Does Your Cat Have a Cold?
16 March, 2015
It is difficult for cat owners to tell when our cats aren’t feeling well because they sleep a lot! And, of course, our brave felines are very good at hiding and/or masking their feelings and sometimes we just don’t know if they are feeling unwell or just want to be left alone! However, there are some ways in which you can tell if your kitty has a cold. And, not to worry, if you have a cold, you can’t pass a human cold on to your cat and vice versa.
If your cat has a cold, it can be extremely contagious (infection can be passed through an airborne contagion or through casual contact) and it is very common for all cats within a household to become infected quickly. Even though most of the agents that caused the cold only survive for a few hours in the environment, they can last a very long time in your cat’s respiratory tract in a latent or potent form. Some cats hang onto the cold a lot longer than others.
Cats can get a cold for a variety of reasons just as we, humans, do such as: a bacteria or virus, a parasitic worm infection, and/or an allergic reaction.
Below are some symptoms that your cat will exhibit if he has a cold:
Sneezing, runny nose, coughing and/or wheezing, discharge from your cat’s the nose or mouth, respiratory problems, oral ulcers and/or conjunctivitis (discharge from the eye).
Treatment for your cat’s cold
If you suspect your cat has any sort of cold, call and take your cat to your vet immediately for an examination. Although a cold is not serious, your cat can get secondary infections during this time period which could be more serious and can lead to chronic illnesses. Many cats with a cold will also have their appetites suppressed (which is another way to tell if your kitty is sick). Cats who don’t eat for even just a day or two can be at risk for hepatic lipidosis, which can be a very serious illness. Therefore, even though a cold itself is not terribly serious, if it is left untreated, it can turn into a serious illness.
Medication is often prescribed for a cat cold
Most cases of a kitty’s cold are taken care of with a course of drug therapy (antibiotics, decongestants, antiviral medication), rest, lots of food and liquids. Humidification of your kitty’s nasal passages may also help your cat. You can do this by purchasing a humidifier for the room or bringing your kitty in with you for a nice steaming in the bathroom. However, do not allow your cat to catch a ‘chill’ if you do get him/her wet.
If your cat still has a cold after taking medication, X-rays might help
If you do have a cat that has been on medication for a few weeks and is still not feeling better, or if your cat has finished his/her course of medication and is still ill your vet may have him/her in for another visit to do some more tests. These may include X-rays of the skull which allow you to see the nasal cavity and frontal sinuses. This can help you determine what, if any damage the infection has done to the nasal passages. A nasal flush can also be performed to collect matter from the nasal cavity. This matter can then be analyzed to better determine what is causing your cat to be ill.
How to prevent your cat from getting a cold
Try to keep your cat indoors and away from other sick animals. Make sure to keep your cat in a clean environment which includes clean food and water bowls (filtered water is best) and a clean home. Keep your home above 70 degrees and if your cat gets wet either dry him off or make sure he stays warm while he dries off. You can also talk to your vet about yearly vaccinations to ward off such infections.
Cat colds, just as in human colds, are not serious but uncomfortable for your kitty. And, if you don’t take your kitty to the vet, it could turn into something more serious. Therefore, it is always better be on the safe side and if you see any cold symptoms or lack of an appetite, call and schedule an appointment to see your vet as soon as possible.
Although there is no way to completely prevent a cat from getting a cold, you can help boost his 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.
Your kitty will get over his cold and if you watch for the signs, you can prevent it from turning into anything serious.