Cats do occasionally catch colds, and may display symptoms similar to people such as sneezing and a runny nose. Here's more from our Waxhaw vet on the causes of cat colds, and when to seek veterinary care for your feline friend.
How did my cat catch a cold?
Just like human colds, cat colds are contagious. Which means that outdoor cats, that are in more regular contact with other cats, are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats.
Cat colds are upper respiratory infections (URI) caused by bacteria or viruses. Humans cannot catch cat colds, but these colds are very easily transmitted between cats, especially if they are confined to a small area.
If your cat has recently been boarded, and now has a cold, there's a good chance that your pet was near another cat suffering from a cold.
Choosing a reputable board provider can help to reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and help make it less likely that your cat will develop an upper respiratory infection.
Signs & Symptoms of Cat Colds
A runny nose, sneezing, sniffles, and watery eyes are all typical symptoms of cat colds. In more severe cases, cats can experience coughing, reduced appetite and fever.
Caring for Your Sick Cat
If your cat has a cold wiping their runny nose with a soft clean cloth, and clearing their runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution, can help to make your cat feel better. Running a humidifier in the house so that the air in your home is less dry, can also be helpful.
It's difficult for cats to breathe if they are stuffed up. You may be able to help your cat breathe more easily by securely placing them in their pet carrier, putting a bowl of hot steaming water in front of the cage, then covering the cage and bowl with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
Your cat will begin to feel better more quickly if they continue eating and drinking. Some cats find it easier to swallow food that has been warmed slightly. Warming may also make the food smell more appealing to them.
Try to keep your cat warm while they have a cold. Place an extra blanket in their favourite spot or in their bed, to help keep them cozy.
Never give your cat human cold medication! For advice on how to help your cat feel better and recover quickly from their cold, contact your vet.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
In most cases cat colds are harmless and go away within 1-2 weeks. Keep an eye on your cat's cold, if there's no improvement by the fourth day, make an appointment to visit your vet. A persisting cold could develop into pneumonia.
Be extra cautious with older cats, kittens, nursing cats, unvaccinated cats and cats with other health conditions. If your cat falls into one of these categories and develops a cold, make an appointment with your vet immediately.