Can Cats Get Colds

Can Cats Get Colds

As humans, we all find the common cold more than frustrating. Sneezing all day with a runny nose and severe congestion can make the best of us pretty miserable. But the same applies to our feline friends. Cats can also fall victim to colds, which are known in veterinarian circles as upper respiratory infections (URIs). But what do we need to know about cat colds?

What Are the Causes of Cat Colds?

There are numerous causes of cat colds. While fungi and bacteria can cause them, the most common cause comes from viruses. 80% of cat colds come from the feline herpesvirus (FHV) and the feline calicivirus (FCV). Cats usually catch a cold by coming into contact with another cat who already has one of these viruses. Much like in humans, if the infected cat is sneezing a lot, the virus becomes airborne and is passively inhaled by the cat. It's also possible for objects like a water bowl or food bowl to transmit a URI.

Can Cats Get Colds From Humans?

Although cats are unlikely to get the human cold from us, it is possible for us to transmit the URI. If a cat has come into contact with our hands and we touch an infected cat, we can pass it on. This is why it's important, when we go to cat shelters, to wash our hands. Cat shelters are breeding grounds for a URI. And as kittens have very weak immune systems, they are more susceptible to cat colds.

What Are the Symptoms of Cat Colds?

Symptoms can take between 2 and 5 days to develop and the most common symptoms include sneezing, congestion, nasal discharge, conjunctivitis, and sometimes a fever. You may also notice a change in their meow; they may sound more hoarse or raspy.

How Do You Treat Cat Colds?

If you are concerned with your cat’s welfare, it is important to get in contact with a veterinarian. It is likely they will prescribe antibiotics, as this aims to reduce a secondary bacterial infection. But much like us, cats will recover from colds by themselves, which can take between 5 and 14 days. However, there can be more severe cases of cat colds which require stronger measures, such as topical eye drops or ointment for cats with inflamed eyes. Cats that have severe congestion and a poor appetite as a result of their cold may also need feeding through a syringe or are given appetite stimulants.

Can I Prevent Colds in My Cat?

While cats have been exposed to viral URIs during their kittenhood, there are vaccines available. But while vaccinating a cat against a respiratory virus does not prevent infection, it's still important to get your cat vaccinated so they experience milder symptoms.

As you can see, your cat will be susceptible to a cold. And while some cats may not recover from a severe viral infection and may have chronically congested breathing or sneeze very regularly, cats are fine in every other aspect of their lives if they have this issue. The most important thing you can do is get your cat vaccinated to prevent this common affliction in our feline friends.

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