Just like people, our cats can catch colds and display symptoms like running nose, sneezing and fatigue. In this post, our Pflugerville vets explain how cats catch colds, the symptoms, and what you can do as an owner to help your kitty feel better.
How do cats catch colds?
Have you noticed your kitty sniffing and sneezing? They might have a cold!
Just like with humans, cat colds are contagious among felines. This puts outdoor cats at a higher risk of catching a cold than indoor cats as they are more likely to come into contact with other cats. But don't worry, this cannot be transmitted to humans. Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by a virus or bacteria.
If you're boarding a cat for the first time, selecting a boarding provider with a good reputation can help lower the chances of your kitty having high stress levels, therefore lowering their chance of contracting the cold virus from another cat.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
Symptoms of a cat cold include:
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Mild fever
- Coughing (severe symptom)
- Reduced appetite (severe symptom)
What to do if Your Cat Has a Cold
You can make your sick kitty more comfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth damp with saline solution. Humidifiers are also beneficial so the dry air doesn't irritate your cat.
If your kitty seems to be having a little trouble breathing due to a stuffy nose, place them in their pet carrier with a bowl of hot water and cover the carrier with a towel for about 15 minutes. The steam of the water should help clear their sinuses.
It's very important that your cat continues eating and drinking so they can recover faster. If they are displaying a reluctance to eat, you might be able to make their food more appealing and easier for them to eat by warming it up. Your kitty also needs to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.
Never give human cold medication (or any medication without the advice of your vet) to your cat. Always speak with your vet to see what they recommend for your pet.
When Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?
Cat colds are typically harmless and will pass in 1 to 2 weeks. Do monitor their condition. If there are no signs of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet so the persisting cold does not 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.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.