Just like people cats can catch colds, their symptoms are even similar including a runny nose and sneezing. In this blog, our Tracy vets talk more about the symptoms, causes, and when to see a vet.
Can Cats Get a Cold?
Sniffling and sneezing are signs that your cat has a cold, and you might be wondering how it could have happened. More importantly, you could be thinking of ways how you can prevent it from happening again.
Cat colds are contagious just like human colds. Meaning outdoor cats are at a higher risk of catching 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 it can be transmitted easily transmits between cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you have boarded your cat recently and they now have a cold, it's likely your kitty was near another cat that was experiencing a cold.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider will reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and will make it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
How to Care for Your Sick Cat
If your cat has a cold, something you can do to help them feel more comfortable is wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth and wipe their runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. 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 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 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 can develop into pneumonia.
As with humans, it's important to be careful with older cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions that might 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.