Can Cats Catch Colds

Can Cats Catch Colds? [can a human catch a cold from a cat]

Cats can catch colds similar to humans. Cat cold symptoms include sneezing, watery eyes, and trouble breathing. You need to understand the signs. Your cat may be more vocal with you when they are sick. Meowing often may be their way of asking for help. 

Our cats might not be able to speak to us when they are not feeling well, but there are ways you can tell if your feline friend has a cold. Do you think if your cat could speak they would complain about having a cold the same way we do?

Continue reading to learn how to identify if your furry friend has the common cold virus.

Cat Upper Respiratory Infection Symptoms
Cat Upper Respiratory Infection Symptoms

Cat Colds

In general, outdoor cats have a higher risk of catching diseases than indoor cats. Cats with direct contact with other animals are at higher risk.

But otherwise healthy cats can still get sick from time to time. Also, keep in mind that older cats are more susceptible to cat viruses than younger ones tend to be.

As responsible cat owners, remember to always seek out proper medical treatment as soon as you suspect something may be wrong with your pet’s health.

Cat Upper Respiratory Infection Symptoms

Some of the cold-like symptoms of upper respiratory infections are the same in humans as they are in cats. Similar symptoms include:

  • Sneezing
  • Eye discharge
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing
  • Fever
  • Runny nose
  • Blocked nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Runny eyes
  • Loss of appetite

They may even lack the ability to open their eyes altogether. Nasal discharge can be bloody, green, and thick, or cloudy gray and clear. 

If the cold has spread to your cat’s lungs, you may see some coughing. Coughing assists in the removal of excess mucus from the lungs, in which virus particles are trapped. 

If your kitty is too stopped up, they might lose their sense of smell, resulting in not being interested in eating food. 

If the cold has persisted for seven to 10 days, a visit to the vet is important. If your kitty is having difficulty breathing and not eating, immediate veterinary care is necessary.

Why do Cats Sneeze?

Why do Cats Sneeze
Why do Cats Sneeze?

Cats sneeze for a variety of reasons. It could be a simple nose tickle or an unusual smell, such as

  • Chemicals
  • Dust and other particles
  • Foreign items like a piece of lint
  • Respiratory infection
  • Inflammation of the nasal cavity or sinuses
  • Soreness or infection of a tooth is causing drainage into the sinuses.

You do not always need to worry if your cat sneezes because it might not always be a viral infection. It could just be an allergy or a rare sneeze. 

You should be concerned if there are other potentially serious conditions along with sneezing. If you observe severe symptoms call your vet immediately!

Reasons Your Cat May Sneeze

There may be a relationship between specific instances and your kitty sneezing. 

If it happens more than just occasionally, try to see if there may be a pattern involved with the sneezing.

  • Does it happen at about the same time of day?
  • Does it occur in a specific area of the house?
  • Does it happen in every room in the house?
  • Does he or she sneeze in the bathroom?
  • Around certain chemicals or cleaning products?
  • Perhaps a particular perfume or fragrance in the house might be bothering your cat?

These are the questions you need to be asking to discern what is going on with your cat.

How to Tell When Cats are Sick

Sometimes there are other unusual signs that your cat is sick. They may have trouble jumping up, or they might become more vocal and meow more.

They might meow louder than usual. Most of the time, cats are more accepting of being sick until they feel severely ill.

It would help if you were responsible for looking for any signs that your cat is not comfortable. It could be anything from a sneeze to them not wanting to play.

Cats Throwing Up Food

You may see your cat throw up their food and wonder if that is a sign of illness.

There is not always an easy answer to this question but always call your vet for advice if your cat throws up on a regular basis as it could be a sign of illness.

Reasons Cats Throw Up

Here are some possible reasons your cat may throw up.

  • They ate too much food and their stomach is upset
  • They ate something bad. Bad food, a bird, a mouse, etc.
  • You changed their food to a different type
  • A fur ball from cleaning themselves
  • Too many treats
  • Medication
  • Sickness (call your vet if you suspect this)

How Cats Get Sick

The leading cause of colds in cats is the feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. These ailments are known to cause about 80 to 90 percent of colds in cats. 

The good news is that there are vaccines available for the feline herpes virus and the feline calicivirus. Unvaccinated cats are at a higher risk for developing colds. 

