Cats are more than just pets; they’re our snuggly companions who brighten up our days with their playful antics and adorable purrs.
However, just like us humans, cats can fall ill to viruses and bacterial infections, including the dreaded cat colds. Yes, you heard that right.
Your furry friend can catch a cold too. As pet owners, it’s natural to want the best for our feline friends and provide them with the best possible care when they’re unwell.
But sometimes we’re left wondering whether to take them to the vet or wait for the illness to pass on its own. So, do cat colds go away on their own?
Well, it’s not a simple yes or no answer. The severity of the illness and your cat’s overall health play a crucial role in determining whether they’ll recover without intervention.
While some mild cases of cat colds can disappear on their own, others require veterinary assistance. In this article, we’ll delve into what cat colds are, their symptoms, and if they have the potential to resolve on their own.
So let’s jump right in and explore this common ailment that plagues our beloved kitties.
What is a Cat Cold?
These illnesses are highly contagious and very common in multi-cat households and animal shelters. They’re caused by a group of viruses that include feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV).
Cat colds are spread through direct contact with an infected cat’s saliva, nasal discharge, or eye secretions. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy – just like the common cold in humans.
While cat colds won’t transfer to humans, it’s essential to keep your cat isolated from other cats if they’re showing symptoms. If you’ve been around an infected cat, wash your hands and clothes before interacting with your own pet.
Most cats recover from a mild cold on their own with supportive care. You can help your furry friend feel more comfortable by providing plenty of fresh water and nutritious food, as well as a warm resting area. Using humidifiers or steamy bathrooms can also help ease congestion.
However, if your cat’s symptoms persist or worsen after a week or two, it’s best to seek veterinary care. In severe cases, cats may develop pneumonia or other complications that require medical attention. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics or antiviral medication to treat secondary bacterial infections or ease severe symptoms.
Causes of Cat Colds
Just like humans, cats can catch colds – or feline upper respiratory infections (URI) – which can make it difficult for them to breathe and lead to a range of uncomfortable symptoms. But what causes these pesky infections in our feline friends?
The most common culprits are two viruses: feline herpesvirus (FHV) and feline calicivirus (FCV), which are responsible for about 80% of all cat colds. However, other viruses such as chlamydia, bordetella, and mycoplasma can also cause URIs.
Cat colds are highly contagious and can spread like wildfire from one cat to another. These infections pass through contact with an infected cat’s saliva, nasal discharge, or eye discharge. Sharing litter boxes, food bowls, or water bowls with an infected cat can also easily spread the virus. That’s why it’s important to isolate a sick cat and keep them away from other cats until they’ve recovered.
Cats that have weak immune systems are more susceptible to getting URIs. Kittens and older cats are especially vulnerable since their immune systems aren’t as strong as adult cats. Cats that live in overcrowded environments or experience a lot of stress are also more likely to get sick. So keeping your cat healthy and stress-free is key to preventing these infections.
It’s worth noting that not all cats exposed to the virus will develop a cold with symptoms. Some may become carriers without showing any signs but can still pass on the virus to other cats. And some cats may only show mild symptoms that resolve on their own without any treatment, while others may need medical attention for more severe symptoms.
Symptoms of Cat Colds
These infections, also known as feline upper respiratory infections, are caused by viruses that can easily spread through contact with an infected cat’s saliva, nasal discharge, or eye discharge. While some cats may only show mild symptoms that resolve on their own without any treatment, others may need medical attention for more severe symptoms.
One of the most common symptoms of cat colds is sneezing. If you notice your furry friend sneezing frequently or excessively, it’s likely that they have a cold. Sneezing is usually caused by irritation in the nasal passages due to inflammation caused by the cold virus.
Another symptom to look out for is watery eyes. Your cat’s eyes may appear red and swollen, and they may be producing more tears than usual. This is because the cold virus can cause inflammation in the tear ducts, leading to excess tearing.
Nasal congestion or discharge is also a common symptom of cat colds. Your cat may have a runny nose or thick mucus coming out of their nostrils. This occurs because the virus causes inflammation in the nasal passages, leading to congestion and mucus production.
Coughing is another symptom of cat colds. Just like with humans, cats can develop a cough when they have a cold. This occurs because the virus irritates the respiratory system, causing coughing as a way to clear the airways.
Lastly, fever is a common symptom of cat colds as well. If your cat has a fever, they may feel warm to the touch and have an elevated body temperature. This occurs because the body’s immune system is fighting off the virus.
