It might surprise you, but despite their fluffy fur, cats can catch a cold too! You can find your cat sneezing and sniffling just like a human would. If you think your cat might have a cold, here are some remedies and tips for nursing your feline friend back to health and other information to help prevent it from happening.
Cat Cold Symptoms
You think your cat has a cold, but what are you looking for to indicate that for sure? You know your cat's temperament better than anyone else, so if you believe they are acting out of the ordinary, symptoms of a cold might be on the horizon.
Cat disease symptoms including colds, are similar to those that a person would get. Typical cold-like symptoms are sneezing, watery eyes, sniffling, and a mild fever. Your cat might lose their appetite in more severe cases, so it is a good idea to keep an eye on its food and water bowl if you suspect them to be under the weather.
How Cats Catch a Cold
You might be thinking, where does your cat even catch a cold? Like most colds, they are contagious. That is why outdoor cats are more at risk of contradicting a cold than indoor cats.
Outdoor cats are interacting with other cats who could be carrying a cold. If you recently went on a trip, boarded your cat, and they came home with a cold, your kitty most likely was in contact with another flu-suffering cat.
Luckily you do not have to quarantine yourself from your under-the-weather kitty; a cat cold is not contagious to humans. So don't hesitate to snuggle, pet, and nurse your furry friend back to their old healthy self.
Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats
An upper respiratory infection in cats is the culprit of your kitten suffering from a cold. A cat cold is a combination of viruses, and sometimes your cat can be asymptomatic, meaning they don't show any symptoms at all.
The most common viruses to cause the cat flu are feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV). FHV-1 is a highly contagious strain of herpes in cats whereas FCV is when ulcers develop on the tongue and gums. Both viruses make up about 90% of the cause of a cat cold.
Kittens and old cats are typically most susceptible to getting colds. This is the direct result of a premature or weakened immune system. Cats who have underlying conditions or who have suffered colds from the start might have the flu dormant in their system. Unfortunately, these felines have a predisposition for a cold.
Cat Cold Remedies
There is no real cure for a human cold, and the same is true for a cat cold. If your cat has a runny nose or watery eyes, stay on top of wiping away any build-up with a clean damp cloth to make them feel more comfortable. Humid air can clear their nasal passages so consider a humidifier near them.
Staying warm is key, so make sure to have them inside at all times and secure them with a blanket when they are sleeping. If your cat seems to be having trouble eating, consider heating their food and feeding them yourself. Typically, warm food is easier for your cat to swallow, making it more appealing for them to eat.
Don't forget to keep their area that they sleep, clean, and washed daily, so there is no chance of re-infection. The main goal is to keep your cat clean, comfortable, and stress-free to fight off the virus and get better.
When to Call Your Vet
The majority of the time, there is no need to contact your veterinarian when your cat contracts a cold. Usually, rest and time are the best remedies for treating a cat cold. On that rare chance that you feel that your cat is not getting any better, it might be time to call your local vet.
Symptoms that would prompt a call to your veterinarian would include difficulty breathing, coughing, or stopped eating altogether. Your cat needs to be seen by an expert so the cold does not potentially turn into pneumonia.
It also might be a good idea to call your vet right away with a cat who already has underlying conditions. A cold can cause complications if there are already medical issues present.
How to Help Prevent a Cat Cold
Having a vet-recommended healthy diet readily available and clean drinking water is a great way to help your cat’s immune system stay strong. If your cat is accustomed to only indoors, it is probably a rare occurrence for them to have a cold, unless, of course, you had to board them for any period.
There is no way of knowing how many other felines your outdoor cat encounters, making them at a much higher risk for a cold. This fact proves more difficult to prevent their exposure. Consider letting them spend less time outdoors or somehow limit their radius to only your backyard.
Colds, in general, are not fun, but to see your beloved cat with a runny nose is upsetting. Remember to keep your cat indoors, warm, and feed when feeling under the weather.
It's essential to keep a close eye on your kitty once you see the first symptom. Monitoring them will help you determine if they are getting better or worse and if you need to call an expert.
We know you would do anything to make sure your precious kitty thrives, so follow these tips, and hopefully, they will be back to normal in a blink of an eye!