Our feline friends, like humans, are susceptible to colds. Sneezing and sniffling are symptoms of a cold in your cat, but you may be curious how it got there in the first place. What’s more, you’ll learn how to stop it in the future.
Colds in cats are infectious, much like colds in humans. Since they are more likely to communicate with other cats outdoors, outdoor cats are more likely to contract the cold virus than indoor cats.
One of the most widespread illnesses seen in kittens is a cold (or upper respiratory infection (URI). Colds are prevalent in environments with many cats, such as pet stores, shelters, and breeding facilities. Like children in daycare, kittens in pet shops or shelters are more likely to contract upper respiratory infections (URIs) due to their immature immune systems and proximity to other cats.
Bacteria or a virus causes an upper respiratory infection (URI) in cats. It is not hazardous to humans, but it can quickly spread between cats, particularly in close condition. If you’ve just boarded your cat and they’ve developed a cold, it’s possible that your cat was exposed to another sick cat.
What is an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)?
Viruses or bacteria may invade the nose, pharynx, and larynx, causing upper respiratory infections. Calicivirus and herpes are the most common viruses, and mycoplasma, chlamydia, and bordetella species are the most common bacteria. A method known as aerosolization is used to spread some of these agents.
Countless minute droplets containing infectious agents are released into the air when a sick cat sneezes. These droplets are tiny enough to stay airborne for long periods and infect cats from a great distance. Upper respiratory infections spread rapidly in large cat communities, which is understandable. It only takes one sick cat to infect the entire cat population with an upper respiratory disease. Infections may be transmitted directly or indirectly by fomites. When inanimate items become infected and coated with infectious agents, they are known as fomites. Bedding, blankets, and food dishes are examples of fomites. It looks out your mother was right to remind you to cover your nose when you sneeze and wash your hands with good quality soap!
Signs and Symptoms of Cat Colds
- sneezing, sneezing, sneezing
- bright, watery eyes
- a stuffy nose
- a low-grade fever
Sneezing, a runny nose, and watery eyes are the most common symptoms in cats, and they usually go away without treatment. Vulnerable cats, such as the very young, the very old, or those already ill, are more susceptible to infection. Cats with serious upper respiratory infections can experience the following symptoms:
- decrease in appetite
- shortage of fluids
- nose or eye discharge that is thick and yellowish
- a fever
How to Care For a Sick Cat?
If your cat coughs, wipe their runny nose with a clean cloth and saline solution, and wipe their watery eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You may also use a humidifier to prevent the air from being too dry.
Secure your cat in their pet carrier, place a cup of hot water in front of the enclosure, and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes if your cat seems to be stuffed up and having trouble breathing.
Your cat needs to keep eating and drinking so that it can recover faster. Warming up the food and making it easier to swallow can make this process more appealing to them. They’ll need to keep warm as well, so add an extra blanket to their bed or favorite curling spot.
Never offer your cat human cold medicine (or any medication without first consulting your veterinarian). Often consult your veterinarian for advice about what is best for your animals.
Cats are often susceptible to change, so if your kitty is worried about anything like recovering from being neutered or spayed, being boarded, or moving, her immune system may be compromised, triggering a cold. Lysine can help strengthen the immune system and reduce the risk of upper respiratory infections if taken 5 to 7 days before a stressful event.
How do you realize if you have a cold and how to treat it?
Your veterinarian can take cultures from your cat’s mouth, throat or nose to examine for a definitive diagnosis if ulcers are present. While antibiotics do not combat viruses, most feline upper respiratory infections are treated with antibacterial drugs to prevent secondary bacteria from exploiting your pet’s compromised immune system and causing complications. To help fight the virus, your veterinarian can prescribe oral medications, eye ointments, immune-stimulating medications, and other medications that stop the herpes virus from reproducing.
A vaccine against upper respiratory infections is now available, and it has been combined with the basic distemper injectable vaccine in a combination injection.
When Do You Seek Veterinary Help?
Cat colds are usually harmless and disappear within 1-2 weeks. You should keep an eye on their welfare, and if there isn’t any change by the fourth day, you should arrange an appointment with your doctor, as a persistent cold that isn’t treated correctly can lead to pneumonia.
It’s essential to be cautious with older cats, kittens, and cats with other disorders that make them more vulnerable to the effects of a cold, just as it is with humans. This is particularly true for kittens that are breastfeeding or have not been vaccinated. Make an appointment to your veterinarian right away if your feline fits into one of these categories.
In any case, if your cat starts coughing, has trouble breathing, or stops eating, they should see a veterinarian right away.