It’s important to note that not all cats will exhibit all of these symptoms when they have a cold. Some cats may only show one or two symptoms while others may show several. Additionally, some cats may experience more severe symptoms than others. If you notice any of these symptoms in your cat, it’s essential to monitor their condition and seek veterinary care if necessary.
Can Cat Colds be Transmitted to Humans?
The good news is that the viruses that cause cat colds are typically species-specific and cannot be transferred from cats to humans. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule that cat owners should keep in mind.
One virus that can be transmitted from cats to humans is the Bartonella henselae bacteria, which causes cat scratch fever. This disease is usually spread through scratches or bites from infected cats and can result in symptoms such as fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes. While cat scratch fever is relatively rare, it’s essential for cat owners to take precautions such as washing their hands after handling their pet and avoiding rough play that could lead to scratches or bites.
Another concern for cat owners is allergies. While not technically a cold, some cats can carry allergens in their fur or saliva that can cause allergic reactions in humans. Symptoms of cat allergies range from sneezing, itching, to difficulty breathing. If you suspect that you or someone in your family may have a cat allergy, it’s critical to consult with a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Mild vs Severe Cat Colds
In this post, we’ll explore the differences between these two types of cat colds and offer some tips to help your cat feel better.
Mild cat colds are usually self-limiting and will typically resolve within 7-10 days. Your kitty may display symptoms such as sneezing, a runny nose, watery eyes, and a loss of appetite. While these symptoms may appear relatively harmless, it’s crucial to keep your infected cat isolated from other feline friends until they’ve fully recovered.
Severe cat colds, on the other hand, are more worrisome and may require prompt veterinary attention. These types of colds can last longer than 10 days and cause more severe symptoms like fever, lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If you suspect your cat has a severe cold or is displaying any concerning symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary attention.
If your cat is experiencing a mild cold, there are several things you can do to make them feel more comfortable during their recovery. Ensure they have a warm and cozy place to rest, encourage them to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and offer them soft and palatable foods that will help support their immune system.
Home Remedies for Mild Cat Colds
While it’s vital to seek veterinary care for more severe symptoms, several home remedies can ease your cat’s discomfort and potentially speed up their recovery process.
Steam therapy is one of the most effective home remedies for mild cat colds. By creating a steamy environment with a shower or humidifier, you can help clear your cat’s respiratory system and reduce congestion. This provides almost immediate relief to your cat’s breathing, helping them feel more comfortable.
Ensuring that your cat stays hydrated is another way to assist in their recovery. Offer plenty of fresh water and wet food to keep their mucus membranes moist and prevent dehydration. Adding chicken broth or tuna juice to their water or food can also encourage them to drink more.
Natural supplements like vitamin C, echinacea, and colloidal silver can help boost your cat’s immune system and potentially speed up their recovery time. However, it’s crucial to consult with your veterinarian before giving your cat any supplements or medications.
Finally, providing your cat with a warm, comfortable place to rest and recover is crucial. Keep their bedding clean and cozy, and give them access to quiet spots to rest undisturbed.
In conclusion, cat colds are a common affliction that can impact our furry companions. While some mild cases may resolve on their own with supportive care, others require prompt veterinary attention. The severity of the illness and your cat’s overall health play a crucial role in determining whether they’ll recover without intervention.
Cat colds are highly contagious and caused by viruses like feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and feline calicivirus (FCV). Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, watery eyes, coughing, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy – similar to the common cold in humans. It’s vital to keep your kitty isolated from other cats if they’re displaying symptoms to prevent further infection.
Mild cat colds usually resolve within 7-10 days with supportive care such as plenty of fresh water and nutritious food, a cozy resting area, and using humidifiers or steamy bathrooms to ease congestion. However, severe cat colds can last longer than 10 days and cause more severe symptoms like fever, lethargy, coughing, and difficulty breathing. If you notice any concerning symptoms in your feline friend or suspect a severe cold is present, seek veterinary attention right away.
Home remedies like steam therapy, ensuring hydration through water and wet food consumption, natural supplements such as vitamin C and echinacea can help alleviate your cat’s discomfort during recovery. Providing a warm and comfortable place for them to rest is also essential. Remember always to consult with your veterinarian before administering any supplements or medications to your beloved pet.
In summary: while some mild cat colds may go away on their own with attentive home care; others require professional medical attention. Always be vigilant for concerning symptoms in your furry friend and take prompt action when necessary.