Is It Possible To Catch A Cold From A Cat?

Are you a cat lover who’s ever wondered if your furry friend can infect you with a cold? Or perhaps you’ve heard the rumor that cats are notorious for spreading viruses to humans. As much as we adore our pets, it’s important to remember that they’re animals and can carry diseases just like any other living creature.

But here’s some good news: when it comes to the common cold, your cat isn’t the culprit behind your sniffles and sneezes. While cats can transmit certain infections to humans, catching a cold from your feline pal isn’t one of them.

In this article, we’ll explore the question “is it possible to catch a cold from a cat?” We’ll delve into the science of how the common cold spreads and examine which illnesses cats can pass on to us. Plus, we’ll share tips for practicing good hygiene around your pets and keeping both yourself and your feline companion healthy.

So let’s dispel those myths once and for all and discover the truth about whether or not cats can give us a case of the common cold.

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV): What is it and How Can it be Transmitted?

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV), also known as Feline Viral Rhinotracheitis (FVR), is a nasty virus that plagues our feline friends. It is highly contagious and can spread quickly from cat to cat through direct or indirect contact. As one of the most common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats, understanding FHV is crucial for pet owners.

Direct and Indirect Transmission

FHV can be transmitted directly from an infected cat to a healthy one by sharing food, water, toys, litter boxes, and bedding. Indirect transmission occurs when cats come into contact with contaminated surfaces or airborne droplets from an infected cat’s sneeze or cough. It’s important to note that while FHV cannot be transmitted directly to humans, it can be indirectly transmitted through contaminated surfaces like litter boxes, food bowls, or bedding.

Symptoms of FHV

The symptoms of FHV can vary in severity and may include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and eyes, fever, loss of appetite, and lethargy. In some cases, the infection can lead to more severe symptoms such as pneumonia and eye infections. Kittens and senior cats are particularly vulnerable to FHV.

Prevention and Treatment

While there is no cure for FHV, supportive treatment can help alleviate symptoms and prevent secondary infections. Vaccination is also available to prevent infection in cats. If you suspect your cat has FHV, it’s recommended to keep them isolated from other cats in the household until symptoms have resolved to prevent further spread of the virus.

Good hygiene practices are key when caring for an infected cat. Regularly washing your hands after handling them or disinfecting surfaces they come into contact with can help prevent the virus from spreading to other cats in the household.

Feline Calicivirus (FCV): What is it and How Can it be Transmitted?

Is It Possible To Catch A Cold From A Cat-2

FCV is a highly contagious virus that can cause a range of symptoms, from fever and sneezing to nasal discharge and ulcers on the tongue and gums. While healthy cats may not experience serious complications, kittens and older cats with weakened immune systems are at greater risk.

So, what exactly is FCV? It’s one of the most common respiratory infections in cats. The virus can be spread through direct contact with an infected cat’s saliva, nasal discharge, or urine. Sharing food and water bowls, litter boxes, or bedding with an infected cat can also transmit the virus. Surprisingly, the virus can survive in the environment for several days, which means that even if an infected cat is no longer present, other cats can still become infected by coming into contact with contaminated surfaces.

As a responsible cat owner, you can take steps to prevent the spread of FCV. Vaccination is key – make sure your new kitten or cat with a weakened immune system is vaccinated against FCV. Proper hygiene practices are also crucial – wash your hands thoroughly after handling cats and keep litter boxes and food/water bowls clean. If your cat does become sick, isolate them from other cats to prevent further spread of infection.

In terms of treatment options for FCV, supportive care such as maintaining hydration and nutrition is important. Antibiotics may also be necessary to prevent secondary bacterial infections.

Risk of Transmission from Cats to Humans: Is it Low or High?

Although the answer is not always straightforward, understanding the potential risks is essential to take necessary precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.

When it comes to colds, the good news is that cats cannot transmit their cold viruses to humans. These viruses are species-specific, meaning they cannot be transmitted between cats and humans. So, feel free to snuggle up with your kitty even when they have a runny nose.

However, some potential risks of transmission from cats to humans do exist. One such risk is Toxoplasmosis, a parasitic infection that can be transmitted through cat feces. Pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk for this illness. It is essential to take extra precautions such as avoiding cleaning the litter box and wearing gloves when handling anything that may have come into contact with cat feces.

