Like people, cats can catch colds with similar symptoms including a runny nose and sneezing. Today our vets in Bedford discuss the ways your cat can catch a cold, how you can help them and when you should bring them to the vet.
How Do Cats Catch Colds?
If you find your cat sniffling and sneezing they might have a cold. This can leave you wondering how they caught it and how you can help prevent them from getting one again in the future.
Colds are contagious among cats just as they are with people. So if your cat spends a lot of time outdoors they are at a higher risk of catching a cold from another cat than indoor cats.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. Luckily, people can't catch colds from their cat's but they can be easily transmitted from cat to cat especially in compact settings. So if you've boarded your kitty recently and they now have a cold, it's likely your pet was near another cat experiencing a URI.
To reduce your kitty's risk of catching a cold select a reputable boarding provider. At Fine Animal Hospital, we look after your pet as if it were our own. Click here to register your cat for pet boarding in Bedford and to learn more about the services we offer for cats and dogs.
Signs & Symptoms of Cat Colds
- runny nose
- watery eyes
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
How to Treat for Your Sick Cat
If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel more comfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You can also turn on a humidifier so the air is less dry.
If your cat appears to be stuffed up secure them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for approximately 15 minutes.
It's important that your cat keeps eating and drinking 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.
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 feline companion.
When to See a Vet
Most of the time, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. However, you do need to monitor their health, and if there is no sign of improvement after four days, schedule an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly can lead to pneumonia.
As with humans, it's important to be careful with older cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions that could make them more susceptible to the effects of a cold. This is especially true for cats that are nursing, or that haven't been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, book an appointment immediately.
In any case, if your cat starts coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.