Treating A Cat Cold Or Flu
Treating a cat cold is simple. If your cat has a cold there is usually no need to worry, simply wait it out. Most cat colds will last no more than 7-10 days. The cold virus will remain in your cats system for years which significantly increases the chances of it recurring in the future.
This can cause problems, particularly as your cat ages, because as they age their body will be more prone to respiratory ailments such as pneumonia which can be fatal.
A veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to treat a severe feline flu. In the most advance cases, cats with sever flu symptoms can be hospitalized for further treatment. Flu vaccinations are available for cats, they wont give 100% protection, but a flu vaccinated cat may lessen flu symptoms in the future.
When To Seek Treatment
With good at-home care, most cats will be over their colds within just a few days. If your cat is not showing any improvement withing 4-5 days, however, or if its symptoms continue to worsen, it is important to seek veterinary care. This is especially true with any very severe symptoms such as wheezing or extreme difficulty breathing, or if additional symptoms appear. Cats can develop pneumonia quickly, and immediate treatment is necessary to prevent more severe complications.
Cats can commonly get colds, but recognizing the symptoms and providing at-home relief can help make your pet more comfortable while it recovers.
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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.
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Can Cats Get A Cold
Yes, it’s a fact, cats can catch colds. Sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold, but you may be wondering how it happened in the first place. And, more importantly, how you can avoid it in the future.
Just like colds in humans, cat colds are contagious and quickly spread to other cats that are in contact with the sick kitty. 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.
Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection caused by bacteria or a virus. Cat URIs are not contagious to humans but easily transmit between cats, especially in crowded conditions. This means that if you’ve boarded your cat recently and they now have cold-like symptoms, it’s likely your kitty was near another cat suffering from an upper respiratory infection.
Choosing a reputable boarding provider could also help to reduce the chances of increasing your pet’s stress levels, and will make it less likely for your cat to develop a URI.
Keep Eyes On Cats Food:
If your cat is having congestion, it will not eat anything shared with most cats. However, you need to make sure that your cat eats something otherwise, it can lead to other problems. Keep giving your cat some special treats such as sardine juice, raw chicken, or liver baby food with no added onions or a teaspoon of tuna.
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When To See A Veterinarian
Your cat should be taken to a veterinarian if any of the below occurs:
- You can not get your cat to eat.
- The cat is lethargic.
- Cats older than 7 years or under three months.
- If the cat is dehydrated
- He has any other underlying medical problems.
- If the nasal or eye discharge changes from clear to coloured and thick, which means he has a bacterial infection.
Medications should not be given to your cat unless your veterinarian has prescribed them. In some cases, your veterinarian may recommend the use of decongestants such as Benadryl, Chlortrimeton or nasal sprays to help relieve congestion. This has to be carefully administered according to your cats weight, and must only be carried out on the recommendation of your vet.
Never use human medications on cats. In some cases, your veterinarian may prescribe a course of antibiotics to treat any secondary bacterial infections which may occur.
Place Your Cat In A Steamy Room
Theres nothing better to your cats nasal and respiratory congestion than good, long steam. Breathing in the warm steam will help Fluffy expel any drainage that is blocking her nose/throat. In addition to this, the steam will warm her up and make her feel relaxed and calm.
- Bring your cat in their cat carrier to the bathroom and leave them in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Repeat 2 to 3 times per day until the cold is gone.
Notes: You can also use a dehumidifier to provide steam to your cat. Simply place the dehumidifier in front of their carrier and turn on low or medium. Place a towel around their carrier to keep the steam inside.
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Why Does My Cat Cough
Coughing can occur because of the overproduction of mucous, which drains down the throat. However, just because your cat coughs does not mean they have an upper respiratory infection.
Like people, cats can cough for other reasons besides an infection, such as allergies or clearing something from the throat. If youre concerned about your cats cough, see your veterinarian, who can help diagnose the problem and recommend the appropriate treatment.
On a side note, you should know that cats dont cough because of hairballs. Hairballs develop in the digestive tract, not the respiratory system, and are vomited up. Both vomiting and coughing can cause cats to heave and make similar sounds, so it can be challenging for cat parents to tell the difference.
Easy Things To Do At Home:
- Put your cat in a bathroom while the shower is running with hot water, the steam from the shower will help to open up your cats nasal passageways
- Note: If your cat is congested, your cat most likely will NOT EAT, this is very important to take note of, always make sure your cats nose is clean and passageways are clean. If your cat has not eaten for more than 1 day, they should immediately be taken to the vet. After 3 days of not eating your cat can develop a fatty liver and cause liver damage.
