Do Cats Get Colds?

Despite modern medicine’s advances, man has yet to cure the common cold. As we all know, walking around at home, school or work with watery eyes and runny noses while coughing and sneezing makes life difficult. The same can be said for your kitty.

Just like humans, cats can get colds that make them feel as bad as their human owners. While there’s no cure for the common kitty cold, there are things an owner can do to help their kitty feel better while they are sniffling and sneezing.

Keep Up Their Appetite

When a cat has a cold, one of the most important things you can do is make sure they keep eating. Because cats rely on their sense of smell when eating, when they are unable to smell they often refuse to eat. When this happens, it’s a good idea to feed your cat plenty of canned food rather than dry food. The canned food has a much stronger odor to it, increasing the chances the cat will choose to eat.

If the cat likes fish flavored food, offering it a can of tuna will often spell success. If they don’t like fish, other flavors such as liver or chicken are also popular choices.


Many cat owners don’t think of using a humidifier to help their furry feline feel better. However, as with humans, the more moisture that is in the air the greater likelihood the congestion inside their heads will break up.

If you don’t have a humidifier, boiling a pan of water on your stove will accomplish the same thing. Many vets recommend doing this to lessen the chances of a cold turning into something more serious, such as pneumonia. If the congestion stays in the cat’s body too long, it can find its way to their lungs and lead to the onset of more serious respiratory infections.

Staying Hydrated

To ensure your cat stays hydrated while getting over a cold, keeping a bowl of fresh water nearby will help them get over a cold quicker. If they are running a fever, this will also help them cool off and make a throat that may be dry from sneezing and coughing feel better as well.

Eye and Nasal Discharge

When cats have colds, they usually have quite a bit of eye and nasal discharge that goes along with them. If left unchecked, the discharge forms a crust around their nose and eyes. This can not only be uncomfortable, but also make them prone to further infection.

To clean the discharge from their face, take some cotton balls or a soft washcloth, dampen them and gently wipe the cat’s face to help them stay clean. If the discharge from the cat is yellow or green, it signals an infection is present. When this happens, a visit to the vet is needed for further examination.

Protecting Your Other Cats

If you have a multi-cat household, it’s important to keep the other cats away from the one that is sick. If possible, put the sick cat in a room by itself so it can be isolated while it recovers. Just be sure the room is one that’s warm and has adequate ventilation to keep fresh air circulating. By putting their food and water in there along with a bed, the kitty should be fine while it recuperates.

Can Cats Get Colds from Humans?

While sounding like a silly question, the answer by experts is a resounding yes. If a human has a cold and puts their face near the cat’s face, the chances are pretty good kitty will be sneezing and sniffling within a few days. However, while humans can give their colds to cats, cats cannot return the favor to humans.

According to veterinarians, there have been no documented cases of cats giving humans colds. So if your cat sneezes on you, chances are you’ll just wind up with a wet face. Yet, if you sneeze on the cat it’s probably going to catch your germs very quickly.

Vet Visits

Most cats get over a cold within two weeks. If this isn’t the case with your cat, a trip to the vet is needed. If symptoms persist or get worse, they also need a thorough physical examination. While most colds are simply colds, there are some cases when what appears to be a minor cold can be the start of something much more serious.

Serious illnesses like feline leukemia, feline AIDS and other diseases sometimes first start showing symptoms similar to colds, so just to be safe have a vet do blood work and other necessary tests to rule out anything serious. Once it’s determined to just be a cold, both you and kitty can sit around and take turns blowing your noses while eating your tuna.

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