Cats, like people, can contract colds and display similar symptoms, such as sneezing and a runny nose. In this article, our Clearlake veterinarians will discuss cat colds, including how they are transmitted, and when it is necessary to take your feline companion to the vet.
How do cats catch colds?
If your cat is sneezing and sniffling, they may have a cold, and you might be curious about the cause and prevention of the illness.
Like human colds, cat colds are contagious, and outdoor cats are more vulnerable since they are more likely to encounter other cats. Cat colds are upper respiratory infections caused by viruses or bacteria that can easily spread among cats, particularly in confined spaces. Although it cannot be transmitted to humans, if your cat has recently been boarded, it's possible that they were exposed to another cat with a cold.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider can minimize your cat's stress levels and decrease the likelihood of them developing an upper respiratory infection.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
What to do if Your Cat Has a Cold
If your cat has a cold, you can provide comfort by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, cleaning their eyes with saline solution, and using a humidifier to add moisture to the air. If your cat seems congested, place them in their carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of it, and cover both with a blanket for 15 minutes.
It's crucial to ensure that your cat continues to eat and drink to promote a speedy recovery. By warming their food up, you can make it more palatable and easier to eat. Keep your cat warm by placing extra blankets in their bed or favorite spot to snuggle.
Do not give your cat any human cold medication or any medication without consulting your vet. Always check with your vet to determine the best course of action for your furry friend.
When Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?
Cat colds are usually harmless and will clear up within 1-2 weeks. However, it's essential to keep an eye on your cat's health, and if there's no improvement after four days, seek veterinary assistance to prevent the development of pneumonia.
Just like humans, older cats, kittens, and cats with underlying conditions are more vulnerable to the effects of a cold. This is especially true for nursing cats or unvaccinated cats, and if your cat falls into any of these categories, seek veterinary attention immediately.
If your cat begins coughing, experiences breathing difficulties, or stops eating, they require immediate veterinary care.