If your feline friend is sneezing, sniffling, and seems generally unwell, they may be suffering from a cold. Cat colds are typically mild in nature and your cat will feel better within a week. Today, our Redmond vets explain how you can help your cat feel better and when it might be time to see the vet.
Does my cat have a cold?
Sneezing and sniffling are signs that your cat might have a cold. Just like humans, our feline friends are susceptible to upper respiratory illnesses that can leave them feeling under the weather for a few days to a week.
Colds in cats are contagious so if your cat spends time outdoors or is frequently at a boarding facility they are more likely to catch a cold from interacting with other cats.
The virus that causes colds in cats is not contagious to humans but can spread fairly easily between cats, especially in close quarters.
Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms
- Watery eyes
- Runny nose
- Mild fever
- Reduced appetite
Does my cat have allergies or a cold?
Pet allergies can have similar symptoms to a cold, including watery eyes and sneezing. Take note of how often the symptoms are presenting. If it is a one-time thing that clears up after a few days, it is likely your cat had a cold. If you notice the symptoms are recurring, it could indicate allergies.
Look for patterns in your cat's symptoms. Do they seem to worsen after you've cleaned the house? After you've fed them a certain treat? After they leave the litter box? If you can connect your cat's symptoms to a particular occurrence it could be that they are being irritated by something.
When dealing with reoccurring or worsening symptoms please keep in mind it is always best to visit your vet to have your cat diagnosed and rule out any other potentially serious issues.
What to Do If Your Cat Has a Cold
If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel less uncomfortable 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 important for your cat to continue to eat and drink so they can get better quicker. Food that is warmed up and easier to swallow might make this process more appealing for them. They also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.
Do not ever give human cold medication (or any medication without the advice of your vet) to your cat. Always speak with your vet to see what they recommend for your pet.
When to Seek Veterinary Care
In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health, however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly may develop 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.