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Can You Catch A Cold From A Cat

Can Cats Catch A Cold

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Cats can catch respiratory diseases such as cat flu which has similar symptoms to our colds: sneezing, runny or stuffy nose, and watery eyes. This respiratory infection can be uncomfortable for cats but usually isnt severe . As long as theyre kept warm and hydrated and away from other cats, to avoid spreading the infection -they should recover fairly quickly.

However, cat flu can pose more of a risk to kittens. If caught in the early stages of life, cat flu can lie dormant and keep coming back throughout the rest of their life, triggered by things like stress, poor diet, and other illnesses. This can weaken their immune system, making them more susceptible to other health issues.

Thankfully, cat flu can be vaccinated against, and keeping on top of your cats annual vaccinations is the best way to keep them protected.

Is It Common For Cats To Catch A Cold

It is very common, according to Peter Soboroff, DVM, MS, a vet from New York Cat Hospital in Manhattan. “Especially in kittens,” he said. “But seldom dangerous or serious.”

Cats in pet stores or shelters are more prone to catching upper respiratory infections than domestic cats, as colds are contagious between cats. “If one cat is sick and we don’t catch it in time, the infection spreads throughout the rescue facility. If that happens, everyone has to be treated and facilities have to be cleaned thoroughly,” Dr. Hodges and Dr. Ferguson said.

How Many People Have Been Infected With H7n2 In The United States

Recently one human infection with H7N2 virus was identified in a veterinarianexternal icon;who was caring for sick cats. That infection was associated with an outbreak of H7N2 virus among cats in animal shelters in New York City.

Previously there have been two human infections with similar H7N2 viruses in the United States, occurring in 2002 and 2003. One of these infections was associated with exposure to sick birds . The second source of infection could not be determined. Both people who became ill as a result of H7N2 virus infection recovered completely.

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Can Cats Catch Your Cold

The bacteria and viruses that most commonly cause upper respiratory infections URIs in cats are. Although bacteria and fungi can cause cat colds by far the most common cause of URIs in cats is viral.

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How Can I Tell If My Cat Has H7n2

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At this time, H7N2 infections have only been found in cats associated with animal shelters in New York City shelters). No other H7N2 outbreaks or H7N2 infections in cats in the United States have been reported. Therefore, unless your cat recently came from an ACC animal shelter in New York City, the likelihood of your cat having H7N2 is extremely low.

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Q: How Do Cats Get Cat Flu

A: A cat can be a carrier of cat flu without necessarily showing symptoms. Its transmitted through sneeze or saliva droplets, or eye discharge. While kittens are usually most at risk of catching cat flu, older cats with weakened immune systems may also be susceptible. If your cat is a golden oldie or has a pre-existing heart or lung disease , youll need to watch her carefully and you might need to speak to your vet about possible treatments.

Cat Colds Can Sometimes Worsen

While most cats arent really bothered by a cold and continue to eat, drink, groom, and play normally, colds can sometimes be more severe.

Both herpes and calicivirus can cause ulcers on the eyes or mouth which are painful. If theres a lot of goop in the eyes the eyelids can get stuck shut and if theres a lot of snot that can cause them to not be able to smell food and not want to eat. Rarely pneumonia, dehydration, and other severe illness can develop. Usually these more severe symptoms are seen in kittens but they can sometimes happen in immunocompromised or very elderly adult cats too.

Its important to get your cat checked out any time you see cold symptoms, especially if your cat is not eating or drinking normally, or if she is showing signs of breathing difficulties .

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When Pets Get The Sniffles: Understanding Cold Symptoms In Dogs And Cats

Its that time of year again colds, sniffles and even the flu start taking over schools and offices. It seems like almost everyone is carrying tissues and spending a few days in bed. With such a prevalence of colds in humans during winter, its easy to wonder if and how such viruses pass to our pets. Can dogs and cats catch a cold?

What is a Cold?

A cold is a general term we use to describe a virus that causes certain symptoms, usually runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing, congestion, coughing and/or scratchy throat. In humans, the cold virus is usually a rhinovirus, though there are a few other culprits. These viruses are specific only to humans, and cannot be passed to dogs or cats. Similarly, dog and cat viruses cannot be passed to humans.

So when we use the term cold to describe a dog or cat illness that has the same symptoms as a human cold, we are using the same generic term , but it refers to different actual viruses. In dogs, these viruses are usually canine respiratory coronavirus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus, or Bordetella . In cats, the virus whose symptoms looks like a human cold is usually herpesvirus or calicivirus.

What are symptoms of a dog or cat cold?

Dogs and cats do catch colds, and their symptoms are just like humans. Both may have discharge from their noses, wet or labored breathing from congestion, sneezing , watery eyes and lethargy . The cold symptoms will likely last 5-10 days.

How Do You Help A Cat With The Flu

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In many cases, it is best to seek the help of a vet, however, you should visit your vet immediately if your cat is quiet, has reduced appetite, or is less active than normal.

