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Cats & Colds: Can They Get Them & What to Do?

Many pet owners are not aware that their cats can catch colds just like humans and may display similar symptoms such as sneezing and a runny nose. In this post, our veterinarians in Seattle will discuss the causes, signs, and treatment of cat colds.

How Cats Catch Colds

Cats can catch colds just like humans, and the symptoms include sneezing and sniffles. Cat colds are highly contagious, and outdoor cats are more at risk than indoor cats because they are more likely to interact with other cats.

The cold is caused by bacteria or a virus and can easily spread among cats in compact conditions. If your cat has recently been boarded and suddenly develops a cold, it's possible that they were exposed to another cat with a cold.

While the cold itself is usually harmless, the symptoms can lead to more serious illnesses and infections.

Signs & Symptoms of a Cat Cold

If your cat has severe or prolonged symptoms such as those listed below, bring your cat to Cat Clinic of Seattle for a wellness exam.

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Sniffling
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration

    Caring for a Sick Cat

    If your cat is suffering from cold symptoms like a runny nose or eyes, you can help them feel better by wiping their nose with a clean cloth and their eyes with a saline solution-dampened cloth. A humidifier can also be used to keep the air moist.

    If your cat is having difficulty breathing due to congestion, place them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of it, and cover both with a blanket for 15 minutes. This will help your cat breathe more easily.

    To help your cat recover more quickly, it is important to keep them well-fed and hydrated. Try warming up their food, which may make it more appealing and easier to swallow. Provide extra blankets in their bed or favorite spot to keep them warm.

    Never give your cat human cold medicine or any medication without consulting your vet first. Always check with your vet to determine the best course of action for your pet.

    When to Seek Veterinary Care

    Colds in cats are typically harmless and can go away on their own within one to two weeks. However, it's important to keep an eye on your cat's health during this time. If there are no signs of improvement by the fourth day, it's best to take your cat to the vet. An untreated cold can lead to pneumonia, which can be more severe.

    Usually, a cat's cold symptoms will start to improve within a few days. However, if your cat has been experiencing cold symptoms and there is no sign of improvement within four days, it may be time to see a veterinarian.

    Just like humans, it is important to take extra care with older cats, kittens, and cats with other health conditions. This is particularly true for cats that are nursing or have not been vaccinated.

    If left untreated, a cat's cold can lead to more serious infections. If your cat is a senior, a young kitten, or has a weakened immune system, it is especially important to contact a vet.

    In any case, if your cat starts coughing, has trouble breathing, or stops eating, it is crucial to take them to the 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. Please visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

    Is your cat showing signs of a cold? Contact our Seattle vets as soon as you can.

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    Cat Clinic of Seattle is welcoming new patients. Our compassionate vets are experienced in caring for cats in the Seattle area. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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