Normal vital signs for healthy adult cats
- Respiration – 20 to 30 breaths per minute in a cat at rest
- Pulse – 130 to 240 beats per minute
- Temperature – 100 to 103 F (37.7-39.4C)
- Capillary refill time – 1 to 2 seconds
How to take your cat’s temperature:
This is really best to be performed with two people, one to hold the cat and the other to take the temperature. Let your cat’s behaviour guide you, if he/she becomes stressed or has a history of being difficult to handle when being medicated etc., then it is safer for you to seek the help of your veterinarian.
- Shake down the column of mercury until it reads 96F, then lubricate the bulb tip with petroleum jelly.
- Grasp the base of your cat’s tail and lift it.
- Insert the lubricated end of the thermometer about halfway into your cat’s rectum and hold it in place for 3 minutes.
- Remove the thermometer, wipe it clean with a tissue and read the silver column of mercury.
- Clean the thermometer with alcohol.
How to check your cat’s pulse/heartbeat:
- To check the pulse, feel for the femoral artery which is located close to the surface on the inside of the thigh at the groin.
- I found it difficult to find the femoral artery to check the pulse, another method which I found much easier was to feel the heartbeat. To do this press against the rib cage over the heart. With the cat standing, feel the pulse just behind the elbow.
- Either way, count the number of beats in 15 seconds and then multiply by 4 to get the total number per minute.
How to check your cat’s respiration:
One respiration is an inhalation and exhalation.
- Count how many times the chest rises and falls in a 15 second period. Remember, one rise and fall = one respiration.
- Multiply the figure by 4 to get the total respiration rate per minute.
Checking your cat’s capillary refill time:
- Lift up the cat’s upper lip and place your finger on the gum above the upper teeth, apply a moderate amount of pressure so that the gum turns white.
- Remove your finger and count how long it takes for your cat’s gums to return to their normal pink colour.
Assessing your cat’s gums:
Normal gum colour is a light pink (as in the image above). Gum colour can paint a picture of your cat’s health.
- Bright red gums – Heat stroke or gum disease
- White gums – Anemia, blood loss or shock
- Blue gums – Lack of oxygen
- Yellow gums – Jaundice
- Dry, tacky gums are an indicator that your cat is dehydrated
Comparative age of cats to humans:
|Human years||Cat Years||Human Years||Cat Years|
Gestation period in cats:
The gestation period for a cat is 63-65 days. This varies between cat though, and anywhere between 60 to 70 days is normal.
How to tell if your cat is pregnant:
Unlike humans, it is not possible to determine a pregnancy via a blood or urine test in cats. However, there are often indicators that your cat is pregnant, some signs include:
- By the third week of pregnancy, the cat’s nipples will become enlarged and pink. This is known as ‘pinking-up’.
- By the fourth week of pregnancy, she should have gained enough weight to make her pregnancy visible.
- By 3-4 weeks your veterinarian should be able to palpitate the abdomen and feel the babies.