- You can get a humidifier and place it in a small room with your cat, you can add lavender oil to the water which will promote healing.
- A healthy cat should always have slick, salvia covers gums, a sick dehydrated cat will have tacky brick red gums. Just like with humans gums should be soft pink and moist.
- Check you cats elimination habits, they should be normally passing stools and urinate regularly. Normal stools, tootsie roll like, not hard or too soft , both are not normal and should not be left untreated for long.
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How Do Cats Catch Colds
These pathogens are usually airborne but can also be spread through water. Most cats catch colds by being close to a cat that is already sick. This makes places with lots of cats in close quarters, such as a shelter, boarding kennel, or cattery, prime spots for transmitting colds. Cats living indoors in family homes are not protected from catching colds, however. Your cat can still be exposed to viruses and bacteria from cats who hang out outside your home, or even if you pet a sick cat elsewhere and then come home and interact with your cat.
Poor air quality and ventilation can increase the risk of catching a cold. Cats who have a weakened immune system due to other issues are also at increased risk. Systemic illnesses such as kidney disease, asthma, allergies, or even stress can all put your cat at increased risk. For cats with asthma and allergies, forced air heat in the winter can cause an increase in symptoms and potentially predispose them to getting a URI, especially if the vents are not well-maintained.
Some viruses can also stay in your cat’s body long term even after the initial illness has resolved. These viruses remain latent until stress or another illness triggers them to recur later in the cat’s life. Feline herpes in particular tends to do this.
Treating Coughs In Cats
There are lots of reasons why your cat might have a persistent cough, depending on when and how they cough. We’ll look at just a few of the potential causes here, but ultimately your veterinarian is the person to make a definitive diagnosis.
If your cat coughs only when exercising, it may be acute bronchitis, a lung inflammation. Cats with chronic bronchitis are more likely to cough up mucus. Cats may also develop feline asthma, a chronic lung inflammation that can make breathing difficult. One symptom is a persistent cough, but it’s usually accompanied by other symptoms such as wheezing, bluish gums, open-mouthed breathing and gasping for breath.
More serious diseases than asthma can start out with a simple cough. Congestive heart failure, for example, may begin with a mild, moist cough at night that becomes productive over time. Coughs may also be due to pneumonia, a fungal infection, lymphoma, heartworms and a host of other illnesses many of which can be successfully treated if caught early. That’s why any cough that lasts for more than a day or two, or is accompanied by other symptoms, should be checked out by the vet just to be on the safe side.
Originally Published: May 20, 2011
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How You Can Help Your Cat Feel Better
While your cat is sick, it would be beneficial to increase the humidity in your house by keeping a humidifier or vaporizer running. If your cat has a stuffy nose gently wipe clean your cat’s nose with a clean damp cloth or some cotton wool soaked in warm water. Cleanse and soothe your cat’s watery eyes by applying a saline solution with gauze pads.
While your cat is stuffy they will have difficulty smelling food and may stop eating. Food is important for keeping your cat’s strength up while they recover, so it may be a good time to buy some extra special wet cat food to tempt your feline friend to eat. Warming your cat’s food may also help.
Make sure your feline friend stays warm and comfortable by adding an extra blanket to your cat’s favorite sleeping area.
Signs That It’s Time To Visit the Vet
Cat colds typically begin to clear up after just a few days. If your cat has been suffering from the symptoms of a cold and shows no sign of improvement within 4 days, it may be time to visit the vet.
Cat colds can lead to more serious infections if left untreated. It is particularly important to contact your vet if you have a senior cat, young kitten, or immune-compromised cat.
What Causes A Cat To Develop A Cold
Most feline upper respiratory tract infections are caused by Feline Herpes Virus and Feline Calicivirus. According to icatcare.org, these two viruses are thought to be responsible for more than 90% of feline upper respiratory tract infections.
Bordetella bronchiseptica and Chlamydophila felis, both bacterial organisms, may also be involved in some cases.
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How Can I Treat My Cats Cold At Home
Once your cat is seen by a vet and prescribed the proper medications, you can use a humidifier in a small room several times a day for about 15 minutes to help your cat breathe easier. Help your cat by wiping off any discharge from the nose or eyes with a soft, wet cloth. Try to entice your cat to eat to keep her energy up and drink so she stays hydrated. If your cat wants to play that can be a good distraction but if shes not in the mood let her sleep and heal.
