I think my cat has a cold, what should I do?

Can cats get a cold? Yes! Cat colds are upper respiratory infections characterized by all the same symptoms as the human cold. If your feline friend is sneezing or has a runny nose there's a good chance they have a cat cold. Today, our Smokey Point vets explain how you can help your cat feel better and when to seek veterinary care. 

How did my cat catch a cold?

Sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold. Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by bacteria or a virus.

Just like colds in humans, cat colds are contagious. This means that outdoor cats are more likely to find themselves with the cold virus than indoor cats because they are more likely to interact with other cats. The same goes for cats that spend time in boarding facilities. 

Cat colds can not be transmitted to humans (and on the flip side you cannot give a human cold to a cat). 

What are the signs of colds in cats?

If your cat is suffering from an URI you may notice that they are exhibiting one or more of the following cat cold symptoms:

  • sneezing
  • sniffles
  • watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • mild fever
More Severe Symptoms
  • reduced appetite
  • coughing

What to Do if Your Cat Has a Cold

If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel more comfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You can also run a humidifier to help make the air less dry. 

If your cat seems to be stuffed up, making breathing a little difficult, secure them in their pet carrier, put a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for about 15 minutes.

It's important for your cat to continue to eat and drink so they can get better quicker. Food that is warmed up and easier to swallow might make this process more appealing for them. They also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.

Do not ever give human cold medication (or any medication without the advice of your vet) to your cat. Always speak with your vet to see what they recommend for your pet.

How will I know if my cat needs to see a vet?

In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away on their within 1-2 weeks. However, if you notice your cat's cold isn't getting better or is worsening by the fourth day of their infection, you should bring them to the vet. In some cases, cat colds may develop into pneumonia, particularly if your cat is a kitten, a senior, or is immunocompromised. 

In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating or drinking, they need to see a 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. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Does your cat have a cold that isn't getting better? Contact our Smokey Point vets today to book an appointment for your feline friend.