Happy Silly Cat

From Sneezing to Recovery: Understanding and Treating Your Cat’s Respiratory Infections

Title: Can Cats Catch Human Colds? Understanding the Risks and SymptomsAs pet owners and animal lovers, we often wonder if our pets can catch the same viruses and illnesses that affect humans.

One common question many cat owners have is whether or not their feline friends can catch a cold from them. In this article, we will dive deeper into this question and examine the various risks and symptoms associated with colds, or more specifically, upper respiratory infections, in cats.

Can Your Cat Catch Your Cold? Cold viruses in humans can be caused by a variety of factors like respiratory syncytial virus, human parainfluenza viruses, human coronaviruses, adenovirus, and human metapneumovirus.

The good news is that these viruses typically do not pass on to cats. However, there are a few cases where transmission is possible through person-to-person contact.

So, while it is highly unlikely that you will give your cat your cold, it is still important to practice good hand hygiene and avoid interacting with your cat if you are unwell. Additionally, influenza A viruses and the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19 in humans, have the potential to infect cats.

In such cases, the virus can be transmitted from humans to cats, but it does not necessarily mean that the cat will become unwell.

The Risks to Cats from Catching a Cold

If your cat does catch a cold from you or another infected cat, the illness is usually mild and will resolve on its own within a few days. In some cases, however, the symptoms can be more severe, leading to discomfort and lethargy.

It is important to note that cats with pre-existing medical conditions or weakened immune systems may be at higher risk for developing more severe symptoms. Therefore, it is important to monitor your cat’s behavior and seek veterinary care if they appear unwell.

Symptoms of Colds in Cats

Upper respiratory infections (URIs) are the most common illness associated with colds in cats. The infection is typically caused by feline herpesvirus 1 or feline calicivirus.

However, other agents like bacteria, fungi, cryptoccocus neoformans, chlamydia felis, mycoplasma species, and aspergillus can also cause URIs.

Symptoms of URIs include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, lethargy, inappetence, and discharge from the eyes and nose. In severe cases, cats may even develop a fever, making it all the more crucial to monitor their condition and get them medical attention when needed.

Spread of URIs Between Cats

URIs are highly contagious and can easily spread from one cat to another, especially in crowded and stressful conditions such as animal shelters. Feline herpesvirus is especially concerning as it can be transmitted from mother to kitten during birth, and infected cats can remain carriers throughout their lives.

As a result, cats can experience repeat instances of illness and can sometimes require supportive care to manage their symptoms.

Feline Herpesvirus Infections

Feline herpesvirus is a common cause of URIs in cats. When infected as kittens, cats often carry the virus throughout their lives.

While herpesvirus typically does not reduce the lifespan of the cat, kittens can die from complications of the illness. Cats with feline herpesvirus can experience multiple instances of illness throughout their lives whenever their immune systems weaken, such as during times of stress.


In conclusion, while it is unlikely for cats to catch cold viruses from humans, it is important to maintain good hand hygiene and avoid close contact with cats when we are unwell. If our cats do catch a cold, it is usually a mild illness that will resolve on its own within a few days.

However, cats with weakened immune systems may be more susceptible to more severe symptoms and require additional medical attention. Finally, it is important to be mindful of the spread of URIs between cats, particularly in stressful conditions such as animal shelters, and take proactive measures to minimize these risks.

In the previous article, we discussed the risks and symptoms associated with colds in cats. In this article, we will delve into the various treatment options available for cats suffering from upper respiratory infections (URIs).

Recovery Time for Viral Infections

Viral infections, which are the most common cause of URIs in cats, typically last between 7 to 10 days. During this time, it is essential to provide your cat with a supportive and comfortable environment to help them recover.

Supportive Care at Home

Many cats will respond well to supportive care at home, which includes providing them with a stress-free environment, plenty of fluids, and nourishing food. Strong-smelling canned food is often appetizing for cats with a reduced sense of smell, due to nasal congestion.

If you have multiple cats, consider isolating your sick cat to reduce the risk of spreading the infection. Another way to help your cat is by using a humidifier.

Humidifiers help to keep the air moist and can soothe your cat’s respiratory system. Make sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the spread of bacteria, and place it in your cat’s sleeping area to promote better breathing.

Veterinary Care

In some cases, your cat may require veterinary care to manage their symptoms. If your cat’s condition does not improve after 7 to 10 days, or if they develop a fever, you should schedule a visit with your veterinarian.

Veterinary care may include antibiotics or antifungal medication to treat bacterial or fungal infections that can cause URIs in cats. Your veterinarian may also prescribe medications to manage your cat’s symptoms, such as anti-inflammatory medication to reduce inflammation and pain, or nebulization to help relieve congestion and improve breathing.

It is crucial to follow your veterinarian’s instructions carefully, including administering medications on time and for the full course of treatment. Discontinuing treatment prematurely may cause the infection to return or become resistant to treatment.

Prevention is Key

As with humans, prevention is key when it comes to URIs in cats. You can reduce the risk of URIs by keeping your cat’s environment clean, free of stress, and providing them with a healthy and balanced diet.

Additionally, annual check-ups with your veterinarian can help identify any underlying health conditions that may make your cat more susceptible to infections. Conclusion:

Upper respiratory infections can be a common problem for cats, and the discomfort it causes them can be distressing for both the cat and their owner.

However, with proper supportive care and treatment from a veterinarian, most cats will recover from URIs with a few days of rest and care. By taking a proactive approach to your cat’s health and wellbeing, you can reduce the likelihood of them developing URIs and provide them with the care they need if they do fall ill.

In conclusion, upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats can be a common problem for feline owners, but with proper supportive care and treatment from a veterinarian, most cats will recover within days. While human cold viruses do not usually pass on to cats, it is still important to maintain good hygiene practices and avoid close contact with our pets when we are unwell.

The main treatment options for cats include supportive care at home, medication for bacterial and fungal infections, and humidifiers to help soothe respiratory symptoms. By taking a proactive approach to our cat’s health and wellbeing, we can minimize the risks associated with URIs and ensure our furry friends receive the care they need to recover fully.

Remember to seek veterinary care if your cat’s symptoms persist or worsen.

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