To help your cat recover:

Remove any discharge from their eyes using clean, warm water

Provide your cat with clean and comfortable bedding, which should be washed regularly

Keep your cat in a well-ventilated space

Always provide your pet with fresh drinking water to keep them hydrated and regularly clean their food bowls

If you live in a multiple cat household, where possible, prevent any risk of the disease spreading by isolating the infected cat in a room where you can use pet-friendly disinfectant

Provide separate bowls and a litter tray for the remaining pets

Visit your vet if your cat still has symptoms after 7 days

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Keep Them Fed And Hydrated

Cats can easily become dehydrated when they have cat flu because they lose their sense of smell and taste. This leads to them eating and drinking less.

To keep them hydrated and fed its best to mix in foods to their usual meals that are easy to eat and have strong smells. We suggest warm foods like:

  • sardines
  • roast chicken
  • tuna

As well as keeping them hydrated, encouraging your cat to drink also helps to loosen catarrh .

Cats that cannot eat may need to be hospitalised for treatment.

Q: What Treatment Is There For Cat Flu

A: There is no cure for cat flu, but the good news is that healthy older cats those that have no immune issues have usually built up some resistance to it with age. However, if your cat caught the flu virus earlier in life, it can lie dormant and keep coming back, and is often triggered when her immune system is low from stress, poor diet or another illness. Consult your vet as soon as your cat shows any of the symptoms . Antibiotics might be prescribed to help her deal with any secondary bacterial infections as a result of the virus, and it might take a few weeks before her body really gets on top of the symptoms.

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Why Cats Get Colds

Cats can get both viral and bacterial sicknesses, with the feline herpesvirus and the feline calicivirus being responsible for 95 percent of cat colds, Dr. Osborne says. can also be caused by a combination of viruses and whatever other bacteria happens to come around your cat.

Cats are also sensitive to change, so if your kitty is feeling stressed out over something like recuperating from being spayed or neutered, being boarded or a change of residence, her immune system may be weakened, which can trigger a cold.

Using Lysine 5 to 7 days prior to any stressful events may be helpful in boosting the immune system and lessening the risk of upper respiratory infections following these events.

Dr. Barrack says that although cats cant spread the virus to people, they can spread it to other cats.

Dogs Rarely Catch Human Colds


A human’s “common cold” virus actually isn’t just one virus. More than 200 viruses can cause common cold symptoms in humans.1;The symptoms are relatively mild and include a runny nose, sneezing, coughing, and sometimes a mild fever. Dogs can have cold symptoms too, but only very rarely are these at all associated with the type of cold humans get. The chance of a dog catching a human cold isn’t zero, but it’s very rare.2

Experts say a dog might catch his owner’s flu, but it is relatively uncommon. At least one case was reported with the 2009 H1N1 swine flu, for example.3;But you don’t need to spend any time worrying your dog will catch your cold or flu.

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No Your Pet Can’t Catch Your Cold

Lori Teller, a veterinarian and clinical associate professor at Texas A&M University, tells Insider that the estimated 200 or so viruses that cause the common cold are not contagious to companion animals, including dogs, cats, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish.;

That’s because the viruses that cause the common cold in people are species-specific. In other words, in the case of the cold, they can infect only humans.

How it works is that a virus is like a key that only fits into the right lock, called a receptor. It must bind to that receptor on the outside of a cell to gain entry and unleash an infection. Those locks, those receptors, generally vary from one species to the next, according to Gregory Gray, an infectious-disease epidemiologist and professor at Duke University.;

That means certain species may lack the receptor that a particular virus needs to gain entry, which halts infection before it can begin. Such is the case for your cold virus and your pet.

That said, “there are lots of diseases that are potentially transmissible between humans and animals too many to count,” Teller says. For example, the H1N1 flu pandemic of 2009-10 jumped from swine to humans and then to cats. Moreover, diseases that are not from viruses, such as those caused by parasites, fungi, or bacteria, can also spread from animals to humans.

Can You Catch A Cold From Your Cat

Some cat owners might have noticed themselves catching the cold after their cats have caught the cold. In most cases, this should be a coincidence. It is possible for such a pathogen to spread from a cat to a cat owner, but the chances of it happening are very, very low. Combined with the fact that there are a lot more human cold viruses than there are either cat cold viruses or dog cold viruses, this means that it is likelier for the cat owner to have caught their cold from a human than from a cat. With that said, a very, very low chance is not the same as no chance whatsoever, which is something that interested individuals might want to keep in mind.

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How Can A Person Catch A Flu Virus From A Cat

Generally, a person can get infected with a flu virus when enough of the virus gets into their eyes, nose or mouth, or is inhaled . People can potentially get flu from a sick cat by touching virus-containing secretions from the cat and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Also, sick cats may cough or sneeze, which can expel droplets containing the virus into the air that a person can breathe in or that can enter a persons eyes, nose or mouth.

