Does Your Cat Have a Cold?
11 April, 2016

When our cats are sick, it is hard to really understand what they are experiencing as they obviously can’t communicate with us!  When a cat sneezes, it can be equally confusing.  There are many reasons why a cat might sneeze.  If there isn’t any discharge from your cats’ eyes or nose and he or she is eating normally, then your kitty probably doesn’t have a cold.  However, if there is discharge from your cat’s ears or nose, then you kitty might have a cold or upper respiratory infection.

An Upper Respiratory infection is similar to the flu in humans

An upper respiratory infection in a cat is more like the flu in humans because it can be very difficult to cure without seeing your veterinarian, especially in senior cats or those with chronic health problems.   And, of course, any kitten should be seen by a veterinarian at the first sign of a cold. However, if your cat refuses to eat or move, you should bring your cat to your vet immediately.

Below are the symptoms to look out for in your kitty that might signal a respiratory infection:

Sneezing, especially occurring as a series of sneezing over the course of a few hours, or frequently over several days; discharge from the eyes or nose; this may be watery, bloody, or thick and colored clear, yellow or green; coughing or excessive swallowing (if there is drainage into the back of the mouth and throat); lethargic; loss of appetite; fever, dehydration or a raised eyelid.

How to treat a cold or upper respiratory infection

Use a vaporizer:  By using a vaporizer, it can help produce warm moist air that will help drain your cats’ nasal passages and sinuses. To treat the bacterial component of the cold, your cat will require antibiotics.

Wipe the mucus away:  Wipe away secretions with a warm, moist paper towel and throw out.  Keep the eyes and nose free of discharge using cotton moistened with warm water to remove the discharge.

Make sure your kitty drinks plenty of water: Although your cat may feel less like drinking while he’s ill, it’s important to keep up his fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Make sure your cat has fresh water available and feed him more wet food at this time.

Try to get your cat to eat:  You can also try to warm up canned food or give your cat a meat flavored baby food to encourage your cat to eat.  Try adding warm chicken broth to dry food or whatever it takes to get your cat to eat.

If the symptoms return a few weeks later, chances are your cat does not have a cold and further blood tests will need to be taken to diagnose the issue.

Preventing an upper respiratory infection             

Although there is no way to completely prevent a cat from getting a cold or infection, you can help boost  your cats’ immune system so he is better able to fight off cold by keeping your cat’s living space clean.  Make sure to wash your cat’s food bowl and water dish daily.  By keeping your cat properly vaccinated and limiting his or her exposure to the outside also helps.  And, typically Indoor cats tend to be healthier.


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