6 Common Cat Cold Symptoms and Their Treatments

Do you love your cat? Silly question because, really, how could you not? They are adorable creatures that give you love and attention and live independent lives in comfortable bliss.

We get very attached to our pets; they are part of the family, so we want to care for them when they get sick. Although they are not human, they can have patterns of common ailments that we also get, but they can be difficult to diagnose.

Are there cat cold symptoms that we can recognize? Yes, there are. Here are the different cat cold symptoms.

Symptom #1: Sore Throat

Like us, a cat’s throat becomes inflamed when they develop a cold, and it presents as a scratchy sensation. While you can ask your cat to explain it, you may notice a change in their mood and not eating because it hurts.

Symptom #2: Coughing

This goes along with a sore throat as a cat thinks it needs to clear something from its throat. Also, a cough originates lower than the nasal area, around the larynx or below, and when inflammation occurs, a cat will cough as a protective reflex.

Symptom #3: Rhinorrhoea

Rhinorrhoea, or nasal discharge, is a common cold symptom for us and our feline friends. Your cat will have excessive fluid that can be clear, yellow, green and bloody. It is a bodily reflex to an irritant or inflammation in the nasal passage.

Symptom #4: Nasal Congestion

As a cold develops, your cat can get congestion built up in the narrow nasal passages, and they get temporary blockages from swelling and excess mucus. You will notice that your cat is mouth breathing to get oxygen.

Symptom #5: Watery Eyes

Water eyes are a steady discharge from a nasal duct that is open from an obstruction caused by inflammation and congestion. The eyes may also become red and swollen.

Symptom #6: Fever

Fever is tough to recognize in a cat, but you may notice a dry nose, warm ears, loss of appetite and lethargy. You can also take the cat’s temperature with a thermometer in the anus. Anything higher than 39.7 is considered a high fever.

When you have a sick cat, depending on the severity of the symptoms, you can either wait it out, allowing the virus or bacteria to pass or take them to the vet. Keep your cat comfortable at home and give them lots of love. You can raise the humidity with a vaporizer or humidifier to help out and use a warm, damp cloth to wipe your nose and watery eyes. You can also buy some special wet cat food to tempt them into eating, as they may have difficulty smelling food, and you want to keep them nourished.

Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

This is a medical description of a cat cold, and it presents much the same as humans. As with us, it is considered a minor illness that can worsen, especially if it leads to a secondary infection.

Cats can be especially vulnerable when they are very young or very old, and if they are outdoor cats, they come in contact with other cats that can spread the cold bacteria or virus. You are unlikely to catch your cat’s cold because most infectious agents are species-specific or zoonotic.

The most common bacteria and viruses for feline upper respiratory infection (URI) are:

  • Bordetella bronchiseptica
  • Feline calicivirus – FVC
  • Feline viral rhinotracheitis- FVR (feline herpesvirus type-1)
  • Chlamoydophila felis
  • Mycoplasma

Cat colds are contagious but not to humans, but other ways it can spread is in crowded conditions like at a boarding facility for animals, regardless if the place is very clean and fancy. With the added stress of being boarded, a cat may also become more susceptible to a cold taking hold of them. It is present in saliva, discharge from the eyes and nose, and contact with contaminated objects. Mother cats can spread it to their babies, and some cats with FVR and FVC are chronic carriers for life.

Cat Cold Treatments

Most feline colds will pass in 1-2 weeks, but you should monitor them to recognize when symptoms begin to get better. If they worsen, take them to your local vet for a checkup.

These are the most common cat cold symptoms when your family pet gets a URI. Ultimately, we all get sick now and then, and it builds up our immunities for the next time we encounter similar pathogens. Give your cat lots of loving attention so they feel secure, and as with most things in life, this too shall pass. It is best to monitor them if you see any telltale signs.

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