Just like humans, cats can catch colds and develop some of the same symptoms like runny noses and sneezing. Here, our Snellville veterinarians explain how cats catch colds, the symptoms, and when you should be concerned about it.
How do cats catch colds?
If you notice excessive sniffing or sneezing in your cat, there is a chance they caught a cold. As colds in humans are contagious, so are cat colds. Outdoor cats or cats who spend a lot of time in boarding facilities are at greater risk of contracting a cold.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by a virus or bacteria. It can't be transmitted to humans but it can easily spread among cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you have recently boarded your cat and they have developed a cold, odds are your pet was close 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 & SymptomsBelow are some common symptoms of colds in cats. If you notice any of the following symptoms in excess, seek veterinary attention for your kitty right away!
- 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.
It's very important that your cat continues eating and drinking so they can recover faster. You might be able to make their food more appealing and easier for them to eat by warming it up. Your kitty also needs 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 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's important to be careful with older cats, kittens, and cats with other conditions that may make them more susceptible to the effects of a cold. This is especially true of cats that are nursing, or that haven't been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, make an appointment immediately.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.