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What is Fever?

Because a fever is a symptom rather than a condition, diagnosis of its cause is necessary for successful treatment. Medical attention is required for higher fevers or fevers that last more than one or two days. Do not try to treat the cat’s fever at home as many medications are dangerous for cats and the underlying cause of the fever could be serious. 

Fever is a common symptom of infections, illnesses, some cancers, and various disorders. Cats are considered to have a fever if their body temperature is higher than 103 degrees Fahrenheit. A serious fever that requires immediate medical treatment occurs if the animal’s body temperature reaches 106 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. With these higher temperatures, cats can be at a high risk of brain and heart damage and even death. 

Fever Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$400

Symptoms of Fever in Cats

The primary symptom associated with fever in cats is a body temperature over 103 degrees Fahrenheit. Observable symptoms generally include flushing and lethargy. In cases of higher temperatures or prolonged fever, more severe symptoms may occur. The cat may demonstrate a variety of other symptoms based on the underlying issue causing the fever. 

Symptoms Include:

  • Elevated body temperature
  • Dry skin or mouth
  • Dehydration
  • Flushing or reddening of the skin
  • Lack of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Weakness
  • Lethargy
  • Rapid pulse
  • Panting or breathing fast

Severe Symptoms Include:

  • Behavior changes
  • Confusion
  • Shock
  • Seizure
  • Death
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Causes of Fever in Cats

A variety of medical issues can cause a fever in cats or other companion animals. Fever is a common symptom of many infections and diseases. In some cases, the cause of the fever may not be determined. Causes of fever can include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Viral infections
  • Fungal infections
  • Various parasites
  • Tumors or some cancers
  • Internal injury
  • Some medications
  • Poisoning or toxins
  • Immune-mediated inflammatory disease
  • Metabolic disorders
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Environmental causes
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Diagnosis of Fever in Cats

Diagnosing fever can be accomplished by taking the cat’s temperature. This is generally accomplished rectally, using a thermometer. The animal’s body temperature will determine if a fever is present. If a fever is present, further diagnostic measures will be taken to determine the cause. A fever is generally a symptom of an illness, disease, or condition. Be prepared to discuss your pet’s medical history and any symptoms you have observed. The veterinarian will conduct a full physical examination and may take samples of blood and urine for analysis. A full blood panel and testing for various infectious or inflammatory diseases will be required to determine why the cat’s body temperature is elevated. Veterinary staff may also use X-rays or other imaging technologies to look for signs of infections, injuries, or tumors. If, after extensive diagnostic effort, the cause of the fever cannot be determined, the patient will be diagnosed with a fever of unknown origin.

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Treatment of Fever in Cats

Little can be done to treat a fever until its cause has been determined. With lower fevers, the veterinarian may not even attempt to reduce the fever as it is normal for the body to raise its temperature in an effort to aid the immune system when fighting infections. Maintaining hydration and temperature reduction will be the primary focus when treating the fever and additional treatments will vary based on underlying condition. Hospitalization may be required for monitoring and treatment of your pet and could range from a couple of days to several weeks. Some common treatments include:

  • Intravenous (IV) Fluids:

    Fluid therapy is necessary if the cat is showing signs of dehydration. IV fluids combat dehydration, provide nutrients to aid with lack of appetite, and may assist in lowering the core body temperature slightly. This common treatment has a very low risk of side effects. 

  • Fever Reducing Medications:

    Some medications for pain relief and inflammation, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories like Aspirin, are effective for fever reduction. Never attempt to provide your cat this type of medication at home unless prescribed by veterinary staff, as it could cause severe reactions. To reduce the risk of serious complications, your veterinarian will determine the appropriate dose for your pet’s size and needs. 

  • Antibiotics:

    Infections are a common cause of fevers, making antibiotics a common treatment. This type of medication works to eliminate bacterial infections, so your veterinarian will not prescribe it unless the infection has been identified as the cause. 

  • Corticosteroids:

    This category of drug is used to fight inflammation, which is a common cause of fever. It may be used to treat various conditions that cause fevers and is often used in fevers of unknown origin. 

