You might be surprised to learn that cats can catch colds just like we can. If you hear your cat coughing, sneezing or see them with a runny nose, chances are that's what's going on. Our Moreno Valley vets explain.
How Cats Catch Colds
Sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold, but you may be wondering how it happened in the first place. And, more importantly, how you can avoid it in the future.
Similar to a human cold, cat colds can be contagious. This is my outdoor cats are more likely to catch a cold than indoor cats. Outdoor cats are more likely to interact with other cats outside the home.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. It is not contagious for humans but easily transmits between cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you've boarded your cat recently and they now have a cold, it's likely your pet was near another cat suffering from a cold.
Signs & Symptoms Of Cat Colds
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- Reduced appetite
How to Care for Your Sick Cat
If your cat isn't feeling well, you can help them feel a bit better by wiping their runny nose and eyes with a clean cloth. It might also make them feel better if you run a humidifier to keep their sinuses from getting too dry.
If your cat seems to be stuffed up, making breathing a little difficult, secure them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
Your cat needs to eat and drink in order to get better as quickly as possible. Warm food might be more enticing to your cat as it can be easier to swallow. They also need to keep warm so you should provide them with extra blankets in their favorite sleeping area.
Never give your cat human cold medication or any human medications for that matter. Some medications can be toxic to our pets so always speak to your vet before giving them anything.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
Cat colds are usually harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly may develop into pneumonia.
As with humans, it's important to be careful with older cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions that may make them more susceptible to the effects of a cold. This is especially true of cats that are nursing, or that haven't been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, make an appointment immediately.
If your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.