While we may not see it often, it is entirely possible for cats to get common illnesses just as humans and other animals do. Here, our Westport vets talk about how a cat can get a cold, what the signs are and how you can help relieve their cold symptoms.
How Do Cats Get Colds?
It's happened, you are sitting near your cat one day and you suddenly notice that they are sniffling and sneezing, but what it is? It's the common cold.
Just like humans cats are able to pick up this common illness from other animals that they have spent time around and yes, just like they are for humans, cat colds are also contagious. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than an indoor cat 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 among cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you've boarded your cat recently and they now have a cold, there is a pretty good chance that your cat was near another cat that was already sick.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider will reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and will make it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.
The Common Signs & Symptoms of Cat Colds
- watery eyes
- runny nose
- mild fever
More Severe Symptoms of cat colds
- reduced appetite
How You Can Help Relieve Your Cats Symptoms
One way you can help provide your cat with relief is by wiping their eyes and nose using a clean cloth and saline solution. Using a humidifier can also ensure that the air stays moist to help make breathing easier for them.
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.
It's important for your cat to continue to eat and drink so they can get better quicker. 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 ever give your cat any form of human medication. Always speak with your vet to see what they recommend for your pet.
When You Should Seek Veterinary Care For Your Cat
On average colds will pass naturally within a week or two. 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 that haven't been vaccinated. If your cat falls into one of these categories, make an appointment immediately.
In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, they need to see a vet as soon as possible.