Many pet owners don't know cats can get colds, just like people. Cats may show similar signs, like sneezing and a runny nose. In this article, our vets at Meadow Vista will discuss what causes cat colds, what signs to look for, and how to treat them.
Can Cats Get a Cold?
Sneezing and sniffles can tell you that your cat has a cold. You might be wondering how your cat got sick and how to prevent it in the future.
Similar to how people catch colds, cats can catch them, too. Cat colds can spread from one cat to another. Outdoor cats are more likely to catch a cold because they often interact with other cats.
Cat colds are like upper respiratory infections in humans. Bacteria or a virus can cause them. Don't worry because you can't catch a cat's cold. But cats can easily give it to each other, especially if they live closely together. So, if your cat recently spent time with another cat with a cold, that's probably how they got sick.
Even though cat colds are usually not very serious, they can lead to more severe illnesses and infections if left untreated. So it's essential to keep an eye on your furry friend when they're feeling under the weather.
Signs & Symptoms of a Cat Cold
If your cat has severe or prolonged symptoms like those listed below, bring your cat to Meadow Vista Veterinary Clinic for a wellness exam.
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
Does My Cat Have Allergies or a Cold?
Allergies and colds have similar symptoms. Both can make you sneeze, get watery eyes, and wheeze or cough. If your cat has allergies instead of a cold, it might be a long-term problem that keeps coming back or happens during specific times. For example, if they're allergic to something in their litter, you might see them sneeze while using the litter box. Also, allergies can come with other signs like a troubled tummy (feeling bloated or gassy) or itchy skin, which are not usual for colds.
If your cat shows symptoms, and you're not sure why, it's a good idea to take them to the vet for a checkup.
Caring for a Sick Cat
If your cat has a cold, you can make them feel better by doing a few simple things.
First, if your cat has a runny nose, use a clean cloth to wipe it gently. If their eyes are watery, clean them with a cloth and saline solution. It's also a good idea to run a humidifier in the room to keep the air from getting too dry.
If your cat seems congested and is having trouble breathing, put them in their pet carrier. Place a bowl of hot water in front of the carrier and cover both the carrier and the bowl with a blanket. Leave them like this for about 15 minutes to help clear their congestion.
Make sure your cat keeps eating and drinking, as this will help them get better faster. You can warm up their food to make it easier for them to eat. Also, keep them warm by adding an extra blanket to their bed or their favorite resting spot.
Remember, never give your cat any human cold medication or any other medication without talking to your vet first. It's always a good idea to consult with your vet to see what's best for your pet.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
Most of the time, cat colds are not a big deal and usually go away on their own in about 1-2 weeks. But it would be best to keep an eye on your cat's health. If your furry friend doesn't start feeling better by the fourth day, taking them to the vet is a good idea. That's because if a cold is treated properly, it can become something worse, like pneumonia.
Cat colds usually start to clear up after a few days. So, if your cat has been sneezing and sniffling for more than 4 days with no improvement, it's time to pay a visit to the vet.
Just like with people, you need to be extra careful with older cats, little kittens, and cats who have other health problems that might make them more likely to get sick from a cold. This is especially true for nursing cats and ones that haven't had their shots.
If you don't care for a cat cold, it could become a more serious infection. So, if you have an older cat, a tiny kitten, or a cat with a weak immune system, you should definitely get in touch with the vet.
No matter what, if your cat starts coughing, has trouble breathing, or stops eating, don't wait around. Get them to the vet as soon as you can!
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. Please visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.