Caring for Your Cat During Cold Season
Do cats get colds? Just like us humans, yes they do! Cats have an immune system, meaning they are prone to illnesses. So, what should you do when your cat sniffles, is sneezing or has a runny nose? Let’s delve in a little deeper to determine how to treat your cat’s illness and get them back on their feet as quickly as possible.
Do cats get colds?
As highlighted above, yes your cat can get a cold. The symptoms oftentimes are similar to those we suffer from, as humans, when we’re sick. As a cat owner, you need to understand the proper protocol for caring for your cat. Some things to remember include
- Cats aren’t humans meaning they can’t take the medication we do
- es differently to the manner we treat our colds
- Resting is a great way to help your cat get over a cold quickly
These are just a few of the basics/starting points to cat care when you’re furry loved one isn’t feeling their best.
Why is my cat sneezing?
The most common answer to this question is that your cat might be suffering from an upper respiratory tract infection, which is usually because of viral infection (i.e., the common cold). Just like humans, these viruses can be spread if you have more than one cat in the household. Therefore, if one of your cats is suffering from a cold, quarantine them from the other cats at home to prevent more than one illness at the same time.
There are a few other reasons your cat might be sneezing including
- Tooth infection
- Drainage into your cat’s sinuses
- Inhaled foreign bodies (blades of grass or other items)
- Tumors in the nasal passage
Cats, unlike humans, typically won’t sneeze because of allergies. And, these additional conditions are rare, so it’s more likely than not a cat illness stemming from a cold as opposed to the later.
Cat cold symptoms
If you think your cat has a cold, there are a few common symptoms you’ll want to look for as an owner including
- Runny nose and coughing
- Discharge from the nose or eyes
- Painful ulcers
- Loss of appetite and dehydration
- Fevers, congestion, and open mouth breathing
A cat cold is probably what your cat is suffering from if they are experiencing these symptoms, and if they are persistent, you’ll want to take your cat into the vet as soon as possible to determine the best course of treatment.
What medicines will I use to treat a cat cold?
If your cat is suffering from a cold, remember, the last thing you want to do is give them Tylenol or other medications we take when we’re ill. Cat’s immune systems are different than ours, therefore, they require a different course of treatment. If your cat is congested, consider having a vaporizer set up in the room. Make sure you have plenty of water and food set up around the home. Even though they’re not hungry, they’ll have to eat, so make sure they can easily reach their food bowls.
Your vet might also prescribe
- Nasal decongestants
- Anti-bacterial medication to prevent complications
- Oral medications or eye ointments (prescribed by your vet)
Your vet will prescribe any medication your cat should take in the event of cat illness. Make sure you talk to your vet if their cold doesn’t go away on its own after a few days.
Cat Cold Prevention
The best way to prevent cat illness in general, including cat colds, is to make sure your cat is regularly vaccinated. Make sure they’re going in for their annual checkup with the vet. Although vaccines can’t prevent all viruses, it’s the best way to ensure your cat is healthy. Additionally, make sure your cat is always well-hydrated, remains indoors when it’s raining or cold out, and eats the best quality foods.
Just like us, preventive care is the best treatment available for your cats. So, take the right steps, make sure your cat gets to their vet appointments, and that you’re fueling their body with the best source of food possible.
How long does a cold last for cats?
Most feline colds will last for 7 to 10 days, and most are not dangerous to your cat’s health. If you notice your cat is still sneezing or has the sniffles as you’re approaching day 7 or 8, consider talking to your vet about medication or another course of treatment if necessary. Some infections can last up to 21 days, although these aren’t common. Again, if you feel uneasy about your cat’s cold, or feel they aren’t getting better as you’re nearing the 1-week mark, talk to your vet about other possible treatment plans.
Things to look out for so it doesn’t turn into something worse
If your cat is irritated or stressed, make sure to place them in a calm environment. Stress can extend the duration of their cold, so make sure you keep them stress-free and happy. If nasal leakage, drainage, or discoloration are noted, talk to your vet immediately. If your cat suddenly has a change in the wrong direction, if they become inactive, or if they aren’t responding to the treatment plan you’re following, consider alternative approaches.
Remember, it’s just like taking care of a child. You never know what will or won’t work. So, keep an eye on your cat, and if things start getting worse, or if they aren’t getting better with regular treatment, your vet is the best alternative/solution to help get their cold under control.
What to do if your cat has the sniffles
There are two primary treatments which will work best for sniffles including
- Leaving your cat in a damp/humid room (let them sleep in a very damp room)
- Steam inhalation treatments
These will help clear their sinuses and help your cat breathe easy. Additionally, talk to your vet about possible medications or inhalants they might suggest, to help treat the sniffles.
Cat colds are common. As an owner, don’t worry if your cat is feeling under the weather. Take these steps in treating their cold, quarantine them from other cats/pets at home, and follow up with your vet after several days if it isn’t getting better. Most cat colds aren’t dangerous or life-threatening, so take your time and let their immune system do its job in help clearing out the infections.