How To Take Your Cat’s Temperature With A Thermometer

Cat treatment. Cat in a medical veterinary clinic. Thermometer on the background of the head of a kitten.

As a pet parent, you should know how to take your cat’s temperature. (Picture Credit: Alena Vikhareva/Getty Images)

If you research an issue involving your cat’s health, you’ll notice that a fever or high body temperature is often a symptom of an underlying medical condition. So, as a pet parent, you should probably know how to take your cat’s temperature.

But how exactly do you safely do this at home? And what sort of thermometer is best for taking your cat’s temperature?

Here’s what you need to know about how to safely take your kitty’s temperature at home with a thermometer.

What Type Of Thermometer Do You Need?

British cat lies on the bed with a thermometer. High quality photo

(Picture Credit: Oleg Prolat/Getty Images)

If you think that your cat is developing a fever, you’ll need a thermometer to accurately take their temperature.

There are two main types of thermometer to chose from: digital thermometers for the ear and rectal thermometers.

Digital thermometers for the ear include a display that will show body temperature readings. These types of thermometers work by inserting them into a cat’s ear canal. Just be warned that the presence of ear hair, debris, and wax can sometimes skew temperature readings.

Rectal thermometers need to be inserted into a cat’s anus to get a temperature reading. These thermometers may be filled with mercury, which will expand to register temperature, or they can be digital.

How To Take Your Cat’s Temperature With A Digital Ear Thermometer

Close-up of worried pet owner holding cat while doctor uses digital thermometer in its ear to check vital signs.

(Picture Credit: xavierarnau/Getty Images)

If you’re using a digital ear thermometer to take your cat’s temperature, you’ll need to insert it into your cat’s ear canal. Remember to be exceedingly careful when attempting this. You don’t want to risk damaging anything inside your cat’s ear.

When using a digital thermometer, manufacturers generally recommend that you hold it at a 90 degree angle to your cat’s head. This can help keep the thermometer stable and result in a more accurate reading.

Additionally, it can also help to swaddle your cat in a blanket or towel while taking their temperature to keep them still and calm. You can entrust a friend or family member to help with this.

Remember, never rush or force a digital thermometer into your cat’s ear. If they seem uncomfortable during any stage of the process, it’s best to stop and consult with your veterinarian for help.

Digital thermometers can provide accurate readings in ideal conditions, but it’s also important to know that the presence of ear infections can sometimes affect temperature readings.

You can buy a digital ear thermometer for your cat on Amazon here!

How To Take Your Cat’s Temperature With A Rectal Thermometer

Veterinarian taking temperature of cat, closeup

(Picture Credit: thodonal/Getty Images)

When using a rectal thermometer to take your cat’s temperature, you’ll need to lubricate the thermometer with a safe substance like baby oil or petroleum jelly. This is to help the thermometer slide in smoothly.

You’ll usually need a second person to help you when using a rectal thermometer. This is so that they can hold your cat in place and reassure them during the process.

When taking your cat’s temperature with a rectal thermometer, you’ll need to make sure to insert it very slowly and gently into your cat’s anus.

In general, you need to insert the thermometer around half an inch in; although, it’s always smart to ask your vet for advice if you’re unsure exactly how deeply to insert the thermometer.

After inserting a rectal thermometer into your cat’s anus, you may need to leave it there for two minutes so that it can accurately register your cat’s temperature.

You can buy a rectal thermometer for your cat here!

What To Look For

Normally, a healthy cat’s body temperature ranges from 101.0 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit. As a general guideline, a cat’s body temperature is considered to be too low or too high if it registers either below 99 degrees Fahrenheit or above 104 degrees Fahrenheit respectively.

If you receive a reading outside this safe range — or if you’re unsure about your cat’s body temperature in general — always consult your veterinarian for further advice.

After taking your cat’s temperature with a thermometer, whether digital or rectal, it is important that you clean it properly. Small medical alcohol wipes can be a convenient way to clean your thermometer.

Have you ever had to take your cat’s temperature using a thermometer? What tips do you have for keeping your kitty calm while taking their temperature? Tell us all about it in the comments below!