It has also been shown that even though the vaccine does not provide total immunity, it can lessen symptoms of the illness. 

Do Cats Get Sick Often?

Do Cats Get Sick Often
Do Cats Get Sick Often?

Kittens and senior cats can catch colds easily. Overall, it is the state of the cat’s immune system, stress level, and environmental factors that depend on whether they catch a cold. 

Each cat is different and has their own unique set of circumstances which can dictate how susceptible they are to feline viruses.

In general, cats don’t really get sick too often. If your cat shows signs of sickness on a regular basis make sure you contact your vet right away.

Signs Your Cat Has a Cold?

If you suspect your cat is sick take them to your veteranarian. Vets can often determine a cold just by looking at them. A lot of times, there may be ulcers around the nose, mouth, and eyes. 

Another factor is that cats can get both viral and bacterial illnesses. The feline herpes virus can cause eye ulcers, while the feline calicivirus can cause oral ulcers. 

In most cases, feline colds do not pose a significant threat, and they will resolve in about a week or two. It is up to you to observe your kitty’s health.   

Vet Tests for Cat Sicknesses

There are certain tests the vet may do to figure out the primary cause of the cold. A CBC or complete blood count can help rule out any blood-related conditions. 

The tests include chemistry tests to gauge the condition of the organs, such as the liver and kidneys. 

There should be electrolyte testing to check for dehydration or imbalance. Urine tests investigate any urinary tract infection or kidney issues. 

The vet might want to play it safe and check for feline immunodeficiency virus or feline leukemia.

How to Treat a Cat Cold

A veterinarian may prescribe an antibiotic in case your kitty has a bacterial infection instead of a virus. 

The antibiotic will help prevent any secondary bacterial infections. During this time, his or her immune system is compromised. 

In rare instances, you may need to hospitalize your cat.  Administering IV antibiotics, fluids, feeding, and other procedures may be necessary. 

A cold, if not appropriately treated, can lead to pneumonia. If your feline is recovering from home, you may notice they are sleeping a lot. 

This behavior is not at all unusual. It is crucial for the kitty’s recovery that they get plenty of rest. It will take all of their strength to combat the illness.

How to Make Your Cat Feel Better

During a cold, it is imperative to keep your cat hydrated with plenty of water. 

Dehydration can worsen a fever as well as trigger the mucus secretions to thicken. Always make sure there is fresh water in multiple water bowls. 

How to Make Your Cat Feel Better
How to Make Your Cat Feel Better

How to Get Sick Cats to Eat

If your kitty’s stomach cannot handle a lot of liquid, you should feed them moist food. They retrieve more moisture from their food intake than by ingesting liquid. 

The nourishment from the food will make them feel better. If your cat is cold, make sure he or she is covered with an extra blanket. You could also give them extra cuddles!

How to Prevent Cold in Cats

Preventing close contact between cats is ultimately the best way to protect them. It is typically better for your cat to be an indoor cat as they are less exposed to potential harm.  

Outside situations may be risky for them when they could come across another infected cat. This circumstance can be avoided with a little planning and attention. 

How do Indoor Cats Get Sick?

Viruses can be transported on your clothes or even your shoes. Once inside your house they could be a possible risk to your cat.

Usually, making sure your indoor cat is properly vaccinated will reduce the risk of infection.

You can help your cat avoid sicknesses by keeping them warm and safe. Unpredictable weather can be detrimental for cats. Some say cats can get sick if exposed to undesirable weather.

How Often Should Indoor Cats Go to the Vet?

Once or twice a year is a general consensus on how often you should take your indoor cat to the vet for a check-up.

How Much is a Vet Checkup for a Cat?

To determine the cost of a simple vet checkup for a cat we called five veteraniarns to see!

Average price for a vet cat checkup is $45 to $65. Add on the cost of any tests that may be performed.

Why Your Cat’s Age Matters

Young kittens and older cats tend to have weaker immune systems, rendering them helpless in the face of an impending cold. 

Babies can also be exposed to viruses through nursing. Therefore, it is advisable to keep an eye on these youngsters.  You should make sure they are safe and healthy. 

It is crucial to keep your cat up to date with all vaccinations they may need.

