Is your cat showing all the symptoms you would expect from the common cold? Just like their owners, cats can catch colds and display similar symptoms. Here our Lafayette vets discuss the signs of colds in cats and what to do if your cat has a cold.
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection or 'cat colds' are quite similar to human colds. Cat colds are generally considered to be a very minor illness, however, in some cases, symptoms may become severe and lead to a more dangerous secondary infection. Very young, or senior cats should be monitored closely at the first sign of a cold.
How Cats Get A Cold
Cat colds can be viral or bacterial and are commonly passed between cats through the droplets spread by sneezing. Outdoor cats are much more susceptible to catching a cold due to their frequent contact with other cats.
Typical Symptoms of a Cat Cold
If your cat appears ill and is acting out of character they could be suffering from a cold. Cat colds generally start with sneezing, with other symptoms appearing within the next 24 hours. Below is a list of the most common symptoms of cat colds:
- Runny nose
- Congestion leading to open mouth breathing
- Excessive coughing
- Excessive sneezing
- Red watery eyes
- Loss of appetite
How You Can Help Your Cat Feel Better
While your cat is sick, it would be beneficial to increase the humidity in your house by keeping a humidifier or vaporizer running. If your cat has a stuffy nose gently wipe clean your cat's nose with a clean damp cloth or some cotton wool soaked in warm water. Cleanse and soothe your cat's watery eyes by applying a saline solution with gauze pads.
While your cat is stuffy they will have difficulty smelling food and may stop eating. Food is important for keeping your cat's strength up while they recover, so it may be a good time to buy some extra special wet cat food to tempt your feline friend to eat. Warming your cat's food may also help.
Make sure your feline friend stays warm and comfortable by adding an extra blanket to your cat's favorite sleeping area.
Signs That It's Time To Visit the Vet
Cat colds typically begin to clear up after just a few days. If your cat has been suffering from the symptoms of a cold and shows no sign of improvement within 4 days, it may be time to visit the vet.
Cat colds can lead to more serious infections if left untreated. It is particularly important to contact your vet if you have a senior cat, young kitten, or immune-compromised cat.