While it may not be something we think of, cats are able to catch a cold just as any human can. Our vets in Lacey discuss what happens when your cat catches a cold and what to do.
How did my cat catch a cold?
It may be concerning if your cat suddenly has a runny nose and sniffles, but just as humans do, your cat is able to catch a cold. Outdoor cats which are can be frequently interacting with other cats are more likely to contract the cold virus.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) that is caused by bacteria or a virus. While this virus cannot be transmitted to humans is it very contagious for cats especially in small areas with multiple animals. This is the reason why sniffles may be most common after you have had your cat cared for at a kennel or boarding facility.
Reputable boarding facilities may hold higher standards when it comes to the care of your pet and the state of the facility so we always recommend ensuring that you research any facility thoroughly before registering your pet.
Cat Colds: Signs & SymptomsIf your cat has contracted a cold, some common symptoms they may experience are:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
How to Care for Your Sick Cat
There are a few things you can do to provide your cat with some relief while they have a cold. One of the ways you can help is by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth and tending to runny eyes using a clean cloth and saline solution. Adding a humidifier to the room that your cat spends time in can help provide relief from dryness.
If your cat is congested it can make breathing a little difficult. If this happens you can secure them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
The fastest way for your cat to feel better is to rest and continue to eat and drink adequately. You could provide them with meals that have been warmed up which may be easier for your cat to tolerate while they are sick. They also need to stay warm which can be achieved by providing extra blankets and a warm place to curl up.
Do not ever give human cold medication (or any medication without the advice of your vet) to your cat.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
Just as with humans, the best course of action for a cat cold is to let it resolve itself. This should happen within a week or two. Be sure to keep an eye on their health though, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a cold that does not improve and is not being treated properly may develop into pneumonia.
Senior cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions are also more susceptible to the effects of a cold so extra caution should be taken with these groups of cats. Especially if your cat is nursing or hasn't been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, make an appointment immediately.
If you notice signs that your cat is having trouble breathing, isn't eating or begins to cough please contact your 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.