A cat cold refers to a set of symptoms that affect cats. It’s similar to a human cold, and it’s usually caused by a feline-specific virus.
Table of Contents
Symptoms of Cat Colds
Coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, and fever are all indications of a cold in cats. These symptoms will go away on their own in around 7-10 days for most cats.
However, problems such as a subsequent bacterial infection or pneumonia may occur in certain cats. This might result in yellow-green discharge from the eyes or nose, as well as severe congestion that prevents your cat from smelling or tasting. This disorder can cause cats to refuse to eat.
Read Also: Signs That Your Dog Loves You
Causes of Cat Colds
Viral infections are the leading causes of cat colds. The feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are thought to be responsible for over 90% of cases.
The feline herpesvirus (also known as feline rhinotracheitis virus) is highly contagious among cats. It’s frequent in houses with many cats (such as a rescue or shelter).
Cats infected with the herpes virus will carry it for the remainder of their lives, much like humans with the virus. Many cats will go through periods of dormancy, when the virus is not actively reproducing. During inactive times, they may appear to be fully healthy. However, the virus may become active and cause symptoms such as sneezing or runny eyes for a few days following stressful activities that suppress the immune system, such as being boarded or groomed.
Cats infected with feline calicivirus may exhibit symptoms that are quite similar to cats infected with feline herpesvirus. Calicivirus, like herpesvirus, is highly contagious.
Fortunately, these viral diseases affect just cats and are not spread to humans. There are also vaccines available for both viruses, which are considered core vaccines for kittens and adult cats. Although the vaccine will not entirely prevent infection, it will help to alleviate symptoms and prevent serious sickness.
How Vets Diagnose Cat Colds
Your cat’s veterinarian will do a comprehensive examination if your cat exhibits symptoms of a viral infection. It’s critical to provide your veterinarian with a detailed medical history of your cat, including the origin and nature of the symptoms.
Based on their exam findings, your cat’s veterinarian may recommend routine diagnostic tests to check for possible complications of a cold. These tests may include a complete blood count (CBC) to check white and red blood cell and platelet counts, a serum biochemistry to see if the internal organs are functioning appropriately, and chest X-rays to check for pneumonia or other conditions such as asthma or fungal infection.
An upper respiratory PCR panel may be recommended by your cat’s veterinarian in order to figure out what virus or bacteria is causing her symptoms. This test is performed by collecting secretions from the eyes and nose with swabs and submitting them to a laboratory, where they are analyzed for pathogens that cause respiratory disease.
Treatment for Cat Colds
- Although mild cases usually do not necessitate medical treatment, there are several things you can do at home to help your cat feel better while she recovers:
- While you’re taking a hot shower, keep your cat in the bathroom with you. Nasal congestion may be relieved by the humidity.
- Use a humidifier to help relieve airway irritation if the air in your home is dry (for example, during the winter).
- Reduce your cat’s stress during recovery. This may entail confining her to a smaller, quiet room with all of her needs nearby (litter box, food, water, and a warm bed), as well as the use of pheromone products.
Antibiotics are usually needed in severe cases, particularly in cases where a secondary bacterial infection is present. This is usually in the form of an oral medication that is taken at home. If your cat is unwell to the point of being unable to breathe or refusing to eat, she may need to be admitted to the hospital for 1-2 days until she is stable enough to continue treatment.
Recovery and Management of Cat Colds
Most healthy cats can recover completely from a cat cold in about 7-10 days without medical treatment. Depending on the severity of your cat’s symptoms and the need for medical care, the recovery period may be longer and more difficult. At-home care (such as steam therapy in the shower, a humidifier, and stress reduction) can aid a cat’s health.
Frequently Asked Questions About Cat Colds
You can assist your cat recover by using steam treatment from a hot shower, adding a humidifier if your air is dry, and reducing stress at home as long as she can still complete her vital daily activities (feed, drink, urinate, and defecate normally).
Most cats are infected with the feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus when they are young, or when they are confined in a shelter with other cats. Both viruses will remain in a cat’s system for the rest of their lives after exposure, which means that while most cats will appear healthy, they may start to display symptoms of a cold during periods of stress.
Yes, the feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus are responsible for the majority of cat colds. Both are highly contagious and passed from cat to cat.
By interfering with viral replication, lysine may help to lessen the severity of herpesvirus symptoms in cats.