Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing

Cats & Colds: Can They Get Them & What to Do?

Just like humans, cats are not immune to the common cold, and if your cat has a cold, the signs are often quite similar. In this post, our North Fort Myers vets discuss the signs of a cat cold, how you can care for them, and when to see the vet.

Cats, Colds & What to Know

If you're wondering if cats can get a cold, the short answer is yes. Most colds in cats are caused by viruses, but they can also be caused by bacterial infections. Two of the most common causes of colds in cats are calicivirus and feline herpesvirus or rhinotracheitis.

It is not contagious for humans but is easily transmitted among cats, especially in relatively confined spaces. So if you have boarded your cat recently and they now have developed a cold, it's likely your pet was near another cat that had a cold.

Although cat colds are relatively harmless, symptoms can lead to more serious illnesses and infections. 

Signs of a Cat Cold

If your cat has severe or prolonged symptoms like the ones listed below, bring your cat to Van Roekel & Associates for a wellness exam.

  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Sniffling
  • Coughing
  • Dehydration

    What to Do If Your Cat Has a Cold

    If your cat has a cold, you can help them feel less uncomfortable by wiping their runny nose with a clean cloth, and runny eyes with a cloth and saline solution. You can also run a humidifier so the air isn't too dry.

    If your cat appears to be stuffed up, making breathing a difficult process, secure them in their carrier, place a bowl of hot water in front of the cage, and cover both with a blanket for about fifteen minutes. This should help clear up their airways and help them breathe.

    Your cat needs to continue to eat and drink to expedite their recovery. Food that is warmed up and easier to swallow might make this process more appealing for them. They also need to stay warm, so place an extra blanket in their bed or favorite area to curl up.

    Do not give any cold medicine to your cat without speaking to your veterinarian first. Cats metabolize medications differently than we do, and many drugs that are designed for humans are toxic to cats.

    Don't give your cat acetaminophen (Tylenol) under any circumstance. Aspirin may be necessary in some cases but is easy to overdose, so it is crucial to speak to your vet to get an accurate dosage.

    Seeking Veterinary Care

    In most instances, cat colds are harmless and will clear up within seven to ten days. However, be sure to monitor their health and behavior while they are sick. If there is no sign of improvement by the fourth day, you should visit your vet as a cold that does not get treated properly may develop into pneumonia.

    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 after day four, it's time to visit the vet.

    As with humans, it's important to be careful with older cats, kittens, pregnant cats, and cats with other conditions that may make them more susceptible to the effects of a cold. This is especially true of cats that are nursing, or that haven't been vaccinated.

    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.

    In any case, if your cat begins coughing, has difficulty breathing, or stops eating, 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. Please visit your vet for an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition.

    Are you worried that your cat has a cold? Contact our North Fort Myers vets to have your feline friend examined and cared for.

    New Patients Welcome

    We are accepting new patients at Van Roekel & Associates! Our veterinary team is dedicated to the care of North Fort Myers dogs and cats, horses, and farm animals. Reach out today to book your animal's first appointment.

    Contact Us

    (239) 694-7177 Contact