Cats can catch colds just like people can. They even show similar symptoms to us like a runny nose or sneezing! Here, our Avon vets speak about the causes of colds in cats and when to get veterinary care.
How did my cat catch a cold?
Sniffles and sneezing may be signs that your cat has a cold. But, you might be wondering how they caught one in the first place! You may also be wondering how to avoid them catching one in the future as well.
Colds in cats are contagious, just like they are in people. This means that outdoor cats are far more likely to find themselves with a cold virus than indoor ones since they will interact with other cats more often.
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.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
- mild fever
- watery eyes
- runny nose
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
How to Care for Your Sick Cat
If your cat has developed a cold, you can help them to feel less uncomfortable by wiping their nose as it runs with a clean cloth and their runny eyes with a saline solution and cloth. You can also make sure the air isn't too dry for them by running a humidifier.
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.
It's important that your cat continues to drink and eat so they can recover as quickly as possible. Warmed food may be easier for them to swallow and make the process more appealing for them. Your kitty will also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket on their bed or other favorite areas so they can curl up.
Do not ever 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 to Seek Veterinary Care
In the majority of cases, colds are harmless to cats and your pet should recover within a week or two. You should monitor their health though. If you don't see signs of improvement by the fourth day of your cat's cold, you should make an appointment with your vet. A cold which persists for a long time without signs of stopping 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.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.