Why Touching Your Cat's Pads Or Nose Isn't A Good Way Of Testing For Fever

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Many people think that touching a bare part of a cat's skin, like their nose, pads, or ears, is a good way to determine if they have a fever. While these parts of the body can potentially be warmer to the touch while a cat has a fever, that doesn't mean that it's a good way to test your cat. Here's why it's not the best way to do it — and how you should be doing it.

Pads and Noses are Warm for Many Reasons

The main problem with estimating a cat's temperature by touching their pads or nose is that those are some of the only surfaces a cat has to expel heat. When a cat needs to cool down, most of the body doesn't sweat, so they have to rely on bare skin to lose heat.

Pads and noses can be warmer than usual when a cat has been sleeping recently or resting near or in something warm, like a radiator or a puddle of sunshine. In short, there can be many reasons for a cat having a temporarily warm nose or pads, but that doesn't mean a fever is to blame.

Taking a Temperature

The only real way to be sure if a cat has a fever is to take its temperature. The good news is, this can be done with a standard thermometer and just a little time. However, it's still not the easiest thing for many pet owners.

To take a cat's temperature, you need to use a thermometer rectally. Understandably, most cats aren't particularly pleased at having their temperature taken, so it's a good idea to use a towel or blanket to wrap around them, and keep their front end still. All you need to do is gently insert the probe of the thermometer into the cat's rear end and wait. You don't need to push it all the way in like people do when they take a temperature orally. If your cat's temperature is above 102.5 Fahrenheit, that means they're in fever territory.

What to Do if It's Elevated

If your cat has a fever, it's a good idea to get them to a veterinarian like those at Pittsburgh Spay & Vaccination Clinic. While mild fevers are often managed on their own by a cat, higher fevers can quickly become dangerous. Organ failure can occur after prolonged periods of high fevers, and without care, ultimately death. If you think your cat has a fever, it's better to get help than to try and care for them solely on your own.

Cats develop fevers just like humans do — to help beat a virus or other illness. However, fevers aren't the most effective way of beating bugs. If you think your cat is sick, visit a vet for help, especially if your cat's fever is high.