Sneezing, sniffles, and coughing are signs that your cat might have a cold. Yes, cats catch colds too. It’s known in the veterinary world as a feline upper respiratory infection and is quite common among cats that are indoor/outdoor. Most colds will last about 7 to 12 days and are usually not too serious. The cold is spread by wet sneezes similar to how we get a cold.
If your cat is exhibiting any of the following signs, time to call the vet:
1: nasal discharge
2: excessive sneezing
3: ocular discharge
5: loss of appetite
6: congestion with open mouth breathing
7: red painful ulcers around the eyes, not, or mouth
Your vet may take your cat’s temperature, take a culture from your cat’s mouth or throat if ulcers are present, and diagnose if it’s a feline upper respiratory infection. If it is you will be given medication to fight off the virus. It is common for viral infections to become complicated by a secondary bacterial infection so it’s important to keep your cat inside, finish all the medication, and follow the instructions you are given.
If your cat is super congested, you can help alleviate it by increasing the humidity of your house or a room where you may want to keep your cat for a few days. Make sure your cat has fresh water, food, and a warm place to sleep as she fights off the cold. If she doesn’t eat, talk to your vet about how to force feed your cat and what foods to offer. Sometimes you may have to get some super smelly foods and canned food for your cat while she’s sick. If she can’t smell food she may not eat and that can make the recovery time tougher and longer.
During these colder months, think about keeping your cat inside to avoid exposure to other sick cats, chemicals that are used to de-ice cars and sidewalks, and other cold weather dangers. Always make sure your cat has proper ID and make sure to get her back in the house by dusk to avoid fighting with wildlife in your area such as raccoons and coyotes.