How to Treat a Cat With a Cold

How to Treat a Cat With a Cold

How to Treat a Cat With a Cold: If your cat has been sneezing more than usual lately or seems a bit under the weather, they may have caught a cold. Some telltale signs to watch out for include:

Excessive Sneezing and Coughing

If your cat can’t seem to stop sneezing and coughing, especially if the sneezes produce discharge, they probably have a cold. Nasal discharge may be clear at first but can become thick and yellow or green as the infection progresses.

Lack of Appetite

Cats with colds often lose their appetite because they can’t smell their food as well and may have a sore throat. If your cat hasn’t eaten for 12-24 hours, they need to see a vet.

Watery Eyes

A cold can lead to watery, irritated eyes in cats. You may notice your cat pawing at their eyes or see tears staining the fur under their eyes.

Lethargy

Colds sap a cat’s energy, so if your cat is sleeping more than usual or doesn’t seem interested in playing or going outside, they’re probably not feeling well.

Fever

A high fever (over 103 F) can indicate an infection and needs to be addressed by a vet right away. You can take your cat’s temperature at home using a pet thermometer, but if it’s high or your cat seems very ill, have them checked out as soon as possible.

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The good news is most cat colds will clear up on their own in 7-14 days with supportive care. However, kittens, senior cats or those with other medical issues are more prone to complications and should be examined by a vet if symptoms worsen or persist for more than a couple of weeks. Better safe than sorry – if your cat’s cold has you concerned, give your vet a call. They can determine if an exam or testing is needed and recommend treatment to help your feline friend feel better fast.

How to Treat a Cat With a Cold

Home Remedies to Relieve Cat Cold Symptoms

1. Keep Your Cat Hydrated

The most important thing you can do for a cat with a cold is to keep them hydrated. Offer your cat extra water, as congestion can make it difficult to drink. You can also offer warm broths, which will keep them hydrated while also soothing a sore throat.

2. Use a Humidifier

A cool mist humidifier can help loosen congestion and make it easier for your cat to breathe. Place the humidifier near where your cat sleeps so they can benefit from it as much as possible. The added moisture in the air will help keep their nasal passages open and relieve pressure from built-up mucus.

3. Saline Nose Drops

For a congested nose, you can use over-the-counter saline nose drops made for infants. Place 1-2 drops in each nostril to help loosen mucus so your cat can sneeze it out. This will make it easier for them to breathe and relieve discomfort from a stuffy nose. Be very gentle when administering nose drops to avoid further irritation.

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4. Honey (Optional)

A teaspoon of honey can help relieve sore throat pain and calm coughing. However, honey is not suitable for kittens, as their digestive systems are still developing. For adult cats, you can try offering a small amount of honey, but discontinue use if your cat does not seem to enjoy it or shows negative side effects.

With rest, hydration and a few home remedies, the symptoms of your cat’s cold should start to improve within a few days. However, if symptoms persist for more than a week, seem to worsen at any point or are accompanied by lethargy or loss of appetite, contact your vet right away. They can examine your cat, run tests if needed and prescribe medication to help them recover quickly and comfortably.

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FAQs

Is my cat contagious to other pets or people?

Cats with minor upper respiratory infections are usually not contagious to humans, but they can spread their illness to other felines. It’s best to isolate your sick kitty from other pets in the household during treatment. Their contagious period is usually 3-5 days after symptoms start appearing. Once your cat has been on antibiotics for a couple of days and is showing signs of improvement, the risk of infecting others is low. However, some viruses like feline herpes can flare up again, so keeping up good hygiene like washing hands and cleaning litter boxes regularly is recommended.

How long will symptoms last?

The duration of a feline cold depends on the underlying cause, but typically symptoms will persist for 7 to 14 days. More severe infections may last 2 to 3 weeks. The good news is that with supportive care and medication if needed, most cats recover well from upper respiratory infections. It can take time for nasal congestion and sneezing to completely clear up, even after starting treatment. Your vet may want to recheck your cat if symptoms haven’t improved within a week or so of starting medication.

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When should I take my cat to the vet?

In many cases, feline colds can be managed at home with TLC. However, you should have your vet examine your cat if:

  • Symptoms seem severe or your cat appears very lethargic.
  • Your cat is not eating or drinking for more than 12-24 hours. Dehydration is dangerous for cats.
  • Your cat’s breathing seems labored or noisy.
  • Nasal discharge becomes thick, yellow, or bloody.
  • Your cat’s symptoms are not improving within a week of home treatment or are getting worse.
  • Your cat has underlying health conditions like FIV or feline asthma. Respiratory infections can hit these cats harder.

Your vet can check for any complications, run tests to determine the cause of infection, and may prescribe antibiotics if a bacterial infection is present or suspected. They can also provide supportive care like fluids if your cat is dehydrated, as well as advice for managing symptoms at home for the best recovery.

With rest, nutrition, hydration and any prescribed medication, your feline friend should be back to their usual playful self within a couple of weeks. Be sure to schedule a recheck exam if symptoms don’t clear up or your cat’s health deteriorates. Better safe than sorry when it comes to your cat’s health!