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Can Cats Get a Cold?

Can Cats Get a Cold?

If you've ever wondered whether cats can get a cold, the resounding answer is 'yes'. Today, our Richmond veterinarians explain how to help your feline friend feel better and when to seek veterinary care. 

I Think My Cat Has a Cold - What Should I Do

Your cat may sniffle or sneeze if they have a cold. Cat colds are triggered by an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by a virus or bacteria. 

Similar to human colds, cat colds are contagious. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats since they will be more likely to interact with other cats. the same goes for cats that spend time in boarding facilities. 

It's important to know that cat colds cannot be transmitted to humans (and conversely, you cannot transmit a human cold to a cat). 

What are Signs of Colds in Cats?

Your cat may be suffering from a URI if you find that they are showing one or more of these cat cold symptoms:

  • Mild fever 
  • Sniffles
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes 
More Severe Symptoms 
  • Coughing
  • Reduced appetite 

Does My Cat Have Allergies or a Cold?

It is possible for pets to experience seasonal or environmental allergies. The trigger may be a plant's pollen or something that's used in the home, such as household cleaners or perfume. 

Allergy relief supplements recommended by your vet may help to alleviate seasonal allergy symptoms. You may also need to install an air filter to keep your house free of allergens and dedicate an area in your home for your kitty, without open windows or allergens to irritate their system. 

If you suspect your cat is experiencing seasonal allergies, make an appointment with your veterinarian to have them tested and identify the specific allergy. 

What to Do If Your Cat Has a Cold

If your cat has a cold, wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth may help them to feel more comfortable. For runny eyes, use a cloth and saline solution. You might also consider running a humidifier to help make the air less dry. 

Is your cat stuffed up? They may be having difficulty breathing. You can secure them in a pet carrier, place a bowl of hot water in front of the cage and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes. 

It's important that your cat continues to eat and drink so they gain strength and feel better quicker. Warming up their food and choosing food that's easier to swallow can make this process more appealing to them. Also, make sure they stay warm - you may wish to place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to nap. 

Never give human cold medication (or provide any medication without your veterinarian's advice) to your cat. Always speak to your vet to learn what they recommend for your pet. 

How will I know if my cat needs to see a vet?

In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away on their within 1-2 weeks. However, if you notice your cat's cold isn't getting better or is worsening by the fourth day of their infection, you should bring them to the vet. In some cases, cat colds may develop into pneumonia, particularly if your cat is a kitten, a senior, or is immunocompromised. 

In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating or drinking, 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.

Does your cat have a cold that isn't improving? Contact our Richmond vets at Broad Street Veterinary Hospital to book an appointment for your four-legged friend. 

Looking for a new vet? We are accepting new patients! 

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