Ask LH: Can My Cat Catch a Cold?

Ask LH: Can My Cat Catch a Cold?
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As a person who has never owned a cat, it’s hard to speak to the experience (I can’t, really). But from afar, it seems like these cute felines are difficult creatures who kind of hate their owners at times, but also manage to hold their affections.

Sounds like a lot of relationships, tbh.

Anyway. If you’re keen on keeping your cat in optimal health, it’s probably worth learning about what kind of illnesses ol’ puss is susceptible to. So, today we’re exploring the question of whether or not your kitty cat can catch a common cold.

So, can they?

Well, as PopSugar recently reported, they kind of can. Vernard Hodges, DVM, and Terrence Ferguson, DVM, of Nat Geo Wild’s Critter Fixers: Country Vets, explained to the outlet that feline upper respiratory infections are not uncommon. And like us humans, apparently, cats can catch these colds as a result of “viral or bacterial agents,” PS shared.

I took a further look, and according to the RSPCA, “cat flu” is the general term for these kitty respiratory infections. On its website, the RSPCA writes that “This disease is caused by one or more viruses including Feline Herpes Virus 1 (FHV1) and Feline Calicivirus (FVC)”. It causes very similar symptoms in cats as the ones we see in humans with the sniffles.

What will happen to my cat if it catches a cold?

As we touched on, the symptoms will look a lot like your cold. The RSPCA lists those as “sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, fever, breathing problems, coughing, fatigue and loss of appetite”. It also states that it can sometimes lead to ulcers on the mouth or eyes.

Cat flu is common in both kittens and adult cats, but it is usually quite mild.

However, if your cat’s “condition becomes severe and is not treated, it can cause permanent eye damage, pneumonia or even death”. To avoid this nasty possibility, it’s recommended by the RSPCA that you vaccinate your kitty from the point of eight weeks of age.

Can I catch cat flu?

No, humans and other animals cannot contract this form of flu. Cats can pass it on to other cats, however, and that’s no fun for anyone.

If you’re concerned about your cat’s health, it goes without saying that you should always chat with your vet about how to best care for them. But know that if your furball has a case of the sniffles, there are loads of options for looking after the little guy/gal until they’re feeling better.

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