How Do Cats Catch Colds?
Has your cat been sniffling and sneezing? If so, they may have a cold. You might be wondering how they caught it, and, more importantly, how you can prevent it from happening again.
Just like colds are contagious in humans, the same is true for cats. This leaves outdoor cats at a higher risk of catching the cold virus than indoor cats, since they are more likely to come into contact with other cats.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. While they can't be transmitted to humans, they can easily spread among cats, especially in close quarters. So, if you've recently boarded your cat and they have developed a cold, odds ar your pet was close to another cat that has a cold.
Today, we'll discuss cat colds, signs to watch for, what to do if you suspect your cat has a cold, and when to seek veterinary care. We'll also explain how choosing a reputable boarding company can help if you must board your cat for any reason.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
Here are some common symptoms of cat colds to look out for in your kitty:
- Mild fever
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
More Severe Symptoms
- Reduced Appetite
What to Do If Your Cat Has a Cold
If you suspect your cat has caught a cold, wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and their runny eyes with a cloth and a saline solution, may help keep them comfortable. You might also consider turning on a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.
If your cat appears to be congested or stuffed up, they may find it somewhat more difficult to breathe. Secure them in their pet carrier and place a bowl of hot water in front of the cage. Cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
It's very important to ensure your cat continues to eat and drink so they can keep ingesting nutrients and recover as quickly as possible. You might be able to make their food more appealing and easier for them to chew by warming it up. Check that your kitty is warm — put an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area for them to curl up on.
Never give your cat cold medication intended for people (or any medication without your vet's advice). Always speak with your vet to find out what they recommend for your pet's illness.
When Should I Take My Cat to the Vet?
Most of the time, 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 lead to 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.