Can cats get a cold?
If your cat is sniffling and sneezing they might have a cold and you might be curious how they caught it, and more importantly, how you can prevent it from happening again.
As colds in humans are contagious, so are cat colds. This puts outdoor cats at a higher risk of catching the cold virus than indoor cats because they are more likely to come into contact with other cats.
Upper respiratory infections (URI) are caused by viruses or bacteria. It cannot be transmitted to humans, but it is highly contagious among cats, especially in dense populations. If your cat has recently been boarded and has developed a cold, it is likely that it was in close proximity to another cat that has a cold.
Selecting a boarding provider with a good reputation can help lower the chances of increasing your kitty's stress levels making it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
What To Do if Your Cat Has a Cold
If your kitty has caught a cold, you can help make them more comfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You could also turn on a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.
If your cat appears to be stuffed up, making it a little hard for them to breathe, 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.
Your cat must continue to eat and drink in order to recover more quickly. By warming their food, you may be able to make it more appetizing and easier to consume. Additionally, your cat must be kept warm, so place an additional blanket in their bed or favorite spot 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?
Most of the time, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health, however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly can lead to pneumonia.
As with humans, it is essential to exercise caution around older cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions that may make them more susceptible to the effects of a cold. This is especially true for nursing cats and cats that have not been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, make an appointment ASAP.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.