As kittens go on to be teenagers and then adult cats, they should receive a booster every three years or what your vet recommends. 

Their lifestyle will dictate what shots they receive and when. Their shot schedule is a part of their health plan with your vet.  

Can a Human Catch a Cold From a Cat?

In rare instances, your cat can spread a respiratory infection to you. 

These are referred to as zoonotic diseases. Even though this is a rare event, there are over 100 zoonotic diseases that can be spread from animals to humans.

Bordetella bronchiseptica is one example and is what causes “kennel cough” in dogs. This could also be canine influenza. 

This bacteria can spread between cats and dogs. If a cat carries Bordetella bronchiseptica explicitly, it could give it to humans. 

It is rare but possible. It often happens when the person is immunocompromised.

Are Cats Dangerous for Pregnancy?

Do cats present a health risk for pregnant women? Many people feel this is a concern. 

Although studies show this is unlikely cats could possibly expose a pregnant woman to Toxoplasmosis.

Toxoplasmosis is a disease brought about by a parasite that humans are exposed to via infected cat poop. Outdoor cats have a higher risk of carrying this infection.

This disease can cause possible severe health risks for pregnant women.

Can Cats Catch Colds From Humans?

You cannot transmit a cold to your cat if you are sick. However, there are other illnesses that humans can spread to cats.

Can Cats Catch Colds From Humans
Can Cats Catch Colds From Humans?

All of these illnesses can be dangerous for your cat if they are not appropriately treated. 

These include influenza, strep, food poisoning, and staph, which is also known as MRSA. However, your kitty is rarely ever exposed to this kind of imminent danger. 

Most of the time, all that passes between a human owner and kitty is love.

Conjunctivitis Cat Eye Problems

Conjunctivitis is when tissues become inflamed around the cat’s eyes. 

Applying a bit of plain saline solution or baby oil can make it easier to clean the mucus from the eyes. 

Generally, conjunctivitis can be treated with vet prescribed topical ointments and eye drops. 

The eyes should be cleaned twice a day with saline solution. This rinsing helps to ensure a smooth recovery. 

Typically, feline colds do not require medication, and the symptoms should improve in a couple of weeks.

Cat Calicivirus

Despite treatments, some cats will still have the calicivirus and the herpes virus. 

If the cough does not lessen in a reasonable amount of time, the vet may prescribe cough syrup. 

Secondary infections must be treated with antibiotics. They can cause itchy skin, rashes, lack of appetite, and lethargy. 

You can also try treating your kitty with lysine.  It is an essential amino acid that acts as a building block for proteins. 

Vets will often suggest this avenue of treatment to prevent the replication of the virus. You will need to pay attention when you are with the vet.  

You must follow the treatment plan to the letter. Do not be reluctant to ask the vet questions. 

Unless the Vet says otherwise, you need to give your cat the complete vet-prescribed treatment, even if their symptoms subside.

Can Cats Get the Flu?

The flu is just a step above a cold, and cats can be infected. The H1N1 influenza virus is linked to the flu strain. 

It was initially known as the swine flu. When a sick cat is carrying flu symptoms, cat owners can catch whatever kitty has. 

Maintaining good cat hygiene is necessary for the prevention of illness. Symptoms of the cat flu involve a sore throat, runny nose and eyes, sneezing, and mouth ulcers. 

Animals can get illnesses from other animals. It is important to keep your sick pets away from any other animals in the house. 

If you are sick from the H1N1 flu, you should protect your cat and quarantine until you are no longer sick. 

How to Treat a Cat With a Cold

Your cat may be suffering from a stuffy nose, and it might them to be in the bathroom with you when you shower. 

Just like a person, the steam that fills the room can benefit your kitty and make them more comfortable. The humidity would help your cat breathe better and soothe his cough. 

It would help to open up their sinuses by loosening up the mucus. You could also use a cool-mist humidifier to provide moisture. 

Make sure you tell the kitty how much he or she is loved. Your cat will hear your voice, and it will make them feel at ease. Nothing is more important.


Catching a cold is one of the common illnesses for a cat. As with human colds they are easily treated if you recognize the symptoms early.

Remember though, cat colds are nothing to sneeze at!

Can Cats Catch Colds

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