can cats get colds (A Guide for Cat Owners)

 Can Cats Get Colds

Cats are adorable and cuddly creatures, but they can also get sick just like humans. One of the most common illnesses that cats can suffer from is a cold, which is a respiratory infection that affects their nose, throat, and eyes. Colds in cats can be caused by various viruses and bacteria, and they can be contagious to other cats or even humans. In this article, we will explain what a cold is, how to tell if your cat has a cold, what causes colds in cats, how to treat colds in cats, and how to prevent colds in cats.

cats get colds

Introduction

A cold is a general term for a respiratory infection that causes inflammation and irritation of the mucous membranes in the nose, throat, and eyes. Colds in cats can have similar symptoms to colds in humans, such as sneezing, nasal discharge, watery eyes, fever, lethargy, loss of appetite, and coughing. However, unlike humans, cats do not have a specific season for catching colds. They can get colds at any time of the year, especially if they are exposed to other sick cats or environmental factors that weaken their immune system.

Colds in cats are usually not life-threatening, but they can be very uncomfortable and distressing for your cat. They can also lead to secondary infections or complications, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis, or eye ulcers. Therefore, it is important to recognize the signs of a cold in your cat and take appropriate measures to help them recover. Here are some general tips on how to prevent and treat colds in cats:

  • Keep your cat indoors and away from other sick cats or potential sources of infection
  • Provide your cat with clean and fresh water and food
  • Keep your cat warm and comfortable
  • Monitor your cat’s temperature and behavior
  • Consult your vet if your cat’s symptoms persist or worsen
  • Follow your vet’s instructions on medication or supplements
  • Do not give your cat human medication or home remedies without consulting your vet

How to Tell If Your Cat Has a Cold

The signs of a cold in cats can vary depending on the type and severity of the infection. However, some of the most common symptoms are:

Sneezing: This is one of the first and most obvious signs of a cold in cats. Your cat may sneeze frequently or violently, sometimes with mucus or blood coming out of their nose.

Nasal discharge: Your cat may have a runny or stuffy nose with clear, yellow, green, or brown discharge. This can make it hard for your cat to breathe or smell their food.

Watery eyes: Your cat may have red, swollen, or watery eyes with clear or colored discharge. This can indicate an eye infection or irritation caused by the cold virus or bacteria.

Fever: Your cat may have a higher-than-normal body temperature, which can make them feel hot or shivery. The normal temperature range for cats is between 100.4°F and 102.5°F (38°C and 39.2°C). You can check your cat’s temperature using a rectal thermometer or an ear thermometer designed for pets.

Lethargy: Your cat may be less active or playful than usual. They may sleep more or hide in a quiet place. They may also show signs of pain or discomfort when you touch them.

Loss of appetite: Your cat may lose interest in their food or water. This can lead to dehydration or weight loss if left untreated.

Coughing: Your cat may cough occasionally or persistently, sometimes with phlegm or blood coming out of their mouth. This can indicate a lower respiratory infection that affects their lungs or bronchi.

If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, you should contact your vet as soon as possible. Your vet will examine your cat and perform some tests to determine the cause and severity of the infection. They will also prescribe the best treatment for your cat based on their condition and medical history.

What Causes Colds in Cats

colds in cats

Colds in cats are usually caused by viral or bacterial infections that affect their upper respiratory tract (nose, throat, and eyes). Some of the most common viruses and bacteria that can cause colds in cats are:

Feline herpesvirus (FHV): This is a highly contagious virus that can cause severe respiratory infections in cats. It can also cause eye ulcers, conjunctivitis, corneal scarring, and chronic eye problems. FHV can remain dormant in some cats and reactivate when they are stressed or immunocompromised.

Feline calicivirus (FCV): This is another highly contagious virus that can cause respiratory infections in cats. It can also cause oral ulcers, gingivitis, stomatitis, arthritis, and chronic mouth problems. FCV can mutate and become resistant to vaccines or treatments.

Feline chlamydia (FCh): This is a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory infections in cats. It can also cause conjunctivitis, keratitis, and chronic eye problems. FCh can be transmitted through direct contact with infected cats or their secretions.

