Do Cats Get Colds?

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Jul 24, 2017

It's a question that, perhaps, you've never had an answer for. Do cats get colds? Here's what veterinarians have to say.


Ask anyone who lives with a cat, and they'll be quick to tell you that their cat has a personality. Some cats are sweet and cuddly, some are fierce hunters obliged to let you feed them each day, and others are aloof and goofy but bite your ankles when you walk past them. No matter their personality, cats rule the roost.

One has to wonder, though, with cats in over 85 million households in the U.S., do cats get colds? And if they do, are they contagious? Can you give cats ibuprofen? Here's what veterinarians have to say.




Do cats get colds?
Answers to your most frequently asked questions

Just like us humans, cats are susceptible to upper respiratory infections, otherwise known as colds. Like humans, cats catch colds from bacteria and viruses. It's also probably no surprise that the symptoms of a cold in cats include sneezing, coughing, discharge from the nose or eyes, lethargy, and possibly a fever.

1. How often do cats get colds?
That depends on your cat. Just like kids in daycare or school, cats that spend a lot of time with other cats are more likely to get colds. Kittens, especially, are more prone to catching colds because of their young immune systems.


2. How do cats get colds?
According to Pet Health Network, there are five common contagions that make cats sick. Most spread through sneezing and coughing, although cats that contract feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR) "will carry the virus for life and can become sick again in times of high stress."

The good news is that most colds only last about a week or two and aren't usually severe. However, the vets at Banfield Pet Hospital recommend watching your cat closely, as "some upper respiratory diseases can be serious and may lead to pneumonia if not closely monitored."


3. How do you treat cats with a cold?
For a run-of-the-mill cold, Dr. Ruth MacPete, DVM, recommends just letting your cat's immune system handle the infection. More severe infections may require antibiotics, "subcutaneous fluids, appetite stimulants, and even hospitalization." 

Pet MD suggests bringing your cat into the bathroom when you shower so the steam can help decrease congestion. They also suggest keeping an eye on your cat's food and water bowls to ensure they are eating and drinking. Dehydration and loss of appetite can lead to more serious health problems such as pneumonia.


4. Is it bad to treat your cat at home?
Treating and caring for your cat at home isn't a problem, however, diagnosing your cat at home is a problem. A cold can produce the same symptoms as more urgent health emergencies, like feline leukemia or kidney problems.

Your best course of action is to contact your vet to determine whether or not you need to bring your cat in.


5. Can you prevent colds in cats?
Vaccines are available for two viruses that cause respiratory infections in cats, the feline herpes virus, and the feline calicivirus. Your best bet is to keep your cats away from other cats by keeping them indoors or by quarantining your cat if they catch a cold.

And if you're worried about giving your cat a cold when you are sick, don't. It's highly unlikely that you and your cat can trade germs that way. According to Pet Health Network, "most of these infectious agents are species-specific—affecting only the one species—and are not zoonotic (spread between species)."


When your cat or dog gets sick, you want to do everything you can to help them. That's why pet insurance from Pekin Insurance is your best bet for getting them the treatment they need. Call us today for a quote.




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