  • Surgery:

    In cases with severe infection, tumors, or certain parasites, surgery may be necessary to remove the cause. Surgery can put your pet at risk so your veterinarian will need to determine if this is the best course of action for your cat’s recovery. 

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Recovery of Fever in Cats

The prognosis for recovery from a fever depends on the underlying cause. In the case of minor infections or illnesses and some fevers of unknown origin, the fever will be reduced with treatment and the cat’s prognosis is very good. If the underlying condition is more severe, your pet’s recovery may take considerably more time and treatment. When your cat returns home, continue to monitor them carefully for return of the fever or other symptoms. If your pet’s condition worsens, return to the veterinarian for medical assistance. Be sure to follow all of the instructions provided by your veterinarian, including finishing the full course of medications even if symptoms appear to have improved or the fever has gone away. Your cat will need plenty of fluids to stay hydrated so ensure that water is readily available. Your pet will need to maintain an appropriate caloric intake while they have a fever, so some dietary changes may be required to support your pet’s recovery, including nutritious food or possibly high-calorie liquids. 

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Fever Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$400

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Fever Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

Need pet health advice? Ask a vet

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Ask a Vet

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Persian

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Five Years

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Unknown severity

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2 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Lethargic For A Week But Eating Moderately. Seems Out If It When She Wakes

Its been a week and have vet appointment but hesitant to take her

Aug. 6, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. Giving your description, I think having her seen by your veterinarian is the best course of action. They will be able to examine her, see what might be going on, and let you know if any testing or treatment might be needed. I hope that all goes well for her and she feels better soon.

Aug. 6, 2020

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burmese

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Two Years

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Unknown severity

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0 found helpful

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

My cat has been sleeping for two days and nights hasn't moved from the same spot i have to pick him up and show him to eat and drink very minimal went to kitty litter then can hardly walk, i wouldnt think that his in pain its more like he has no energy to walk i took him to a vet today and he had a temp of 40 and the vet gave him antibiotics we attempted to do blood tests but didnt get to as my cat was very angry so we are being told to come back tomorrow if his condiotion doesnt improve. Just wondering what your thouhgts are what could be wrong with him?

Aug. 3, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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0 Recommendations

Thank you for your question. He may have a viral disease, or an infection. The antibiotics may help if there is an infection, and viral diseases often start to get better after a day or two. If he is not showing any improvement today, having a recheck for him would be a good idea, as he may need fluids or anti-inflammatory medications. I hope that he feels better soon.

Aug. 3, 2020

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domestic Longhair cat

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Three Years

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Unknown severity

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Unknown severity

Has Symptoms

Fever, Lethargic, Not Eating Or Drinking

We took Floof to the vet yesterday afternoon because he had a cough and has not eating. He had a fever of 103.7F. They took x-rays and blood. White blood count was good. X-rays showed some lung disease. Her diagnosis was asthma and treated him depo-metrol. It is now 12 hours later and he is more lethargic then before and still has a fever. He is laying in the same spot by an ac air vent and isn't interested in water, food or treats. This is a very food motivated cat. I am very very worried about him. Do we need to take him to an er vet?

July 16, 2020

Owner

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Dr. Michele K. DVM

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Thank you for your question. I think that I would take him in to either the ER or back to his regular veterinarian, yes. He may need IV fluids or antibiotics, and he does sound like he does not feel good at all. I hope that everything goes well for him and he feels better soon!

July 16, 2020

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Nebula

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Domestic longhair

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3 Months

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Critical severity

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Critical severity

Has Symptoms

Fever
Lethargy
Not Eating
Reaction To Medicinw
Reaction To Medicine

My 3 month old kitten started acting really lethargic after putting some flea meds on the back of her neck. When she hadn't gotten better we decided to take her to the vet. Turns out, she had a 106 fever! We had to leave her overnight to get IV fluids, antibiotics, and steroids. Thank goodness by the next day her temperature had returned back to normal. She has been home a week now, and although she seems a little sluggish/ is still recovering I am hoping she will return to normal. Before she could not walk, eat, or drink on her own and now (although it may be slowly) she is able to do all three on her own.

