Cats can occasionally catch colds and can show symptoms similar to humans like sneezing and a runny nose. Today, our Douglasville vet team shares more on the causes of cat colds, and when to seek veterinary care for your feline friend.
How Do Cats Get Colds?
Just like human colds, cat colds are contagious. This means that outdoor cats that are in more regular contact with other cats are more likely to be infected by the cold virus than indoor cats.
Cat colds are upper respiratory infections (URI) caused by bacteria or viruses. Humans cannot catch cat colds, but these colds are very easily transmitted between cats, especially if they are confined to a small area.
If your cat has recently been boarded, and now has a cold, there's a good chance that your pet was near another cat suffering from a cold.
Choosing a reputable board provider can help to reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and help make it less likely that your cat will develop an upper respiratory infection.
Signs & Symptoms of Cat Colds
A runny nose, sneezing, sniffles, and watery eyes are all typical symptoms of cat colds. In more severe cases, cats can experience coughing, reduced appetite and fever.
Caring for Your Sick Cat
If your cat has a cold wiping their runny nose with a soft clean cloth, and clearing their runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution, can help to make your cat feel better. Running a humidifier in the house so that the air in your home is less dry, can also be helpful.
It's difficult for cats to breathe if they are stuffy. You could help your cat breathe easier by making them comfortable in their pet carrier, putting a bowl of hot steaming water in front of the cage, then covering the cage and bowl with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
Similar to when you yourself have a cold, your cat will begin to feel better more quickly if they continue eating and drinking. Some cats find it easier to swallow food that has been warmed slightly. Warming may also make the food smell more appealing to them and stimulate their appetite.
Try to keep your cat warm while they have a cold. Place an extra blanket in their favorite spot or in their bed, to help keep them cozy.
Never give your cat human cold medication! For advice on how to help your cat feel better and recover quickly from their cold, contact your vet.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
Usually, cat colds are harmless and go away within 1 – 2 weeks. Keep an eye on your cat during this time, and if there's no improvement by the fourth day, make an appointment to visit your vet. A persisting cold could develop into pneumonia.
Be extra cautious with older cats, kittens, nursing cats, unvaccinated cats and cats with other health conditions. If your cat falls into one of these categories and catches a cold, make an appointment with your vet immediately.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.