Another potential risk for transmission from cats to humans is through bites and scratches. Cats carry bacteria in their mouths, including Pasteurella multocida, which can cause infections if introduced into a human’s bloodstream through a bite or scratch. It is crucial to properly clean any wounds caused by your cat and seek medical attention if necessary.

To minimize any potential risks, practicing good hygiene habits such as regular handwashing and avoiding contact with cat feces can go a long way. Additionally, keeping your cat up-to-date on vaccinations and regular veterinary check-ups can help prevent the spread of illnesses among cats and reduce the risk of transmission to humans.

Symptoms of a Cold in Humans: What to Look Out For

Colds are viral infections that can be spread through the air, contaminated surfaces, or direct contact with an infected person. While it’s rare to catch a cold from your cat, it’s still important to know the symptoms of a cold in humans to prevent its spread and avoid complications.

Runny or Stuffy Nose

One of the most common symptoms of a cold is a runny or stuffy nose. Your nasal passages produce mucus, which can be clear or colored, making it difficult to breathe through your nostrils. The mucus can also cause irritation and inflammation in your sinuses, leading to pressure and pain.

Sore Throat

A sore throat is another hallmark symptom of a cold. You may experience pain or discomfort when swallowing or talking due to inflammation and irritation in your throat. It can be accompanied by a scratchy or dry feeling.


A cough is another way your body tries to get rid of mucus and other irritants from your lungs or throat. You may have a dry or productive cough that lasts for several days. A persistent cough can be exhausting and interfere with your daily activities.


Sneezing is an involuntary reflex that happens when your body tries to expel irritants from your nose. It can be triggered by viral infections, allergies, or other factors. You may sneeze multiple times in a row and feel congested afterward.


Headaches are common when you have a cold because your body is fighting off the infection. You may experience pressure or pain in your forehead, temples, or sinuses. In some cases, headaches can be severe and affect your ability to function.

Prevention Tips for Pet Owners: Cleaning Habits to Minimize Risk of Infection

Here are some tips on how to adopt good cleaning habits and prevent the spread of illness.

Clean the litter box regularly

Your cat’s litter box should be cleaned at least once a day, and you should empty, wash, and disinfect the entire box once a week. It is also important to wash your hands thoroughly after handling the litter box to prevent the spread of germs.

Wash food and water bowls daily

Your cat’s food and water bowls should be washed daily with hot, soapy water to prevent bacteria buildup. You can also use a dishwasher to sanitize the bowls. Additionally, make sure to keep the feeding area clean and free from any spilled food or debris.

Disinfect surfaces regularly

It is crucial to regularly clean and disinfect any surfaces that your cat may come into contact with, such as countertops, furniture, and floors. Use a disinfectant cleaner designed for use around pets or a mild detergent and water solution. Follow the instructions on the label carefully and let the surfaces dry completely before allowing your cat access again.

Wash your hands frequently

Wash your hands with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds after handling your cat or cleaning up after them. This can help prevent the spread of germs and keep both you and your cat healthy. Encourage children in your household to follow this practice as well.

Take extra precautions when someone is sick

If someone in your household is sick, take extra precautions to prevent the spread of germs. Keep your cat away from their room and avoid letting them come into contact with any contaminated items. Make sure to wash your hands before and after caring for the sick person or handling any contaminated items.

Individuals with Weakened Immune Systems or Respiratory Conditions: Extra Precautions Needed

Cats are known to be wonderful companions, but for individuals with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions, extra precautions need to be taken when interacting with them. Although it is rare to catch a cold from a cat, the risk of contracting other infections and illnesses is higher for these individuals. Here are some essential measures that they should take:

Feline Herpesvirus: Cats can carry the feline herpesvirus, which can cause respiratory infections in cats and can potentially infect humans if the virus becomes airborne. Therefore, individuals should avoid close contact with cats displaying symptoms of illness.

Respiratory Infections: Cats can also transmit chlamydia and bordetella, leading to symptoms like coughing, sneezing, and runny noses in both cats and humans. Hence, individuals with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions should take extra precautions when interacting with their cats.

Frequent Handwashing: Individuals should frequently wash their hands, especially after interacting with their cats or cleaning litter boxes. This will help prevent the transmission of diseases.

