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How To Take Your Cat's Temperature

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Taking a kitten's temperature

This kitten is behaving remarkably well for its first contact with a thermometer.

Franny Syufy
Your cat's normal temperature is between 100.4°F and 102.5°F. Higher temperatures may necessitate a trip to the veterinarian, depending on other symptoms.
Difficulty: Average
Time Required: 2 - 3 minutes

Here's How:

  1. Assemble supplies on your kitchen counter: human rectal thermometer, Vaseline or KY Jelly, watch or clock with second hand, and towel.
  2. Shake the thermometer down with a quick snap of your wrist to 96°F, then lubricate the thermometer with the Vaseline.
  3. Stand the cat on the counter and hold her securely with your left arm. Her face should be resting in the crook of your elbow with her tail end toward your right hand. If necessary, wrap her in the towel with her butt end protruding.
  4. Lift the cat's tail with your left hand while inserting the thermometer slowly and steadily into her anus, to a depth of ½ to one inch, with your right hand. You will feel her sphincter muscle tighten, then relax.
  5. Hold the thermometer there for two minutes while softly talking to her.
  6. Remove the thermometer and record the temperature.
  7. Wash the thermometer well with warm water and disinfectant soap, then store separately.

Tips:

  1. This project will be much easier if you have someone to hold the cat and pet it while you lift her tail and insert the thermometer.
  2. A temperature of 105°F is a dangerous level and your cat should be seen by a veterinarian immediately. If it's between 103°F and 104.5°F, you should call your veterinarian for advice.
  3. A digital thermometer will be easier to read, and will beep when ready to be read.
  4. If you find this project too messy, consider an ear thermometer.

What You Need

  • Thermometer
  • Vaseline or KY Jelly
  • Timer
  • Towel
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