If you have a cat and you hear them sneeze, you might be wondering if your cat is getting a cold. Cats do not sneeze that often, so it can seem like there is a reason to be concerned if your cat is sneezing. Cats can get colds, although this is much less common in cats that live indoors only. That does not mean that your housecat cannot get a cold, but it is much less likely than in cats that live outside all the time.
If your cat has been sneezing, you might be worried about how to tell if your cat has a cold. If you are aware that cats can get colds, you will pay more attention to their symptoms that might accompany the first signs of a cold, like a sneeze. Knowing more about colds and upper respiratory infections in cats can help you to pay more attention to your cat’s health overall.
Signs That Your Cat Might Have a Cold
Cats can be poor communicators about how they are feeling. Not all cats are this way, but many felines are secretive about how they feel until they are quite sick. This can make it hard to tell if your cat is not feeling its best. Paying attention to the signs of feline colds and upper respiratory infections can be important for a variety of reasons.
Cough, Runny Nose or Sneezing
Cats experience many of the same symptoms as people when they have a cold. They might have a cough, a snotty nose, and they might sneeze.
Your cat might also have a fever, which you can check on by feeling the nose and the pads of the feet. If the nose and pads of the feet are hot, your cat might have a fever.
In more serious cases, your cat might sound like it is wheezing, which can indicate pneumonia or other more serious secondary infections.
How Do Cats Get a Cold?
You might be wondering how your cat caught a cold. Cats get colds just like people do and can get colds from other sick cats. This is why it is more common for cats that live outside to get colds. Outdoor cats come into contact with many more cats than indoor-only cats, which increases the chances that they will get sick.
Viruses like colds are easily passed through droplets in the air or direct contact, and cats that roam around will be likely to meet and come into close contact with cats that could be sick. The other way that your cat might get sick is if you take in a new cat or a stray, and they are contagious. When a new cat comes into the home, it can bring with it a variety of illnesses, such as colds. When indoor cats are exposed in this way, they can also become sick.
Another possible way that your cat can get a cold is from you yourself. If you visit a friend that has a cat and you are interacting with it without knowing that they are sick, you could bring home a cold to your pets at home. Any time that you are touching a cat that you do not know, you should wash your hands before touching your pets at home. It can be easy to bring home a variety of illnesses with you if you are a veterinary technician as well.
What Can I do To Help my Cat Feel Better?
There are some easy ways that you can make your cat feel better when they are sick with a cold.
Medications from the Vet
Just like in people, you might be given medications by your veterinarian to help bring down your cat’s fever and to help them to breathe more easily. Cats with secondary infections will need a course of antibiotics as well, which can be easy to give to your pet at home.
Allow Your Cat to Rest
You can also use a damp washcloth to wipe your cat’s face for them, and you can make sure that you provide them with a nice soft nest of blankets or towels to lay on in their favorite place. Many cats will hide when they do not feel well, and a little bit of a nest might be welcome as they are resting and getting to feel better. Some people also provide their cat with a hot water bottle that is wrapped in a towel to help them to feel warm and cozy while they are resting. This can also help clear up chest congestion in cats that have a secondary infection in the lungs.
Provide Motivation to Eat
You might also need to tempt your cat to eat with some treats or soft cat food. Colds can impact your cat’s ability to smell things which might make them go off their food. It should only take a few days before their sense of smell will be back, and then you can quit feeding them extra food to make them want to eat. However, during this initial time when their sense of smell is off, your cat might appreciate a little motivation to eat.
Cats Can Get Colds Just Like People
If you think that your cat might have a cold, you will want to pay attention to their symptoms. If the cold is very mild, they might not need to see the vet, but be aware of changes like coughing or lethargy. If your cat has a hot nose or the pads of their feet are hot, they might have a fever. All of these little symptoms can add up to your cat needing to see the vet to get some antibiotics or just to be checked out to make sure that nothing is seriously wrong.
Your cat will appreciate you helping them to feel better by making sure that they are eating, have access to clean water, and have a place to nest as they rest and feel better. Just like in humans, most colds are not a big deal, and you will find that your cat should be feeling much better within a few days.
If your cat is showing any signs of a having a cold, call your Live Oak Veterinary Hospital vet at 209-432-9437 or book an appointment online!