Sept. 15, 2018

Nebula's Owner

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Kati

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Shorthair

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2 Years

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Fair severity

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Fair severity

Has Symptoms

Hot Ears

I have a healthy cat but today I woke up and she came to me and I touched her and her ears were hot does this mean she may have a fever? She is still eating and drinking her normal amounts but I don’t know why she got a fever

Sept. 13, 2018

Kati's Owner

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molly

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american black shorthaired cat

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3 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Not Drinking Water
Eating Alot Of Wet Food
Barely Walking/ Stumbling

my cat has cat lucimea a blind eye well not blind but her oral is flipped and we found her on the road so we thought it was normal so then we went to a vet. But then it turned out she had a fever but why the wobblieness in her back legs?

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Leo

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Shorthair

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2 Years

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Serious severity

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Sneezing, Drooling, Fever

Overnight my cat leo became very sick, woke up to him drooling and leaving his mouth open, he wouldnt eat or drink and would not move. Took him to the vet and they gave him a antibiotic shot, fluid shot and sent him home. He had a temp of 105. The next day he still had a fever of 104, took him back and admitted him, they gave him meds for nausea which stopped the drooling, and IV fluids w brought his temp down to 101, he came home and actually ate. Next morning he had a fever again of 104, admitted him again and started on second round of antibiotics. Cost me 700 so far. And im getting scared this will never end and im broke, not sure if i should keep him there another day or send out his blood work its the last 100 dollars i have left.

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Along

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Dominant

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6 Months

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Serious severity

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1 found helpful

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Serious severity

Has Symptoms

Fever

Hi, my cat had a fever and it’s weird when he wanted to stay in bathroom, before this, he scared of water but this time he doesn’t scared at all(I live in Malaysia, hot weather) He loose appetite and doesn’t want to drink water at all, yesterday my another cat die because of fever. This happen when my cat eat some dry food. Idk what to do anymore, we already go to vet take medicine but things become more worse and he die, today my another cat become like my passed away cat, I just hope my cat become healthy again, I don’t want to loose my cat anymore

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MeowMeow

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Siamese mix

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9 Months

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Moderate severity

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Moderate severity

Has Symptoms

Fever 205, Sore To The Touch (All O

My 9 month old siamese mix cat (male) has been lethargic for 5 days now. Hes very sore all over his body and yesterday he had a 105 temperature. Vet gave him a shot and sent home metacam and orbax.last night he was his old self..but this morning he is sore all over and I suspect his fever is back. Dr could not find any wounds or swelling but didnt run a CBC or blood. What is going on?

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Capote

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stray

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3 Years

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Mild severity

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0 found helpful

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Mild severity

Has Symptoms

Fleas
Runny Eyes
Fever Of 40 Celsius
Smelly Bottom

We found an adult cat on the street (dirty and mildly runny eyes) and decided to foster him. We took him to the vet for a check up. his symptoms/conditions were: -temperature of 40 degrees Celsius -runny eyes -fleas -and his bottom smelled (we personally attributed this to poor grooming because of his street life?) However, the vet immediately suggested FIP or Feline Coronavirus. This was done without any blood work or tests and solely based on the smelly bottom, fever and runny eye combination. She prescribed 5 doses of a wide spectrum antibiotic (don't recall name) and eye drops. However the cat has had very good state, eats, drinks, uses toilet, purrs loudly, wants cuddles. Not lethargic. His bottom stopped smelling the next day, we think because he had time and was relaxed enough to groom properly. Eyes much better since drops. My question is: in a cat with such good general state, is a fever and a smelly bottom not insufficient information to diagnose Coronavirus? Could it not be something else? We are continuing the antibiotics but will go to different vet for second opinion. Your input would also be greatly appreciated.

Fever Average Cost

From 369 quotes ranging from $200 - $2,000

Average Cost

$400

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