When it’s the winter season & you hear news of people falling prey to flu and cold, we adopt almost every measure to keep ourselves safe. But what if you have pets at home? Can they fall prey to cold the same as we do?
Yes, like humans, cats do catch a cold & even show similar cold symptoms. They are caused due to viruses, namely feline calicivirus and feline herpesvirus. This virus can infect felines of all ages, but small kittens and old age cats are more susceptible to the same.
Cat flu can make it difficult for cats to breathe and may affect their respiratory system adversely. Thus, proper care is needed you happen to find your cats sneezing or showing any cold or flu symptoms. Read on to find out the cold symptoms and how can it be treated:
Symptoms that your cats have acquired flu or cold:
- Running nose
- Watery eyes
- Frequent sneezes
- Reduction in daily appetite
- Open-mouth breathing
- Traces of ulcers in mouth and nose
How to treat your cat when it catches a cold?
Treating cats with flu is vital to ensure their overall health. Though cold treatments are simple, proper attention is mandatory to help your kitty for a fast recovery. Here is a quick guide as to how you can care for your cats at your home:
The very first thing is to identify if your cat has caught a cold. A cat tends to acquire the symptoms of a cold owing to a bacterial infection. As already mentioned, checking out for the signs can help you determine the condition of your cats.
A hike in the humidity count inside your home can help your cats to breathe easily while they fall sick. For this, you can consider using a humidifier at home or can also send your cats inside a steamy bathroom twice or thrice a day for a span of ten to fifteen minutes.
Spending some time in a steamy bathroom can help your cats fighting the infection and clear their nasal passage. But make sure that if your cats don’t like the feeling of staying confined to a steamy bathroom for a long time and tend to scratch the doors, do not force them and let them out. Forcing your kitty to stay inside can cause stress during the illness period and may also slow down the recovery process.
Cats love to snuggle and caress warm surfaces, so a heated bed or a heating pad can help in incredible ways when your cats are down with a cold. Using these methods, you can soothe down their nerves and make them feel cared for and loved. But make sure that you take all the precautions and care while you use the heating pads for your cats.
Cat skin is sensitive, especially the belly area and paws, so make sure that you take care of the temperature regulation so that you do not tend to burn your cats accidentally. You can also consider wrapping up your cats in blankets or gloves filled with warm water to keep them comfy and warm.
Discharge from the eyes, ears, and nose is a common symptom that you may notice if your cat has a cold. So, clean such discharges off their faces with a damp cloth. If your cats turn out to be fussy and do not allow you to clean their faces, you can calm them by murmuring soothing words while you clean. Also, use lukewarm water while cleaning and not cold water; otherwise, things may worsen.
Make them eat
Cats usually tend to lose their appetite when they fall sick and may not feel like eating anything. But despite how hard they may try to find an escape from skipping food, you should force them to eat food so that they get enough amount of proteins and nutrients to recover from their illness.
You can also consider giving your cats their favorite cat treats or warm up the food before giving it to your furballs so that they can develop an interest in having their food. Enticing your kitties by giving them tuna, raw liver, sardine juice, other food items can make them eat food.
Seclude them from other pets if any
If you have any other pets at home, do not allow the other pets and your sick cat to mingle with each other. Cold infections can be contagious, and during the incubation period, your cats may pass on their cold to other pets. So, maintain proper distancing with other pets at home until and unless your cats recover from their sickness.
When your cats are sick, make them drink plenty of water, as being hydrated stands of paramount importance. So, give them clean and fresh water for drinking. Also, make sure that their water bowls are clean so that the water does not gets contaminated in any way. The hydration level of the cats is vital and should be monitored carefully to decide if a trip to a vet is needed or not.
In order to check the hydration level, you can pinch the neck area of cats (the spot at which the mother cat holds her kitten) and hold it for a minimum of 5 seconds. Usually, it takes just a second to return to its original spot, and if the pinched area takes more time to snap back, then it’s a sign that your cat is dehydrated.
Every additional second means a three to five percent dehydration level, and you can accordingly decide to take your cats to a vet after doing this quick dehydration level test.
Another way of testing the hydration level is by checking out the gums of your cat. If they are pinkish, things are fine, but if they are pale or red and appear to be sticky and tacky, your cats are definitely dehydrated and need some special attention.
Seeking vet assistance
Cold infections tend to last for one to three weeks, and usually, it gets cured on their own. But if you find that the cold is not clearing up even after a week, you should seek medical assistance.
Seeking vet assistance and describing out all the symptoms you have noticed in your cats can help the vet to diagnose the underlying cause. Further, depending on the analysis, give the prescribed medications to the cats adequately.
Vitamin C is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help your cats recover from cold symptoms. So, seek advice from a vet and give your pets Vitamin C supplements to treat cold.
