Can Cats Catch Colds?

Colds in cats are upper respiratory infections that display many of the same symptoms as human colds. Therefore, if your kitty is suffering from a runny nose they may have a cold. Today, our Riverbank vets talk about cat colds including how cats catch them and when you should take your feline friend to the vet.

How Cats Catch Colds

If your cat has sniffles and is sneezing, these are signs that they may have a cold. Now, you are probably wondering how they got it in the first place, and more importantly, how you can prevent them from getting one again in the future.

Similar to human colds, cat colds are contagious. This puts outdoor cats at a higher risk of catching the cold virus because they are more likely to interact with other cats than indoor cats.

Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus. It's not contagious for humans but easily transmits between cats, especially in crowded conditions. So if your cat has recently stayed at a boarding facility and they are starting to exhibit cold-like symptoms, they were probably around another cat that had an upper respiratory infection.

Picking a reputable boarding provider could also help to reduce the chances of increasing your pet's stress levels, and will make it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.

Signs & Symptoms of Cat Colds

If your cat has a URI you might notice them display one or more of these cat cold symptoms:

  • Runny Nose
  • Sniffles
  • Sneezing
  • Watery Eyes
  • Mild Fever
More Severe Symptoms
  • Coughing
  • Reduced Appetite

What to Do If Your Cat Has a Cold

If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel more comfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You can also run a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.

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 very important to make sure your cat continues drinking and eating, for them to get better faster. You can warm their food up to make it easier for them to swallow and more appealing for them to eat. You also have to make sure your kitty stays warm, so add an extra blanket to their bed or their favorite napping spot.

Never give your cat human cold medication (or any medication) without talking to your vet first. Always ask your veterinarian what they recommend for your feline friend.

When to Take Your Cat to the Vet for a Cold

Most of the time cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. However, it's essential for you to monitor your kitty's health, and if your cat doesn't seem to be getting better by the fourth day, call your veterinarian to schedule an appointment. Persistent cat colds that aren't treated properly can turn 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.

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.

If your cat has a cold contact our Riverbank vets today to schedule an appointment for your kitty.