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Cat Facts & Normal Vital Signs


Around 20 - 30 breaths per minute in a cat at rest.

Normal temperature in cats:

100  - 103 F (37.7 - 39.4 C)

Normal pulse in cats:

130 - 240 beats per minute.

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. To do this,  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.

Check cat heartbeat

How to check your cat's respiration:

One respiration is an inhalation and exhalation. To check the respiration rate 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.

Comparative Age of Cats to Humans:

Human year  Cat Years  Human Year  Cat Years 
1 15 11 61
2 25 12 65
3 29 13 69
4 33 14 73
5 37 15 77
6 41 16 81
7 45 17 85
8 49 18 89
9 53 19 93
10 57 20 97

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.

Also see:

Cat symptoms   Dehydration in cats