Setting up a recovery area
We humans also try to seclude ourselves from the hustles and bustles of life when we fall sick. The same is the case when your cats fall sick. Build a recovering area for your cats where they can stay away from the noise and traffic and rest to recover from their ailments.
Make sure to make the recovery area comfortable and warm & keep their litter box, food plate, and water bowl within close reach so that your cats do not have to walk miles to use them.
Keeping cat indoors
Cats can catch a cold by coming in touch with other sick cats, and the best step to prevent this contagious transmission is by keeping your cats indoors. This way, you will prevent your cats from getting in contact with stray and unvaccinated cats. However, if you send them outside to play, keep a close eye on their whereabouts and the other cats with whom they mingle.
The adaptability of cats to cold temperature
Various factors define the ability of the cats to withstand cold temperatures; here are a few of them:
|Cats with long hair can withstand cold temperatures than cats with short hair or no hair at all.|
|Adult cats can survive cold temperatures to some extent, but kittens need higher temperatures as they are prone to accrue hypothermia even in normal temperatures. It happens because they are not capable of retaining body heat. On the contrary, old cats also need higher temperatures as they suffer from joint pain.|
|Cats with underlying health conditions and sickness usually need a warm environment. On the other hand, felines with thyroid issues tend to skip the hotter environment.|
|Small-sized cats can’t retain heat for long hours and thus need a warm environment, whereas big-sized cats can survive in a comparatively cold climate.|
|Slim cats have low fat, and thus they need more heat to stay warm and comfy. On the other hand, overweight cats can survive in cool temperatures in a better way.|
How is cold diagnosed, and how is it treated?
If your cats have ulcers in their mouths, the vets may consider taking cultures from the cat’s mouth, nose, and throat, which is further diagnosed to determine the underlying condition.
Antibiotics do not have the capability of fighting viruses, but respiratory infections can be treated using anti-bacterial medicines, which further prevents complications that may occur due to the weakened immune system of your cats. Prescribed vaccinations can also be used for fighting respiratory infections.
What should you not do when your cats have a cold?
Unlike the things that you should consider doing when your cute little kitties have a cold, here are a few things that you shouldn’t do:
- Don’t give them antibiotic medication without seeking advice from a veterinary doctor.
- ASPRIN can work well for treating human cold, but it is not good for cats. In fact, ASPRIN is never recommended to cats; if you wish to give them medications, consult your vet.
- Do not squirt water in the mouth of your cats, as it can result in aspiration ammonia. You can mix baby food with water and give it to your cat for better results.
- When your cats are sick, don’t use any tick or flea medications on them, as this can worsen the condition. Also, do not vaccinate your cats when they are sick.
How did your cat catch a cold?
Are you wondering how your cat caught a cold and how you can avoid the same in the future? If yes, you need to know that cat colds are as contagious as human colds, and there are high chances that your cats may have acquired it from another cat who already had underlying cold symptoms.
It is said that outdoor and stray cats are more prone to get a cold as they stay outside in the breeze. So, if your cat has been friendly with any such outdoor cat, it may have acquired the same.
Though the cat cold is incapable of transmitting to humans, it can easily be transmitted amongst other cats, so the best way out is to limit the outdoor activities of your little furballs. And even if you allow them, ensure that you keep your cats away from other cats who are already suffering from cold.
The second reason which may cause your cats to fall sick is their own bowls that might have stayed unclean. Drinking water or eating food from an infected bowl can also make them fall sick because viral bacteria, if any, on their bowl can stay on the surface for a week.
Signs that your cats are feeling cold
Cats are cute little cuddly creatures, but they cannot chant out what they feel. The same is when they feel cold, so here are a few things that you can notice to determine if your cats are feeling cold.
Ears and tail
|If you happen to find the tail and ears of your cats cold, it means your cats are not able to retain the temperature.|
|If your cats regularly find shelter at warm places such as nearby furnaces, under cushions or blankets, there are chances that the temperature inside your home is cold.|
|Cats tend to roll up when they feel cold. So, if you spot your cats rolling and curling by compressing their body, it’s a sign that they are feeling cold.|
|If your cats consider taking naps in warm places such as under the sun or nearby the windows, your house temperature might be cold for them, which forces them to seek warm spots.|
When to contact a vet?
Usually, cold can cure up in a few days in cats, but taking your cats to a vet is the best way out before you start doing anything. If your cats are facing severe symptoms, such as increased nasal or eye discharge, or feeling lethargic and tend to refuse everything that you serve them on their plate, it’s high time you consult a vet. Treating them at home is fine, but if the symptoms tend to increase, consult a doctor before the condition worsens.
So, now that you know a few things about how to deal with cat flu and save your kitties from acquiring cold – try the afore-mentioned remedies to keep your furballs in good health. However, don’t neglect your kitty’s health if the symptoms get worse. Keep your cat to the vet for proper diagnosis and treatment.
All the Best!