If your cat begins to sneeze it can lead you to wonder the cause. Is it possible that your kitty is sick? Here, our Toledo vets talk about whether cats can get colds and what you can do to help them feel better if they do.
Cat Colds: Can My Feline Friend Get Sick?
If your cat has suddenly begun to sneeze you may begin to wonder if they are able to get a cold and if so, what you can do to help them.
Colds in cats, while uncommon, are easily transmitted due to the fact that they are highly contagious. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats because they are more likely to interact with other cats.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. It is not contagious for humans but easily transmits between cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you've boarded your cat recently and they now have a cold, it's likely your pet was near another cat suffering from a cold.
By boarding your cat at a reputable and fully licensed facility you can help reduce the risk of colds.
My cat sneezed, is it allergies or a cold?
One of the easiest ways to tell if your cat has a cold or allergies is by the symptoms that your cat is experiencing. The typical symptoms of a cold include:
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
- reduced appetite
What to Do if Your Cat Has a Cold
When your cat is sick, the main priority will be to help them feel better as quickly as possible. There are a few ways that you can do so.
You can clean their running nose using a warm, damp cloth, and clean runny eyes using a cloth and saline solution. A humidifier can help keep the air moist, making it easier for them to breathe.
If your cat seems to be stuffed up, making breathing a little difficult, secure them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes.
Hydration and nutrition are incredibly important, especially while they are sick. Do what you can to get them to continue eating and drinking. Food that is warmed up and easier to swallow might make this process more appealing for them. They also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.
Do not 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.
Should you call your vet if your cat has a cold?
Generally, cats will recover from colds fairly quickly, without any veterinary intervention. 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 may develop into 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 haven't been vaccinated. If any of these describe your cat, you should reach out to your vet right away to schedule an examination.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet for emergency care as soon as possible.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.