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Feline Flu: Causes Prevention and Treatment for Your Cat’s Cold

Cat Colds: Causes, Prevention and Treatment

As an avid cat lover, nothing is more worrying than seeing your furry friend succumb to a cold. Just like humans, cats are susceptible to colds, which can be caused by different pathogens.

In this article, we will discuss the causes and transmission of cat colds, as well as ways to prevent and treat them.

Causes and Transmission of Cat Colds

Cats can catch colds from various sources, including other cats, humans, and the environment. Cold-causing pathogens such as Feline Calicivirus, Feline Rhinotracheitis, and Chlamydia cause upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats.

These pathogens may live on surfaces for hours or even days, depending on the environmental conditions. Cats can easily catch the cold when they come into contact with contaminated surfaces such as litter boxes, food bowls, and bedding.

Additionally, cat colds can spread through airborne transmission. A sneeze or cough from an infected cat releases droplets containing the pathogen, which can be inhaled by other cats.

Colder months also increase the spread of cat colds because cats tend to be in confined spaces with poor ventilation.

Therefore, it is fundamental for cat owners to understand that colds are contagious.

Sick cats should be isolated as soon as possible, and thoroughly sanitizing their living quarters can contain the spread of the cold.

The risk of catching a cat cold, and the impact it can have on the immune system is also important.

A weakened immune system means that cats are more susceptible to not only colds but also other illnesses. Pre-existing health issues such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus and Feline Leukemia Virus can make it more difficult for their body to fight an infection once they have caught a cold.

Lowered defenses in sick cats can lead to secondary infections like pneumonia.

Prevention and Treatment of Cat Colds

Thankfully, there are several ways cat owners can prevent their pets from catching colds. Vaccination is an incredibly effective tool for preventing URIs, and the RCP vaccine protects felines from the most common pathogens that cause respiratory infections.

Chlamydia is also prevented with a separate vaccine. Cat owners should speak with their veterinarian about their cat’s vaccination requirements, as it is imperative not to over-vaccinate their beloved pets.

Maintaining a clean living environment is another preventative measure that helps to mitigate the spread of Cat colds. Regular cleaning of litter boxes, sleeping areas, and toys, with appropriate cleaning agents, help to decrease the pathogens present.

If your cat catches a cold, taking prompt action to help alleviate their symptoms and prevent secondary infections is essential. Providing supportive care like ensuring they have a humid environment will make it easier for them to breathe, which is especially helpful if they have a stuffy nose.

You can ensure a proper level of moisture in your cat’s room by running a humidifier or placing a wet towel in a warm room to release moisture. Offering warm and wet food is another way to entice them to eat, as they tend to lose their appetite when under the weather.

Safe medications, prescribed or that have been recommended by your veterinarian, can be used for symptomatic relief such as cough medicines and decongestants. Antibiotics are used to treat bacterial-related symptoms.

Eye ointments are also helpful as URI-related symptoms typically present conjunctivitis. Ensure that you follow the directions carefully, especially regarding dosage, and refrain from any self-treatment.


In conclusion, feline upper respiratory infections can be preventable through vaccination, environmental cleanliness, and prompt treatment when symptoms arise. Catching Cat colds can be a disheartening experience, but it is reassuring to know that there are preventative measures that cat owners can undertake to help their pets safely keep warm and comfortable.

By staying attentive and educated about the symptoms and care, our feline friends will be healthy, and their colds will become a thing of the past.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of Cat Colds

As with all illnesses, the first step in treating a cat cold is to identify it promptly. Unfortunately, cat colds present a wide array of symptoms, making it harder to identify the specific illness.

However, with a bit of attention and knowledge, cat owners can learn to read the signs and identify if their cat is suffering from a cold. Common symptoms of cat colds include sneezing, congestion, a runny nose, and runny eyes.

The cat may also have a poor appetite, appear lethargic, develop a fever and present with a cough. Dehydration is another symptom as kitties will lose fluids due to discharge.

The duration of a cat cold can range from 7 to 14 days during which time a proper care regimen should be taken to help them recover. Fortunately, most cat colds are self-limiting, and the symptoms will resolve without treatment.

However, if the symptoms persist or worsen, a visit to the veterinarian is necessary.

Identifying when to go to the vet and diagnostics

Knowing when to go to the vet is essential for cat owners. If your cat is having difficulty breathing or presenting with excessive discharge from the nose or eyes, it’s vital to make an emergency visit.

Ulcers in the mouth, loss of appetite, and lethargy are other signs requiring medical attention. Cats with weakened immune systems, such as those with feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia virus, may require prompt medical care to reduce the risk of secondary infections.

To diagnose and treat a cat cold, a veterinarian will conduct a physical examination of the sick cat. They are looking for signs of respiratory distress, abnormalities in the eyes or nose, checking the temperature, and taking the cat’s history.

Supplemental diagnostic testing may include a complete blood count, a test for feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia virus, a PCR panel for upper respiratory viruses and bacteria or a culture to determine the specific pathogen. Treatments are outlined, keeping the underlying health status in mind.

Miscellaneous Cat Cold Information

Latent viruses and their impact on cats

Feline herpes is a common viral infection that causes upper respiratory infections in cats, and once infected, the virus stays in the cat’s body for life. The virus is commonly present in cats, especially those with regular contact with other cats.

Kittens and cats with low immune function are more susceptible to feline herpes, and recurrence of infection is possible during times of stress. Feline herpesvirus is the most common cause of feline communicable respiratory disease, causing both upper respiratory tract infections and conjunctivitis.

Can cats catch colds from humans? There is no evidence to support transmission of cat colds to humans, and vice versa is also rare.

Nonetheless, zoonotic transmission of COVID-19 from humans to cats has recently been documented. Cats infected with COVID-19 experience upper respiratory signs like congestion, cough, sneezing and discharge from the nose and eyes.

It is always best to exercise caution and proper hygiene measures to reduce the risk of transmission regardless. Can cold weather make cats sick?

Cold weather on its own cannot make cats sick. However, cats are susceptible to colds when they are exposed to cold and damp conditions, which can lower their body temperature and make them more vulnerable to respiratory infections.

Therefore, it’s imperative that cats have proper shelter and nutrition in adverse weather conditions to maintain their strength against opportunistic infections. In conclusion, cat owners should be familiar with their pet’s behavior and observe associated symptoms at the earliest stage.

Attention to good hygiene practices, proper grooming and adequate shelter is always prudent. Although colds in cats are self-limiting to an extent, prompt attention and treatment should be enforced in extreme cases to minimize complications.

There is no substitute for professional care, so knowing when to call your vet is paramount, for a swift diagnosis and timely treatment. In summary, cat colds are a common and often self-limiting illness that can be prevented through vaccination, maintaining a clean environment, and prompt treatment when symptoms arise.

Symptoms of cat colds include sneezing, congestion, runny nose, runny eyes, poor appetite, lethargy, fever, cough, and dehydration. Knowing when to seek veterinary care is crucial, especially for cats with weakened immune systems, as secondary infections can lead to pneumonia.

Finally, cat owners need to understand that cat colds are contagious, and maintaining good hygiene practices is essential. Overall, prompt and attentive care, regular veterinary visits, and proper vaccination protocols can help to prevent and treat cat colds, reducing the risk of developing life-threatening conditions.

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