How to Check Cat Temperature: A Guide for Pet Owners

Cats are adorable creatures that can make anyone smile with their playful antics. But when they are sick, it can be a stressful experience for both the pet and the owner. One essential aspect of caring for your cat is checking its temperature. A cat’s body temperature is a good indicator of its overall health. Elevated body temperature is a sign of fever, which could be caused by an infection or inflammation.

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about checking your cat’s temperature, including the tools, the steps to follow, and some best practices.

Why is it essential to check cat temperature?

A cat’s normal body temperature ranges from 100.5 degrees Fahrenheit to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything outside this range might indicate a problem that needs medical attention. Knowing your cat’s body temperature will give you an insight into its health status and help you diagnose any underlying health conditions early. If your cat has a fever, it may become lethargic, stop eating, and lose weight.

How to check a cat’s temperature?

Before we dive into the details and steps to follow, let’s discuss the tools required for checking your cat’s temperature:

  • A digital thermometer: You can get one that’s designed for pets from a pet store, veterinary clinics or online store.
  • Lubricant: An animal-safe lubricant or petroleum jelly can help ease in the thermometer into the rectum.
  • Cotton balls: Used to clean up if there is any stool or mucus sticking on the thermometer.
  • Clean towel or paper towel: To clean up any messes made during the measuring process.

The steps to follow when checking your cat’s temperature include:

Step 1: Prepare your cat

Prepare your cat by making it comfortable and calm. Choose a quiet and well-lit area away from distractions. Get a firm grip on your cat while placing it in a comfortable position. Check that the thermometer is clean and ready for use.

Step 2: Lubricate the thermometer

Apply a small amount of lubricant or petroleum jelly to the tip of the thermometer.

Step 3: Insert the thermometer

Gently lift the tail and insert the thermometer into your cat’s rectum, no more than 1 inch. Hold it in place for about two minutes.

Step 4: Read the thermometer and clean the area

After two minutes, remove the thermometer, and read the temperature. A digital thermometer displays the temperature on the screen. Clean the thermometer with a cotton ball dipped in alcohol or soap and water.

Step 5: Record the temperature

Record your cat’s temperature in a notepad, indicating the date and time of measuring. This step is essential to keep track of the temperature readings for any changes or trends.

When to check your cat’s temperature?

The following are some situations that may require you to check your cat’s temperature;

  • If its general temperament has changed, and it seems sickly.
  • If you suspect your cat might have a fever or is experiencing flu-like symptoms.
  • After vaccination, though some mild fever may result from the vaccine injection.
  • After surgery or any other invasive procedure.

Best practices when checking a cat’s temperature

Here are some best practices to consider when checking your cat’s temperature;

  • Always exercise caution and be gentle when inserting the thermometer to avoid any injury or trauma.
  • Always use animal-safe lubricant or petroleum jelly to avoid internal or external injuries.
  • Make sure the thermometer is clean before and after using it.
  • Always record the temperature readings, indicating the date and time to keep track of any changes or trends.
  • It is essential to contact your vet if your cat has a fever or shows any signs of discomfort.


Checking your cat’s temperature can be a bit tricky, but it’s doable with the right tools and mindset. With the help of this guide, you’re now well-equipped to take your cat’s temperature and monitor its health. It’s always essential to keep a close eye on your cat’s physical condition, and if you notice any alarming changes, don’t hesitate to contact your veterinarian for assistance.


Here are some common questions and answers related to checking a cat’s temperature;

Q: Can I use a human thermometer to check my cat’s temperature?

A: No, you cannot use a regular mercury or digital thermometer to check your cat’s temperature. You must use a digital thermometer designed for pets, which measures the temperature rectally.

Q: Can I use a rectal thermometer in the mouth or under the armpit?

A: No, it isn’t recommendable to use a rectal thermometer in the mouth or under the armpit because the readings won’t be accurate.

Q: How frequent should I check my cat’s temperature?

A: There isn’t a fixed number of times you should check your cat’s temperature. However, it would be best if you checked it whenever you notice a change in its behavior, eating habits, or if it seems sick.

Q: How do I maintain and store my digital thermometer?

A: Always keep your digital thermometer clean after use. It’s best to use soap and water and then disinfect it using alcohol or other disinfecting agents. Store it in a cool, dry, and safe place out of reach of your kids or pets.

Q: What do I do if my cat has a high temperature?

A: If your cat has a high temperature, it would help if you contacted your veterinarian immediately for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Here are some resources that can come in handy when researching more about checking your cat’s temperature;

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