Feline Upper Respiratory Infection
Feline Upper Respiratory Infection or 'cat colds' are very similar to human colds. Cat colds are typically not considered life-threatening, however, in some cases, symptoms may become severe and lead to a more dangerous secondary infection. It is especially important to closely monitor very young, or senior cats if they show signs of a cat cold.
How Cats Catch Colds
Cat colds can be viral or bacterial and are commonly passed between cats through the droplets spread by sneezing. Outdoor cats are much more susceptible to catching a cold due to their frequent contact with other cats.
Typical Symptoms of a Cat Cold
If your cat isn't feeling their best they could be suffering from a cold. Cat colds generally start with sneezing, with other symptoms appearing over the course of 24 hours. Below is a list of the most common symptoms of cat colds:
- Runny nose
- Excessive sneezing
- Excessive coughing
- Congestion leading to open mouth breathing
- Loss of appetite
- Red watery eyes
How You Can Help Your Cat Feel Better
While your cat is sick, increase humidity in your house by keeping a humidifier or vaporizer running. If your cat has a stuffy nose use a clean damp cloth or some cotton wool soaked in warm water to gently wipe your cat's nose. 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.
Add an extra blanket to your cat's favorite resting spots to help keep them warm and comfortable.
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.