Q & A: Taking a cat’s temperature

Q: What is the most effective way to take a cat’s temperature at home?

A: Before taking your pet’s temperature, it is important to know what is normal for cats and dogs, as they have higher temperatures than humans. The normal temperature for a cat is 37°C to about 39°C.

Taking your cat’s temperature will be easier if you have someone to help you hold the cat. Use a digital rectal thermometer. Rectal temperatures are the most accurate, but if you cannot manage to get a rectal temperature you can try place the thermometer in the axilla (the area between the front leg and the body), but this does not always give you a reliable reading.

Lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly and then slowly and very gently (do not force it) introduce the thermometer about 2cm into the rectum. Leave it in for two minutes or until the thermometer beeps, and then read the temperature. If the temperature is abnormal or there is evidence of blood or diarrhoea on the thermometer, you should take your cat to the vet immediately.

Dr Vanessa Mcclure, veterinarian

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