Wipe Away The Evidence
Cat colds cause discharge. And poor kitty cant just blow her nose like we can.
The best way to help her out with all the gunk her body is discharging during the cold is to keep a pack of cat wipes handy to gently remove eye any nasal discharge.
She might not appreciate the gesture my cat hates having her face cleaned by anything other than her own paws but shell appreciate the lack of runny gunk on her face, hopefully.
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How To Treat A Cat With A Cold
If your cat is showing signs of a cold but overall is doing okay, you can provide supportive care at home to keep her comfortable.
- Make sure she has a nice warm spot where she can rest undisturbed.
- Clean her face as needed using a damp cloth to remove any crusting around her nose or eyes. You can use artificial tears to flush her eyes if needed.
- A humidifier can help to soothe irritated airways.
- Warm her food to increase the odor. Congestion can impact your catâs sense of smell, making her less interested in her food.
Do not give any cold medicine to your cat without consulting your veterinarian. Cats metabolize medications differently than we do, and many drugs that are safe for humans are toxic to cats. Do not give acetaminophen to your cat under any circumstance. Aspirin is appropriate in some situations, but is also easy to overdose, so it is crucial to have an accurate dosage from your veterinarian based on your cat’s current weight.
Most kitty colds will resolve on their own with time and supportive care. If your cat is ill enough to require medications for her cold, she will be better served by receiving medications intended for use in cats from your vet.
How To Treat A Cat Cold At Home
These home remedies for cats with colds are a natural and safe alternative to harsh and often toxic medications. The following home treatments can be implemented as soon as you have received the cold diagnosis. It is for the best to begin treating the cold as soon as you can to speed up the recovery time and to prevent spreading the cold to other cats in the household.
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Vitamin C As A Natural Remedy
Vitamin C is known as one of the best immunity boosters for any person or pet with a cold. The vitamin is loaded with citric acid, which supplies the cell with much needed compounds necessary for manufacturing energy in molecular form. With more Vitamin C in the body, cells have more energy to fight off infection and speed recovery. Many pet owners find that a daily dose of a quarter tablet of Vitamin C for four days will bring the cold to a quick end.
To administer the Vitamin C, place tablet as close to the back of the mouth as possible and keep some fresh water ready to wash out the taste. If your cat does not like to swallow tablets, dilute with a half teaspoon of water and insert in a syringe. With the syringe , give the Vitamin C solution to your cat at the far back of the mouth, just as with the tablet. Herbal Remedies
Antiviral herbs are also great natural remedies for a cat cold. Elderberry and licorice are effective herbal remedies. The licorice root is the natural equivalent of cortisone, and soothes the mucus membranes. This will reduce the sneezing and runny nose. Elderberry flowers can be made into a tea and fed to your cat in liquid form . These flowers will also treat the runny nose and sneezing.
Herbal tablets are frequently used by pet owners in place of the fresh herbs. These biochemical tablets relieve cold symptoms with a variety of compounds such as calcium sulphide, ferrum phos and mullein leaves.
Monitor Food And Water Intake
Monitoring your cats food and water intake while she has a cold is vital to ensure that she is getting better, not worse. When your cat becomes congested, she loses her sense of smell. This condition leads to loss of appetite and, therefore, to significantly reduced much-needed energy intake
Encourage your cat to eat by offering her favorite treats – tuna, liver, or sardine juice. You can also add a little bit of water to the dry food to enable easier digestion. Furthermore, you can warm up canned food to make it more appealing and encourage your cat to eat.
Checking your cats hydration levels is essential so that your cat does not slip into dangerous dehydration. You can check your cats hydration levels in two ways.
One way is to grab your cats scruff and hold it in place. When you release the scruff, the fur and skin should spring back immediately. The more it takes for the fur to get back, the more dehydrated the cat is. It is advisable to take your cat to the vet as soon as possible if you suspect that she is dehydrated. You can also try to give her water with a syringe.
You can also examine your cats gums. Ideally, they will be soft and pink, similar to human ones. If the gums are dry, not moist, your cat is probably dehydrated. One other thing you can do is to press the gums with your fingers. Initially, the skin will get white but should return to pink in no more than two seconds.
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