Cats can develop colds (respiratory infections) that are accompanied by all of the same symptoms of a human cold. If your kitty has a runny nose or is sneezing they could have a cold. In this blog, our Sharpsburg vets discuss cat colds including the causes, symptoms, and when you should bring your feline friend to the vet.
How Do Cats Catch Colds?
If your kitty is sneezing or sniffling they could have a cold, which might be making you wonder how they got it and how you can prevent it in the future.
Similar to humans, cat colds are contagious. This means that outdoor cats are at a higher risk of getting the cold virus than indoor cats as 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 it spreads easily between cats (especially in crowded conditions) humans can't catch it. Therefore, if you have recently boarded your cat and they have started exhibiting cold-like symptoms, your kitty was around another cat that had an upper respiratory infection.
By boarding your cat with a reputable provider you 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 Symptoms of a Cat Cold?
If your cat has a URI you might notice them suffering from one or more of the cat cold symptoms below:
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
What Should I Do If My Cat Has a Cold?
If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel less uncomfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You can also run a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.
If your kitty appears to be stuffed up, making breathing a little difficult, put them in their pet carrier, place a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for approximately 15 minutes.
It's essential for your cat to keep eating and drinking so they can recover faster. 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 Should I Take My Cat to the Vet for a Cold?
Most of the time, cat colds are harmless and will go away in about 1-2 weeks. However, you must monitor their health, and if they don't show any signs of improvement by the fourth day, you should call your vet to schedule an appointment as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly can cause 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.
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.