Can My Kitten Catch a Cold?

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According to Susan Paretts at the University of Southern California, colds are quite common in kittens because these little guys don’t have fully developed immune systems. These colds are directly due to upper respiratory infections caused by either virus or bacterial infection.

A young kitten with an upper respiratory infection will have symptoms similar to colds in people. You’ll notice that the kitty sneezes and coughs frequently. He may also have a runny nose and even watery eyes. In some cases, the little one will develop a slight fever, become less active or lethargic and may eat a bit less than usual. Colds in kittens can quickly become something more serious, leading to pneumonia, dehydration, trouble breathing or ulcers on the nose, mouth or eyes, according to the Mar Vista, California, Animal Medical Center.

You should visit your veterinarian if you notice cold symptoms in your little kitty to properly diagnose the condition. He or she will be able to examine your furry friend and determine the cause of his sneezy symptoms. In some cases, a virus might be to blame, while in others a bacterial infection could be the cause. Your vet may even want your kitty to have an antibiotic or antiviral medication orally and may also give you eye drops or nasal drops. Carefully follow your vet’s instructions and bring your little one in for regular exams, especially if his symptoms aren’t improving.

One major concern of colds in kittens is a failure of them to eat or drink properly. This is because they can’t smell their food and generally feel out of sorts, plus their throats might be sore as well. You could feed your little one slightly warm human baby food, without any onion, or soft canned kitten food, to tempt him to eat if he’s already weaned. If he doesn’t eat or nurse properly, your vet may then need to keep him for a few days to ensure he gets the proper nutrition and fluids intravenously or through tube feeding.

While feline colds aren’t contagious to people at all, they are very contagious to other cats. Viruses and bacteria can become airborne through one simple sneeze, making your other pets sick. You may need to isolate your kitty away from other cats while he’s sick. During his recovery, make your kitty comfortable by keeping him in a comfy, warm bed and you could even use a vaporizer to help ease his congestion. With lots of care and snuggling and a stress-free environment, your wee one should be back to his bouncy, playful self in no time at all.

When it comes to our cats, their overall health should always be purr-iority number one!

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