What To Do If My Cat Has A Cold: Flu and Cold Symptoms


Our feline friends can catch a cold just like us and show symptoms such as sneezing and runny nose. Your cat has caught a cold. So how can you help him? In which situations should you seek veterinary support? We have prepared the answers to these and many more frequently asked questions for you.

What is the common cold in cats? What are the causes?

The common cold, sometimes called a cold, is an upper respiratory infection caused by various bacteria or viruses, not from cold or getting wet. The common cold, which is often confused with the flu, is caused by various pathogens. Calicivirus and feline herpes virus are the two most common causes of the common cold.

Is the common cold contagious? How is it found?

The common cold is a highly contagious disease among cats as well as humans. The pathogen is usually transmitted by a cat inhaling, swallowing airborne droplets, or coming into contact with contaminated objects.

The incidence of infection is higher in places where cat communities such as shelters are dense. Of course, domestic cats are also at risk of catching a cold. Even when you come home and interact with your cat after close contact with a sick cat outdoors, your feline friend can be exposed to pathogens.

Can cats get colds from humans?

No, colds cannot be passed from cats to humans. The viruses that cause the infection are unique to one species and cannot live in a different host.

Can cats get colds from humans?

No, cats cannot catch colds from humans. The majority of these viruses tend to be unique to one species. Some bacterial infections can be transmitted to humans and cats, but the incidence is very rare.

Can dogs catch colds from cats?

Cats cannot transmit colds to dogs. The reason for this is that the bacteria and viruses that cause colds in cats are unique to cats and only reside in cats.

In a little more detail, we can cite two of the most common viruses that cause the common cold in cats. These are feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. The word “cat” in virus names indicates that they are specific to cats only. It’s also possible for cats to develop colds due to bordetella and chlamydia. But in this case, dogs are more likely to transmit these pathogens to cats.

What are the symptoms of a cold in cats?

Common cold symptoms in cats are usually:

Nasal congestion or sniffling
runny nose
flowing eyes
more severe symptoms

Shortness of breath
prolonged loss of appetite
enlarged lymph nodes
Ulcers (especially on the tongue)
High fever
It is possible for these symptoms to be observed for a week or two.

cat colds

Can cats get sick from cold weather? Are cats at risk of catching a cold in cold weather?

In fact, cold weather has no direct relationship with diseases. Cold weather is usually not a cause of illness, except in cases such as hypothermia. The defense system is weakened for some reason and is insufficient to fight viruses. In such a case, cold weather can trigger an underlying problem.

We can explain this situation in more detail; Cold weather further tires the immune system of a cat that has poor shelter conditions and cannot be fed. Because a cat with low immunity and stress is more susceptible to viruses and bacteria, the risk of catching a cold in adverse weather conditions increases. But for a healthy cat that is adequately fed and sheltered, cold weather does not pose a risk of catching a cold.

How to prevent colds in cats?

Regular vaccination is the surest way to prevent pathogens that can cause cat colds. Combination vaccine, which is in the basic category and should be done regularly, stimulates your cat’s immunity against pathogens such as calicivirus and feline herpes virus. Even if a vaccinated cat does catch a cold, it will recover relatively quickly and develop milder symptoms than other cats.

Apart from vaccination, secondary ways of preventing colds in your cat are possible:

  • One thing that applies not only to colds but also to other diseases: your cat should stay away from infected cats and cats with unknown vaccination / health history! Therefore, keep your little friend indoors as much as possible; Even if there is a routine to go out, it will be healthier to walk him with a body leash. Being with him on his walks will keep his contact with cats to a minimum. In addition, I would definitely recommend that our little friend not go out alone when there are many other dangers such as car accidents outside. However, cats that go out regularly should be vaccinated. At this point, let us emphasize once again the importance of regular vaccination.
  • Keep your cat’s living space as clean as possible and make sure the environment is adequately ventilated.
  • Feeding your cat with a diet plan that strengthens the immune system and supports its general health plays a helpful role in preventing not only the common cold but also many diseases.
cat flu

How is the common cold in cats diagnosed?

It is fairly easy to diagnose and diagnose based on the common symptoms of the common cold in cats. However, if your doctor suspects a different bacterial / viral infection or disease, he or she may refer to other tests and examinations.

How to treat a cold in cats?

In simple cases of cat colds, the veterinarian will usually prescribe a treatment aimed at improving clinical symptoms. Although there is no specific treatment for the common cold, it is possible to alleviate existing symptoms and cure secondary bacterial infections with drug therapy. You may be prescribed ointments for your cat’s runny eyes, antibiotics for suspected bacterial infections, or antiviral medications for severe viral infections. In more severe cases, fluid, oxygen and nutritional supplementation may be necessary to increase hydration.

How can you care for your cat with a cold / flu at home?
If your cat has cold symptoms but is in good general condition, you can make her more comfortable with a few supportive care at home.

  • Let your cat rest and start by creating a calm, warm, comfortable environment at home.
  • Gently wipe her face with a damp, warm cloth to clean around her runny nose and eyes.
  • Choose dense, high-quality and flavored foods that your cat likes, as nasal congestion will reduce your cat’s sense of smell. This step will make your cat more interested in his food.
  • You should not give your cat any cold medicine without consulting your veterinarian. The way cats metabolize drugs is very different from humans. Medicines that are simple and safe for humans are highly toxic to cats. Although the symptoms are similar to those in humans, the treatment and medications are just as different.

Cat colds usually resolve on their own with supportive care. If your cat is sick enough to need medication, you should definitely contact your veterinarian.

In which cases should you consult a veterinarian?
In most cases, the common cold does not pose a threat and resolves within 1-2 weeks with supportive care. However, if the symptoms do not get better with each passing day, an untreated cold can even lead to pneumonia.

There is usually no veterinary urgency if your cat only has symptoms such as mild discharge, sneezing and nothing else. But there are some symptoms that require urgent veterinary support.

Symptoms that require you to contact your veterinarian without wasting time are as follows:

  • Difficulty breathing (this is a very serious and urgent condition)
  • Cough
  • Excessive or pus-like discharge from the nose or eyes
  • Loss of appetite and not eating at all for more than a day
  • Ulcers on the tongue and mouth
  • lethargy and depression

If you observe one or more of these symptoms in your cat, you should immediately go to your veterinarian. Especially cough, difficulty in breathing and not eating are very serious symptoms. These symptoms should be considered not only in the common cold but also in other diseases. In addition, cats with a weak immune system due to kittens, old age, pregnant or other reasons can suffer from even a simple disease more severely.

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