Seek Medical Attention: If individuals do become sick, they should seek medical attention immediately as early diagnosis and treatment can prevent complications.

Vaccinations: Keeping cats up-to-date on vaccinations is crucial as it helps prevent the transmission of diseases.

Vaccines Available for Cats: Keeping Your Cat Healthy

One crucial element of feline healthcare is vaccinations to protect them from various diseases and ensure their continued health and happiness. In this article, we will explore the vaccines available for cats and why they are important.

Vaccines work by introducing a small amount of the disease-causing agent into your cat’s body, which then triggers their immune system to produce antibodies to fight off the disease. This means that if your cat is exposed to the disease in the future, their body is already prepared to fight it off. However, no vaccine is 100% effective, and it is still possible for your cat to get sick even with vaccinations.

The most common vaccines for cats are for feline viral rhinotracheitis (FVR), feline calicivirus (FCV), and feline panleukopenia virus (FPV). These viruses are common causes of upper respiratory infections in cats and can be transmitted through contact with infected cats, contaminated surfaces, or even through the air. The FVRCP vaccine is a combination vaccine that includes all three of these viruses and is recommended for all cats, especially those that spend time outdoors or in multi-cat households.

In addition to the FVRCP vaccine, there are other vaccines that may be recommended depending on your cat’s lifestyle and risk factors. For example, if your cat spends time outdoors or hunts rodents, they may be at risk for contracting feline leukemia virus (FeLV) or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV). Vaccines for these viruses are available but may not be necessary for all cats.

It’s important to note that not all cats require every vaccine available. Talk to your veterinarian about which vaccines are recommended for your cat based on their lifestyle and risk factors. Remember, prevention is always better than cure, so make sure to keep your cat up-to-date on their vaccinations and give them the best chance at a long and healthy life.

Treatment Options for Cats with Upper Respiratory Infections

These infections are caused by a range of viruses and bacteria and can cause a variety of symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, and fever.

If you suspect your cat has an upper respiratory infection, it’s essential to seek veterinary care immediately. The severity of the infection will dictate the treatment options available.

For mild cases, your cat may not require any treatment at all. However, if their symptoms persist or worsen after a few days, your veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to combat bacterial infections. It’s crucial to follow the prescribed dosage and complete the full course of antibiotics to prevent the infection from returning.

In addition to antibiotics, your veterinarian may recommend supportive care such as steam therapy or humidification. This will help relieve congestion and make breathing easier for your furry friend. You may also need to clean your cat’s eyes and nose with a warm, damp cloth to remove any discharge.

Suppose your cat is not eating or drinking due to their illness. In that case, it’s essential to provide them with plenty of fluids and encourage them to eat small, frequent meals. Your veterinarian may also recommend appetite stimulants or nutritional supplements to support their recovery.

In severe cases where your cat experiences respiratory distress or has a weakened immune system, hospitalization may be necessary. In such cases, intensive care such as oxygen therapy or intravenous fluids will be administered.

Overall, the treatment options for cats with upper respiratory infections vary depending on the severity of the infection and underlying cause. As a responsible pet owner, it’s important to seek veterinary care as soon as you notice any symptoms in your cat. With proper care and treatment, most cats will make a full recovery from upper respiratory infections.


In conclusion, catching a cold from your beloved feline friend is highly unlikely. The common cold is exclusive to humans and cannot be transmitted between species. However, cat owners must remain vigilant of potential risks such as Toxoplasmosis, which can be transmitted through cat feces, and bites or scratches that can lead to infections if not treated promptly.

Feline Herpesvirus (FHV) and Feline Calicivirus (FCV) are two viruses that can affect cats and potentially be transmitted to humans indirectly through contaminated surfaces. It’s crucial for pet owners to recognize the symptoms of these viruses, how they spread, and how to prevent their transmission through good hygiene practices and vaccination.

Individuals with weakened immune systems or respiratory conditions should take extra precautions when interacting with cats. Regular handwashing and avoiding close contact with sick cats are essential steps in preventing disease transmission.

Lastly, seeking veterinary care as soon as you notice any symptoms in your cat is vital for their recovery from upper respiratory infections. Treatment options vary depending on the severity of the infection and underlying cause.