Does Your Cat Have A Cold?
Cat colds are similar to human colds and are typically caused by either the feline calicivirus or the feline herpesvirus. Both of these viruses are highly contagious and can spread quickly among cats. The viruses that cause your cat to develop a cold can't be transmitted to humans, so there's no need to alter your contact with a cat that has a cold virus, but they should be separated from all other cats until their symptoms disappear.
Symptoms Of A Cold In Cats
If your cat develops a cold, he or she will typically sneeze and cough, and they may also become quite lethargic and lose their appetite. Your cat may also develop eye or nasal discharge, which may be clear or cloudy in appearance. The weakening of the immune system caused by a cold can allow a bacterial infection to take hold in your cat's chest, which can cause congestion and even pneumonia. Early signs of a bacterial infection include yellow-green nasal discharge and a hacking, hoarse cough that your cat can't get relief from.
Diagnosing And Treating A Cold In Cats
Colds often resolve on their own within a couple of weeks, but if you think an infection is developing, your cat is struggling to breathe properly or they have an underlying health condition that affects their immune system, you should have your cat checked over by a vet. Your vet will examine your cat and may carry out blood tests to check your cat's inflammatory markers and organ function. They may also carry out a chest X-ray if your cat is having difficulty breathing or pneumonia is suspected.
Depending on your vet's findings, they may prescribe antibiotics, anti-inflammatories or steroids to help stabilise your cat's lung function and fight off infection. In severe cases, your cat may need to stay at the surgery for a couple of days for treatment and observation. To help your cat recover at home you should provide a quiet place for them to rest, which may mean separating them from any other pets. Your vet may also suggest you sit in the bathroom with your cat with a warm shower running to create steam. This can help clear nasal congestion and make your cat more comfortable, but you need to ensure it's warm steam and not hot steam, which could burn your cat's delicate nasal passages.
If your cat has cold symptoms and you have any concerns about their breathing, or they have a concerning cough, contact a service such as Findon Vet Surgery for advice.