Bordetella bronchiseptica (Bb): This is a bacterial infection that can cause respiratory infections in cats. It can also cause bronchitis, pneumonia, and chronic lung problems. Bb can be transmitted through direct contact with infected cats or dogs or their secretions.

Cats can catch colds from other cats or from the environment. Some of the risk factors that can increase the chances of your cat getting a cold are:

  • Living in a multi-cat household or sharing a litter box, food bowl, or water bowl with other cats
  • Visiting a shelter, boarding facility, grooming salon, or vet clinic where other sick cats may be present
  • Going outdoors or having contact with stray or feral cats
  • Having a weak immune system due to age, stress, illness, injury, or medication
  • Having a pre-existing condition that affects their respiratory system, such as asthma, allergies, or polyps.

How to Treat Colds in Cats

The treatment for colds in cats depends on the type and severity of the infection. Your vet will recommend the best course of action for your cat based on their diagnosis and condition. Some of the possible treatments are:

Medication: Your vet may prescribe antibiotics, antivirals, anti-inflammatories, or decongestants to help your cat fight the infection and reduce the symptoms. You should follow your vet’s instructions on how to administer the medication and for how long. You should also monitor your cat’s response and report any side effects or adverse reactions to your vet.

Supplements: Your vet may suggest some supplements to boost your cat’s immune system and speed up their recovery. Some of the common supplements that can help your cat with a cold are lysine, vitamin C, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and colostrum. You should consult your vet before giving any supplements to your cat and follow their dosage recommendations.

Home remedies: You may also try some home remedies to ease your cat’s discomfort and improve their well-being. Some of the home remedies that can help your cat with a cold are:

Steam therapy: You can expose your cat to steam by placing them in a bathroom with a hot shower running or using a humidifier or vaporizer in their room. This can help loosen the mucus and clear their nasal passages.

Saline solution: You can use a saline solution to flush your cat’s nose and eyes with a syringe or a dropper. This can help remove the discharge and reduce the inflammation.

Honey: You can give your cat a small amount of honey to soothe their throat and suppress their cough. Honey has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can help fight the infection.

Chicken broth: You can offer your cat some warm chicken broth to encourage them to drink and hydrate themselves. Chicken broth also has nutrients and electrolytes that can help nourish your cat.

However, you should be careful when using home remedies for your cat and do not use anything that may harm them or worsen their condition. For example, you should not use essential oils, garlic, onion, tea tree oil, alcohol, or human medication for your cat without consulting your vet.

How to Prevent Colds in Cats

can cats get colds

The best way to prevent colds in cats is to keep them healthy and protected from potential sources of infection. Here are some tips on how to prevent colds in cats:

  1. Vaccinate your cat against common viruses and bacteria that can cause colds. Your vet will advise you on the appropriate vaccines and schedule for your cat based on their age, lifestyle, and health status.
  2. Feed your cat a balanced and high-quality diet that meets their nutritional needs and supports their immune system.
  3. Provide your cat with clean and fresh water at all times and change it regularly.
  4. Groom your cat regularly and check their eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and skin for any signs of infection or irritation.
  5. Keep your cat indoors or limit their outdoor access and exposure to other cats or animals that may be sick or carry diseases.
  6. Clean and disinfect your cat’s litter box, food bowl, water bowl, toys, bedding, and other items frequently.
  7. Avoid stressors that may trigger or aggravate colds in cats, such as loud noises, sudden changes, new people, new pets, etc.
  8. Visit your vet regularly for routine check-ups and preventive care.

Colds in cats are common but manageable conditions that can affect your cat’s health and happiness. By following these tips and consulting your vet when needed, you can help your cat recover from a cold and prevent future infections.

Conclusion

Colds in cats are common but manageable conditions that can affect your cat’s health and happiness. By following the tips and advice in this article, you can help your cat recover from a cold and prevent future infections. Remember that your cat is a part of your family and deserves your love and care. If you have any questions or concerns about your cat’s health, do not hesitate to contact your vet. They are the best source of information and guidance for your cat’s well-being. We hope you found this article helpful and informative.

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