Can Cats Get Colds?

Can Cats Get Colds?

During the winter season, you may see your feline sneezing more than usual. But can that be a sign that she has an actual cold? And can cats get colds from humans or vice versa?

Is Every Sneeze A Sign?

It’s normal for cats to sneeze occasionally, especially if they’re fond of sniffing dust bunnies or if their litter box is enclosed with dusty litter. Some kitties can even be affected by what may resemble mild seasonal allergies, with a few more sneezes during springtime blooming season. These sporadic episodes are perfectly normal and as long as other cold symptoms aren’t evident, just say “bless you” and carry on as before.

Cat Cold Symptoms

But when the bitter winter chill sets in, you may want to monitor cat’s sneezes a little more closely. Dr. Ira M. Zaslow of Lauderdale Veterinary Specialists advises that cat parents be on the lookout for a runny nose, watery eyes, more sleeping than usual, a general listlessness, and a low-grade fever if you can get that thermometer in. One of these signs indicates your cat's cold is just starting; however, two or more of the cold signs warrant a trip to your veterinarian for medication to help speed the run of her germ’s course.

Did She Catch Her Cold From Me?

Wondering if cats get colds from humans is a common question, especially when the cold season arrives. Dr. Zaslow says, “A cat can’t catch a human cold any more than you can catch distemper.” The viruses that cause cat colds have no effect on humans and vice versa. Many times, everyone in a household, including the cat, will be sick with a cold at the same time, but such events are just coincidence. Cold viruses for both animals and humans are more prevalent and active during the winter season, and if both you and kitty are sick at the same time, consider it an opportunity for mutual commiseration through your misery.

Home Care for Your Cat’s Cold

While not usually deadly, your cat will appreciate you making her more comfortable during her sick time. Besides bringing her to the vet and administering medication to her, make sure she doesn’t get wet under any circumstances. Keep her away from drafts and have a blanket nearby for her to get cozy in. Try feeding her canned cat food to encourage her to continue eating, which is especially crucial to her getting better. Give her lots of sympathy, gently wipe her nose and eyes with a fluffy cotton ball, and bless her every sneeze.

How Long Until She Gets Better?

Fortunately, your cat is designed to heal from any ailment much more quickly than humans would. This ability harkens back to her ancestors’ days in the wild, when sickness and injury made them easy targets for predators and fast recovery was crucial to their continuing existence. Felines are skilled at knowing what they need to do to make themselves feel better, so you may notice that she is laying low, much less active, sleeping more, and generally conserving her energy. She may be more comfortable retreating to a minimally trafficked area of your home and if you notice a particular corner she has made her own, put a cat bed there or a blanket in a big pile to keep her warm. With medication, she should show signs of feeling better in a couple of days and will probably be completely well in three days.

Can I Prevent My Cat from Getting a Cold?

Unfortunately, when cat cold germs are in the air and Fluffy’s immunity is lowered from expending more energy to stay warm, there’s really nothing you can do to keep her well other than keeping her dry and away from drafts. Some cats live their entire lives without ever catching a cold, while others may fall ill every winter season. What matters most is keeping her as healthy as you can with nutritious food and a clean environment and hope she has a strong constitution.

Image: Watchcaddy / via Flickr

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