Dog & Cat Food

Can Cats Get Colds

can cats get colds


Cats, those enigmatic and independent companions that grace our homes, have long captured our hearts with their playful antics and mysterious behaviors. As responsible pet owners, it is crucial to be attuned to every nuance of our feline friends’ health and well-being. Just like humans, cats are susceptible to a variety of health conditions, including respiratory illnesses.

Among these, the common cold is a concern that often prompts the question: Can cats get colds? This intriguing inquiry delves into the realm of feline health, shedding light on the nature of cat colds, their symptoms, causes, and preventative measures.

As we embark on this exploration, it’s essential to recognize that the feline respiratory system shares many similarities with that of humans. Cats, like humans, breathe through their noses and mouths, and their respiratory systems encompass the same essential components: the trachea, bronchi, and lungs. While humans and cats have distinct physiological differences, the basic principles of respiratory health apply to both species. This understanding forms the foundation for comprehending the possibility of cats contracting colds.

At first glance, it might seem counterintuitive to associate cats with the common cats cold, an illness that primarily affects humans. However, a closer look reveals intriguing parallels. The common cold in humans is most frequently caused by viruses, such as rhinoviruses, which can lead to symptoms like sneezing, runny noses, and congestion.

How do you treat a cat with a cold?

To help your cat feel better while they have a cold, increase the humidity in your house by running a humidifier or vaporizer. If your cat has a stuffy nose you can use a warm, damp cloth to gently wipe their nose. Cleanse and soothe your cat’s watery eyes by applying a saline solution with gauze pads.

As devoted cat owners, our furry companions’ health and happiness are paramount. When our feline friends fall under the weather, it’s natural to want to provide them with the best care possible. Just like humans, cats can experience cold-like symptoms due to viral infections, such as feline herpesvirus and calicivirus. In this guide, we’ll explore effective strategies for treating a cat with a cold, ensuring their comfort, recovery, and overall well-being.

can cats get colds

Consulting a Veterinarian: The first and most crucial step in treating a cat with a cold is to consult a veterinarian. While some feline cold symptoms may appear mild, they could be indicative of more severe underlying issues. A professional assessment will provide accurate diagnosis and tailored treatment recommendations. Early intervention can prevent complications and ensure a smoother recovery.

Maintaining Hydration: Just like humans, cats with colds can become dehydrated due to decreased appetite and fluid loss. Encourage your cat to drink water by providing fresh, clean bowls in easily accessible locations. In some cases, offering wet food can contribute to fluid intake. If dehydration is a concern, your veterinarian might recommend oral rehydration solutions.

Creating a Comfortable Environment: Cats with colds often appreciate a warm, quiet, and stress-free environment to aid their recovery. Ensure your cat has a cozy resting spot away from drafts and loud noises. Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, which can help alleviate congestion and ease breathing difficulties.

How do indoor cats get colds?

In many cases, cats in shelters and boarding facilities are often prone to colds due to the constant interaction with other cats. “Cats like to groom each other, so if they’re grooming and licking each other’s faces, they can also get it from direct contact,” warns Elswick.

Indoor cats, with their luxurious lives spent basking in the comfort of our homes, seem immune to the harsh elements and environmental hazards that outdoor cats often face. However, contrary to popular belief, indoor cats are not entirely immune to illnesses such as colds. Understanding how indoor cats can contract colds is essential for providing them with the best possible care and maintaining their well-being.

Indoor cats can still be exposed to viral infections through various means. Viruses, such as feline herpesvirus and calicivirus, responsible for causing feline upper respiratory infections (URIs), are highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with infected cats or contaminated objects. If you have multiple cats or if your indoor cat has recently interacted with other cats, there is a possibility of viral transmission.

As much as we love our feline companions, it’s important to recognize that humans can unwittingly transmit infections. Cold-causing viruses can linger on our hands, clothing, or other surfaces after coming into contact with infected cats. Petting, grooming, or simply being in close proximity to an infected cat and then interacting with your indoor cat can lead to viral transmission.

How long do cat colds last?

In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health, however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly may develop into pneumonia.

Cat owners, devoted to the well-being of their feline companions, often find themselves concerned when their pets exhibit symptoms of a cold. Just as in humans, cat colds can lead to sneezing, nasal congestion, and general discomfort. Understanding the duration of cat colds and their recovery process is essential for providing appropriate care and peace of mind.

Varied Duration: The duration of a cat’s cold can vary widely depending on several factors, including the cat’s overall health, age, immune system strength, the specific virus causing the cold, and the promptness of treatment. On average, a typical cat cold may last anywhere from one to two weeks. However, some cats may recover within a few days, while others might experience symptoms for several weeks.

