Cat colds are upper respiratory infections (URIs) characterized by many of the same symptoms as the human cold. If your poor kitty is sneezing or has a runny nose they may be suffering from a cat cold. Today, our Knightdale veterinary team explains more about cat colds and when it's time to call your vet.
Can cats get a cold?
As with humans, sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold, but you may be wondering how it happened in the first place. And, more importantly, how you can avoid it in the future.
Like the human cold, cat colds are highly contagious. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats because they are more likely to interact with other cats.
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 crowded conditions. So if you've boarded your cat recently and they now have cold-like symtoms, it's likely your kitty was near another cat suffering from an upper respiratory infection.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider could also help to reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and will make it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.
What are the signs of cat colds?
If your cat is suffering from an upper respiratory infection you may notice that they are experiencing one or more of the following cat cold symptoms:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- mild fever
- reduced appetite
What should I do if my cat has a cold?
It can be challenging to know what to do if your cat has a cold. You may want to try wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution to help them feel better. You can also run a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.
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 for your cat to continue to eat and drink so they can get better quicker. Food that is warmed up and easier to swallow might make this process more appealing for them. They also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.
Never give your cat human cold medication (or any medication without the advice of your vet). Always speak with your veterinarian to find out what they recommend to help your kitty feel better.
How will I know if my cat needs to see a vet?
In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly 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.
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.