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The results are in! Can cats catch colds from humans? True or False?

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Can cats catch colds from humans? 

Dr Ali Raza, a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine says – No, cats can not catch colds from humans.

Dr Raza, goes on to explain. In simple terms, only feline viruses infect cats. Viruses causing colds in humans do not affect cats.

Cats do not catch human colds.

Note: Humans can act as a medium for the transmission of virus for colds in cats. For example, if you touch and interact with a cat that has a cold and then touch a healthy cat, the healthy cat can get infected with the cold virus.

However, the chances of transmitting the cat cold like this are extremely rare and few and far between. As a precautionary measure, refrain from touching outdoor cats. Wash your hands before touching your own cat to prevent accidental transmission of any pathogen.

Only zoonotic diseases are transmitted between humans and cats.

A zoonosis (zoonotic disease or zoonoses – plural) is an infectious disease that is transmitted between species from animals to humans (or from humans to animals). Here is more information about zoonotic diseases concerning cats if you are interested in reading further.

A Description Of A Cat Cold

Cat colds are infections of the upper respiratory tract, commonly called the “cat flu”.

Apart from their common name of cat colds, they are also commonly referred to as an Upper Respiratory Infection (URI).

A URI can be of bacterial or viral origin. Most commonly, herpes viruses are responsible for causing colds in cats.

How Do You Know if Your cat Is Cold?

Read more…


How Did My Cat Catch A Cold?

When a cat has a cold, it is highly contagious which means that the cold virus can be transmitted easily from one cat to another.

Transmission from one cat to other is through saliva, nasal or eye discharge etc.

Outdoor cats are more likely to suffer from colds than indoor cats.

Outdoor cats are more likely to suffer from colds because outdoor cats interact with other cats (more frequently than indoor cats) and can get viral pathogens that cause colds.

Where Do outdoors Cats Sleep At Night?



Can Cats Catch Colds From Each Other?

two cats sitting close to each other

Yes, cats can catch colds from sick cats.

The major reason for cats getting colds is through transmission from already infected cats. You should not let your cat interact with outdoor cats freely because they have a high chance of transmitting the infection to your cat.

If your cat comes in direct contact with a cat that’s suffering from a cold, it does not necessarily mean that your cat will catch the cold.

The immune system of your cat can beat the cold virus if your cats immune system is strong enough.

If your cat is stressed or has a weak immune system, the chances of her getting sick and catching a cold, are increased.

Symptoms Of Cat Colds

If your cat has caught a cold, it can show all or some of the symptoms mentioned below. The symptoms of a cat cold varies from cat to cat.

  • Excessive sneezing or coughing
  • Runny nose
  • Discharge from the eyes
  • Mild fever
  • Lethargic and reluctant to move due to muscle pain or energy deficit
  • Reduced appetite
  • Difficulty breathing

In severe cases, ulcers in the mouth and dehydration can also be seen.

Related: How do different cat breeds adapt to cope with a cold environment? Some cats are bred in cold climates and are often seen sitting in snow. How do other cats cope?

Can I Catch A Cold From My Cat?

No, you can’t catch a cold from your cat. The viruses that cause a cold (cat flu) in cats do not affect humans. You can take care of your cat suffering from a cold without any fear of catching the cold yourself.

Should I Take My Cat To The Vet For A Cold?

reminder note to take the cat to the vet
Where is the cat carrier?

Cat colds usually go away within a week but if the symptoms persist after a week, you should  you should seek veterinary care.

If the cat does not recover from the cat cold and it is left untreated, this can lead to disastrous consequences like pneumonia. Your vet may prescribe antibiotics if secondary bacterial infections are evident in your cat.

The persistence of the cold like symptoms in your cat, can also be due to any underlying disease condition other than cold. Your vet will confirm the disease diagnosis using different blood or body secretions tests on your cat.

Take special care of kittens and old cats because they have weaker and possibly compromised immune systems. These cats are at higher risk of catching a cold and showing severe symptoms.

If you have a cat that is immunocompromised and is showing signs of cold, make an appointment with your vet.

How Do You Treat A Cat With A Cold?

A cat with a cold needs love and attention!

Treating a cat with a cold does not require any specific medicine. Colds have no drug of choice.

Colds being viral, lack proper treatment and only supportive treatment is given to the cat to help its immune system cope with the disease.

Antibiotics don’t fight off viruses, but are sometimes administered to the cat, when there is a cold, to avoid any secondary infections and help the immune system.

If your cat is congested, you should clear the discharge from the nose to help her overcome any breathing difficulties. Use a clean cloth and wipe the discharge from eyes and nose.

Provide a soft bed for your cat. Clean the cat bed daily to minimize the chances of reinfection. If possible, increase the humidity of the room that the cat is in, with a vaporizer.

Give your cat plenty of food and water. Make sure the cat is eating because most cats refuse to eat properly when sick.

Can-cats-catch-colds-from-humans - Pinterest image

Vaccination for Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

cat in a carrier ready to go to the vet
Make an annual appointment at the vet for cat vaccinations

Prevention is better than cure. You can protect your cat against getting colds by vaccinating her annually.

The first vaccination is given to your cat, at around nine weeks of age, and a booster is given annually.

Keep in mind that a vaccine is prevention only and it may not help your cat if she has already contracted the disease.

So be smart and get your cat immunized.

vector - two cats reading
Aunty Bella has a bad cold dear. I hope she recovers quickly.

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