling for a warm, dry nose, as many people believe. The only way to know for sure -- with either a human or a cat -- is to take its temperature.

A normal temperature in cats ranges from 100.4º to 102.5º Farenheit. A fever in cats occurs when temperatures rise above 102.5º F. Although fevers may be helpful in fighting disease, a fever higher than 106º F can damage organs. Contact the vet right away if your cat has a high fever.

Causes of a Fever in Cats according to PetMD

An increase in body temperature above normal is called hyperthermia. Abnormal or unregulated hyperthermia in cats may result from being in a very warm environment or having increased muscle activity, for example. However, a fever is a specific, regulated type of hyperthermia. It develops when the set point is increased in the hypothalamus, a part of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat. A fever usually results when the immune system is activated by conditions such as:

A bacterial, viral, or fungal infection
A tumor
Injury from trauma
Certain medications
Diseases such as pancreatitis or lupus
A fever for more than two weeks with no apparent reason is called a fever of unknown origin (FUO).

Signs of a Fever in Cats

Diseases that cause a fever in cats can also cause certain telltale behaviors. These behaviors, which evolved in wild animals to help them survive illness, allow cats to conserve the necessary energy to produce a fever. Fevers fight disease by stimulating the immune system and slowing growth of bacteria and viruses.

Watch for these signs of a fever:

Loss of appetite
Lack of energy or activity
Decreased drinking
Decreased grooming
Shivering or rapid breathing
Your cat may also display other specific signs of illness, such as sneezing, vomiting, or diarrhea.

Cat Fever Care

Cats exhibiting signs of a fever for more than 24 hours or a fever above 106º F at any point need to see their veterinarian. The veterinarian may conduct tests to determine the source of the fever and take steps to treat the underlying problem. If a bacterial infection is the source, for example, antibiotics may be needed. Severe dehydration is treated with the administration of intravenous or subcutaneous fluids.

Never give your cat medication without the advice of your veterinarian. Some medications for fever, such as acetaminophen, are toxic to cats. (Yes, we've heard of pet owners giving their pets aspirin! Please DON'T! The pet's stomach will need to be pumped to get rid of the poison!)

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  1. Glad your cat felt better after a week's stay at the vet. My heart would have been broken too if our dog gets sick.

  2. It is hard when pets get sick. Plus, it is quite expensive to get them treated. That pet insurance is a good idea. I hope it catches on in different parts of the world.

  3. My dad loves taking care of cats too. They are so precious to their owner.

  4. It's great that you care so much about your cat. Too many pet owners aren't that in tune with animals' needs.

  5. Fever and diseases can be lethal to cats so it's nice that you had your cat hospitalized immediately.

  6. Thanks for your comments! Yes, when I was younger I always assumed that pets can heal on their own but since having Agent S and L living indoors with me, I've learned that they do need medication to heal faster to prevent the illness from escalating. Katsjourney, I totally agree with the Pet Insurance. I didn't realize there was such a thing until recently!

  7. Well, we don't have a cat, though we do have a dog. I wonder, do you think the symptoms for a pet flu would be similar with cats and dogs? Thanks for the info, learned a lot from this post.

  8. i never thought vet fees could get so high! >XO glad that your cat is safe now. :)

  9. I used to think dogs get sick more easily as compared to cats as cats are cleaner and seem to know how to take care of themselves. It's an eye-opener to know that cats get "flu" like humans do, sound silly huh? But that's the result of not having pets :/

  10. What a shame! I can totally understand how much we need to take care of our family members, furry or not! I hope your fur baby continues to be well. :-)

  11. This was very informative and I have noted your tips and signs. As a cat owner, I pay close attention to ours and this gives me more ways to keep an eye on his health matters.

  12. Joy Calipes-Felizardo, fevers in dogs differ slightly from cats. You can read more here: http://petsinblack.blogspot.com/2014/07/fevers-in-dogs.html Thanks, Tiffany, Yan, Suzanne, and Eliz. Vaccinations can cause fevers too. Agent L had a very high fever for 2 days after her first shot.