We were recently asked if cats get colds, and how do you know if they have one or not?
Cats can indeed get colds just like us humans do, and most of these illnesses will give you nothing to worry about.
It is feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus that are the most common causes of cat flu.
Your cat, like most of us when we feel under the weather, will show some changes in his or her usual behavior when sick.
It is never a bad idea to monitor any unusual behavior your cat exhibits when you suspect a problem.
This will make it easier in case you have to relay any symptoms to your vet on the phone.
What Are The Symptoms of Colds in Cats?
The most common symptoms are coughing, sneezing, weezing, discharges from the cat’s nose.
If you notice any of these symptoms it will be a strong indication that your cat has a cold.
Lasting seven to ten days, other cold symptoms can include:
- watery eyes
- loss of appetite
- loss of the sense of smell
Most colds in felines will clear up on their own; fought off by the cat’s immune system.
However, some upper respiratory infections can be more serious than the common cold.
And will need to be diagnosed and treated.
Also, any bacterial infections might affect your pet’s health, and usually require medication to treat effectively.
How to Diagnose a Cat Cold
Your veterinary provider will be able to take a culture from your cat’s nose, throat or mouth to make a diagnosis.
The nasal passages of the infected cat will be examined confirming the cause of any runny nose or nasal discharge.
Colds that cats catch are not transmissible to humans, but can be very contagious to other cats.
How to Treat a Cat Cold
Have plenty of food and water available for your sick cat.
A good diet will help ensure a quicker recovery.
If your cat is having trouble breathing, or is stuffed up, placing a humidifier in their space will be helpful.
Clean any excretions from around your pet’s nose and mouth.
This will also be psychologically helpful since cats don’t like being dirty.
It is also important to keep your cat warm and dry during this period of recovery.
When To See a Vet
If you have an older cat, or your pet has other underlying health conditions then it is better to call your vet right away.
A good rule of thumb is that if your cat is not improving by the fourth day then that is a good time to see your vet.
However, as always, if your pet is exhibiting severe difficulty call a veterinary professional immediately.