Cat Colds: How to Spot Them & How to Treat Them

The winter months are considered cold and flu season for us humans, but what about our feline friends? Can they get the sniffles and runny noses just like us? As it turns out, they can!

While cats don’t have a cold “season,” they can come down with cold or flu-like symptoms and likely will at some point in their lifetime. So, as their loving owner, how can you tell when they’re under the weather, and what can you do to help? Let’s take a look!

How Does a Cat Catch a Cold?

Typically, a cat catches a cold from another infected cat or via an airborne virus. For this reason, outdoor kitties are at a higher risk of contracting an upper respiratory infection (URI—the equivalent of a cold in cats). Cats in the same household are very likely to pass the virus to one another. Cat colds differ from human colds, however, in that once a cat catches the virus it will always be in their body. While the virus will usually remain latent, it may flare up again from time to time and produce symptoms.

What Do Cold Symptoms Look Like in Cats?

Cat colds present very similarly to human colds. An infected cat may experience the following symptoms:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Sniffling
  • Open-mouth breathing (nasal congestion)
  • Decreased appetite
  • Watery eyes
  • Fatigue
  • Mild fever

How Should I Treat My Cat’s Cold?

Most cat colds are not serious and will subside within 1-2 weeks. If you notice any of the above symptoms in your cat that don’t start improving within 3-4 days, make an appointment with your vet. They may prescribe antibiotics to fight off possible secondary infections that could worsen or prolong symptoms.

In the meantime, you can help keep your cat more comfortable by wiping any discharge from their eyes with a soft, saline-soaked cloth and placing a humidifier near their bed or favorite lounge spot to help decongestion. Provide plenty of food and water for your cat; if you notice that they are not eating or drinking, you may need to help them. Warm, wet food, chicken, or fish will be easier for them to swallow, and if they’re not drinking enough water, you may gently use a syringe to help hydrate them. If your cat stops eating or drinking entirely, call your vet immediately.

Look no further than The Cat’s Inn for animal shelters and cat boarding facilities needing housing to keep your residents healthy and comfortable this winter! Our commercial cat townhouses and shelter towers are designed with a top-of-the-line ventilation system and plenty of room for cats to spread out. That way, one sick cat can be cared for comfortably without infecting their neighbors.

Call us at (877)228-7466 to discuss which of our cat townhouse models is right for your needs today!