Can Cats And Dogs Catch Colds

Dogs showing signs and symptoms of flu

Yes cats and dogs catch colds but its not always the human kind.

For cats and dogs, the symptoms can be sneezing, weakness, and nose and eye discharge. These can also be signs of allergies and infections, as well as serious conditions like parasites, pneumonia and distemper.

Can your cats and dogs catch colds or the flu from you?

Dogs cant: Theres no concern with dog-to-human, or human-to-dog, transmission, says Scott Weese, the Canada research chair in zoonotic diseases and an associate professor at the Ontario Veterinary College. Dogs get viruses from each other.

But a cat can catch cold or flu from you. The virus attaches to cells in the respiratory tract of felines similarly to how it does in humans, says Weese. He points to reports of H1N1 found in cats in the United States. Cats also get cat-to-cat viruses that are similar to a cold, but humans cant catch those.

If you have a pet, its always a good idea to wash your hands often, especially after contact.

Avoid exposure from the pets saliva to your mucous membranes, such as your nose and mouth, or broken skin, says Weese.

If a pet is ailing, keep him away from family members with weakened immune systems, such as pregnant women and the elderly. Some experts say you should never let pets sleep in your bed especially under the covers.

Nurse your buddy

If your pet is sick, help him feel better by regularly cleaning his area and, in the case of cats, changing the litter box often.

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Cat Colds: When To See A Veterinarian

The most important thing is to bring your cat to the vet for care before you do anything, says Dr. Rachel Barrack, a licensed veterinarian and certified veterinary acupuncturist.

Dr. Barrack says some more severe symptoms that cat owners should watch out for include difficulty breathing, increased eye or nasal discharge, increased lethargy or a refusal to eat or drink. This is why you should initially make sure to see a vet instead of first trying to treat the problem at home.

These are all signs that more care is required. Its easy to think that when your cat has a cold, theres nothing to worry about, but I think its better to err on the side of caution, says Dr. Barrack. Its easier to treat in the early stages.

So, once you consult with your veterinarian to determine the diagnosis and have gotten a prescription pet medication,;you can also supplement treatment with a little TLC. Here are some additional home remedies for cats with colds that can bring comfort when your cat isnt feeling his best.;

Q: Is It Possible For Cats To Catch A Cold

A: Although theres a lot of confusing information on the internet, cats cant actually catch the same common cold virus we do but they can get cat flu . Cat flu does cause cold-like symptoms, with a runny, congested nose that can make your cat snuffle and sneeze, a fever, drooling, and red, watery eyes. Your cat might also avoid moving around as much if she has cat flu, as it can cause muscle and joint pain.

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Do Cat Colds Go Away On Their Own

Mild cat colds may go away on their own with no treatment. However, because cat colds can worsen its important to seek veterinary treatment if your cats cold continues for more than a few days, especially if the symptoms are not improving or are getting worse. Most cat colds are caused by feline herpesvirus which cats are infected with for life although the symptoms of the cold should go away.

How You Can Help Your Cat Feel Better

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While your cat is sick, you can help by keeping a humidifier or vaporizer running to increase the humidity in your house. Add an extra blanket to your cat’s favorite resting spots to help keep your cat stay warm and comfortable.

If your cat has a stuffy nose use a clean damp cloth or some cotton balls soaked in warm water to gently wipe your cat’s nose. While your cats nose is stuffy she/he will have difficulty smelling and tasting food and may stop eating. You may need to warm up your cats food or buy some extra special wet cat food to encourage your cat to eat.;

If your cats eyes are red and inflamed and the discharge is clear you can cleanse and soothe your cat’s watery eyes by applying a saline solution with gauze pads. You should contact your vet if the discharge becomes yellow, green or thick.

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What Diseases Can Your Pet Catch From You

Many diseases can also be spread from animals to humans and are closely monitored by the CDC . Depending on the disease and the species of pet, some illnesses can be transmitted to and from humans and animals. Many exotic pets are prone to several kinds of zoonotic diseases including:

  • Ferrets, as was mentioned before, are able to catch the influenza virus from humans causing similar symptoms that we experience when sick with the flu.
  • Rabbits are susceptible to the herpes simplex virus but it is more commonly seen in laboratory rabbits than pet rabbits.;
  • Hedgehogs are suspected to be able to catch the herpes simplex virus but it has yet to be confirmed.
  • Exotic cats and domestic felines can catch some viruses from humans including H1N1 and some of the cold viruses
  • Birds can get some eye infections from some bacteria and viruses from humans when we kiss them but passing diseases from bacteria such as mycoplasma, chlamydia, and salmonella are not often seen.
  • Ringworm can be given to many different kinds of exotic pets from their humans. Exotic cats, foxes, ferrets, guinea pigs, rabbits, pot bellied pigs, birds, mice, rats, hamsters, gerbils, chinchillas, and other pets. Ringworm isn’t actually a worm but rather a fungal infection that infects the skin of humans and pets.


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