Can You Use a Baby Ear Thermometer for Cats?

"You're going to put that where?"

"You're going to put that where?"

Taking Fluffy’s temperature is no easy task, but you have to do it if she’s been ill. The only way to get her temperature is the old-fashioned way: through her rear end. While baby ear thermometers work for getting your infant’s temperature or even your own, you can’t use them for felines.

How Ear Thermometers Work

Ear thermometers aren’t nearly as invasive as rectal thermometers or even oral thermometers, as you simply insert the sensor tip into the ear canal. These thermometers use infrared technology to measure the energy coming from the eardrum and canal area. For an optimal reading, first gently tug the earlobe to straighten out the ear canal as much as possible before inserting the probe. Cats do have ear canals, but they’re much longer and not as straight as ear canals in humans. Because the canal shape and length is so different in felines, the technology of ear thermometers won’t get an accurate reading for your four-legged pal.

What Can You Use?

While baby ear thermometers won’t work for Fluffy, you can use other types of thermometers available at any pharmacy. A digital thermometer or regular rectal thermometer is perfectly efficient for figuring out if your purring companion has a fever. If you’re new to taking your kitty’s temperature, you might be better off with the digital kind. A digital thermometer beeps when the reading is done, and it won’t shatter if you drop it.

Taking Her Temperature

In addition to getting Fluffy her own designated thermometer, you’ll need to pick up lubricant, rubbing alcohol and, optionally, plastic covers. Whether or not you’re using a protective cover, you’ll need to lubricate the tip of the rectal thermometer. Insert the thermometer into Fluffy’s rectum only 1 inch. Twist it to relax the muscles. Leave the digital thermometer in until it beeps. If you’re using a traditional glass thermometer, it’ll need to stay in for about two minutes. Make sure you clean the probe thoroughly with rubbing alcohol after getting Fluffy’s temperature. Taking your furry buddy’s temperature isn’t pleasant for you or for her. Have it done by a veterinary professional if you’re inexperienced.

Normal Temperature vs. Fever

Ideally, cats should have a core body temperature of 100.4 to 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, according to WebMD. If Fluffy’s temperature is above 102.5 degrees Fahrenheit, she has a fever and might be getting sick. Once her temp spikes above 106 degrees Fahrenheit, she can suffer permanent organ damage if you don’t get her to the emergency clinic right away. Fever can be a sign of infection, tumors, a side effect from medication or poorly functioning organs. Your veterinarian will need to do a thorough exam to get to the root of the problem.

 

About the Author

Melodie Anne Coffman specializes in overall wellness, with particular interests in women's health and personal defense. She holds a master's degree in food science and human nutrition and is a certified instructor through the NRA. Coffman is pursuing her personal trainer certification in 2015.

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