Cat colds are characterized by many the same symptoms we get when we have a cold. Is your kitty sneezing, or do they have a runny nose? Then there's a good chance that your cat has a cold. Today, our North Asheville vets explain more about cat colds and when your cat should see a vet.
Can cats get a cold?
Yes, it's a fact, cats can catch colds. Sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold, but you may be wondering how it happened in the first place. And, more importantly, how you can avoid it in the future.
Just like colds in humans, cat colds are contagious and quickly spread to other cats that are in contact with the sick kitty. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats because they are more likely to interact with other cats.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. Cat URIs are not contagious to humans but easily transmit between cats, especially in crowded conditions. This means that if you've boarded your cat recently and they now have cold-like symptoms, it's likely your kitty was near another cat suffering from an upper respiratory infection.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider 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 signs of colds in cats?
If your cat is suffering from a URI you may notice that they are exhibiting one or more of the following cat cold symptoms:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- 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 more comfortable by gently wiping their runny nose and eyes with a clean cloth dampened with a saline solution. You can also run a humidifier in any rooms that your cat particularly enjoys spending time in, so that the air isn't too dry.
If your cat seems to be stuffed up, making breathing a little difficult, 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.
It's important for your cat to continue to eat and drink so they can get better quicker. 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.
Do not ever 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 my cat see a vet about their cold?
In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. That said, be sure to monitor your kitty's health, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet. A persisting cold that does not get treated properly could develop into pneumonia.
It's important to be extra 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.
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.