Early Stages: In the initial stages of a cat cold, symptoms may begin to manifest subtly. You might notice sneezing, occasional nasal discharge, and a slightly decreased appetite. During this time, the virus is establishing itself in the respiratory system. It’s important to monitor your cat’s condition closely and take note of any changes.

Will a cat cold go away on its own?

In most cases, cat colds are harmless and will go away within 1-2 weeks. You do need to monitor their health, however, and if there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should make an appointment with your vet as a persisting cold that does not get treated properly may develop into pneumonia.

Cat owners, caring deeply for their feline companions, often wonder if their cats’ colds will run their course without intervention. Just as with human colds, cats can exhibit symptoms such as sneezing, nasal congestion, and lethargy when affected by viral infections. Understanding whether a cat cold will naturally resolve or if veterinary intervention is necessary is crucial for ensuring the well-being of our furry friends.

Cat colds, often caused by viruses like feline herpesvirus and calicivirus, share similarities with human colds. These viruses attack the respiratory system, leading to symptoms like sneezing, runny noses, and coughing. In most cases, cat colds are self-limiting, meaning they will eventually resolve on their own as the cat’s immune system fights off the infection.

The duration of a cat cold can vary widely, typically lasting anywhere from one to two weeks. During this period, the virus goes through phases of establishment, peak symptoms, and eventual decline. While some cats might experience a shorter duration of symptoms, others may require more time to fully recover.

One of the key factors in determining whether a cat cold will go away on its own is vigilant monitoring and observation. While most cat colds do resolve without intervention, closely watching your cat’s symptoms is essential. If symptoms worsen, persist for an extended period, or if your cat shows signs of distress, seeking veterinary care becomes imperative.

What if my cat is sneezing?

Of course, if your cat is sneezing for a long time or if she shows any other signs of illness, you should take her to the veterinarian as soon as possible. She probably does not need to see an emergency vet, but her regular vet should be able to help.

Sneezing is a natural and reflexive action that both humans and animals use to expel irritants from the nasal passages. While occasional sneezing is generally not a cause for concern, if your cat is sneezing frequently or exhibiting other accompanying symptoms, it might be an indication of an underlying issue. Understanding the potential causes of sneezing in cats and knowing when to seek veterinary care can help ensure your feline friend’s health and well-being.

can cats get colds

Common Causes of Sneezing: Just like humans, cats can sneeze for various reasons. Some common causes of sneezing in cats include:

Environmental Irritants: Dust, pollen, household cleaners, and other airborne irritants can trigger sneezing in sensitive cats.

Viral Infections: Cat colds caused by viruses like feline herpesvirus and calicivirus often lead to sneezing, along with other symptoms like runny noses and watery eyes.

Allergies: Cats, like humans, can have allergies to certain foods, pollen, or other substances, leading to sneezing and other allergic reactions.

Foreign Objects: If your cat has inhaled or ingested a foreign object, sneezing can be their way of trying to expel it.

Dental Issues: Dental problems, such as dental abscesses or inflammation, can cause sneezing due to the proximity of the nasal passages to the mouth.

Observing Other Symptoms: If your cat is sneezing, it’s essential to observe their overall behavior and any accompanying symptoms. If the sneezing is occasional and your cat is otherwise active, eating, and behaving normally, it might not be a cause for immediate concern. However, if sneezing is persistent and accompanied by other symptoms like nasal discharge, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite, or difficulty breathing, it’s time to take action.


In the intricate tapestry of feline health and well-being, the question of whether cats can get colds finds its answer in the shared vulnerabilities and remarkable similarities between our beloved feline friends and ourselves. The journey through the realm of feline respiratory health has illuminated the interconnectedness of life forms on this planet and reaffirmed the importance of responsible pet ownership.

While it might be tempting to dismiss the idea of cats catching colds as a mere anthropomorphic projection, the evidence stands strong. Feline colds, while not identical to their human counterparts, are undeniably real and can have a significant impact on a cat’s overall health and quality of life.

The manifestations of these colds, from sneezes and sniffles to lethargy and decreased appetite, mirror the symptoms we experience when under the weather. This resemblance is a testament to the shared physiological principles that govern respiratory systems across species.

The culprits behind feline colds, viruses like feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) and calicivirus, showcase the intricate dance between hosts and pathogens. The viruses exploit weaknesses in the immune systems of their hosts, spreading through close contact and occasionally wreaking havoc in multi-cat environments. The striking similarity to human cold-causing viruses underscores the parallel evolutionary paths of pathogens and the fascinating convergence of disease mechanisms.

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