Is it possible for a cat to catch a cold? If so, how can you prevent and treat it at home?
Did Your Cat Catch A Cold?
Learn how to prevent, detect, and treat the cat flu
One day you woke from the sound of a cute, high-pitched sneeze coming from your cat. While it’s probably nothing to worry about, as a caring cat parent you should read this post to make sure your fluffy fella stays strong and healthy!
We never really think that our pets can catch a cold as a human does. Sure, they’re better equipped at withstanding low temperatures, bacteria, etc but that doesn’t mean their immune system can protect them from everything.
In fact, many owners are completely oblivious to the existence of “cat-flu”, so they ignore all the obvious signs.
What are the most common symptoms?
The majority of virus strains that make cats sick are species-specific so humans shouldn’t worry about contamination.
That said, the symptoms are very much alike to the human flu:
Depending on the type of virus - most common are the feline herpes virus and feline calicivirus - these may change.
Secondary bacterial infections may also develop, causing more serious illnesses like pneumonia.
If you spot one or more of the above symptoms, it’s important to treat them as fast as possible to avoid any complications -- even though they’re rare.
How to treat a cold?
First of all, you should ALWAYS consult with your veterinarian if you feel your cat may have caught a cold.
A physical examination is more than enough for a diagnosis. If it’s deemed necessary, they could do a blood test and even an x-ray.
Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if there’s fear for a bacterial infection.
If it’s one of the common viruses, there aren’t any effective medications out there.
Your cat’s immune system can deal with them without any problem, especially with your help!
Nursing at home
You may have noticed that there aren’t many things a vet can do in this case. It’s up to you to ensure your cat stays healthy!
1. Create a comfortable and cozy environment
Like a human, cats experience the same fatigue and discomfort as their immune system fights the disease.
Even though it’s rarely suggested, it’s very important to keep your cat happy, snuggly, and warm.
Stress could actually weaken the immune system of a cat.
2. Take care of the discharges
Keep the nose and eyes clear, using salt water. In rare cases, kittens and senior cats are in danger of permanent eye damage
A vaporizer in the room could loosen the secretions, but letting your cat in while you’re bathing could do the trick as well.
3. Food and water!
Feed, feed, feed!
Because of mouth ulcers, many cats will simply stop eating and drinking altogether. That could lead to serious issues, from dehydration to liver problems. Providing fresh water and delicious, warm food could keep their appetite up!.
Also, their stuffed sinuses prevent them from using their highly delicate little noses, so food with a strong smell is recommended:
If you decide to go for dry food, mixing it with water is a good idea.
If your cat refuses to eat or drink water, you’ll have to hospitalize him before continuing the treatment at home.
As always, continue giving him any medication (antibiotics) your vet has prescribed
“What If I have more than one?”
While you can’t catch a cold from a feline, other cats are susceptible.
Even after treating the cold, a cat can still be a carrier. Keeping him separate for a few weeks could ensure the litter stays healthy!
How can you prevent the flu?
Similar to human flu, there are many different virus strains that make a cat sick. So, there isn’t one vaccination to prevent them all!
Usually, your vet will give him two dosages (plus boosters) for the most common and active strains for the year.
Keep in mind, that a vaccinated cat can still be a carrier, without showing the symptoms. That’s a particularly important detail to take into consideration when you introduce a new member to a healthy group of cats.
Complications and long-term effects
Generally speaking, a cold will usually go away on its own and you’ll quickly forget it ever happened.
But some cats develop chronic rhinitis. Basically, a runny nose that can only be relieved by antibiotics, temporarily.
In other cases, the dehydration and mouth ulcers may cause inflammation and soreness. A cat may develop gingivitis, and the extraction of teeth may be required.
It’s recommended to speak to your vet about the details and coming up with a long-term management plan.
How long the flu lasts?
If it’s treated properly, in about 2 weeks, your cat will be the mischievous, happy feline you love.
Your care and attention will play a big part in how fast he recovers. Plus, it’s important to have ongoing communication with your vet to make sure your cat is receiving the right treatment.
But what happens when the symptoms persist or get worse?
Allergies and irritants are quite common but there are more serious conditions you have to take into account.
Things like nasal polyps, chronic infections, and even a tumor can produce symptoms that resemble these of a cold.
There’s no need to panic. A visit to the vet could alleviate your concerns and help you figure out the proper course of action. The earlier you find out the issue, the easier it’ll be to treat it.
The cat flu can bother your furry friend for a few weeks…
… but it doesn’t mean he won’t be back on his feet!
Sometimes, our love for our pets makes us over-react and panic. This is why disproving the most common misconceptions about the common cold and what it can do is huge.
We hope you found this article useful. If you have any questions, feel free to comment below!