A sneeze doesn’t always mean the flu. The symptoms of cat flu go well beyond the sneeze reflex and should be taken seriously.
Similar to humans, the symptoms are also in cats. When a cat is sick, no responsible cat owner will miss it. We’ll tell you when sneezing and runny nose are really dangerous for cats and what you can do about it.
My Cat Sneezes!
A sneeze can be heard from the cat basket. This sounds cute at first, but it also causes worry lines to appear on your forehead. Is the cat sick? Sneezing happens spontaneously. The air is thrown out of the nose at speeds of more than 100 kilometers per hour. The body thus protects itself from dust particles or other foreign bodies. Often it just sneezes and everything is fine.
If the cat sneezes, you should keep a watchful eye on your four-legged friend, cats prefer to suffer quietly than openly announce that they are missing something. Pay close attention to whether the urge to sneeze repeats itself and other symptoms appear. Cat flu sounds harmless, but it can be fatal.
What are the Causes of Cat Flu?
Is your cat outdoors? Then there is a risk that it will infect other four-legged friends. Most of the time, cat flu is transmitted from cat to cat. As with humans, this happens through droplet infection. It can also be transmitted through saliva if, for example, several cats visit a feeding place. If there is a turf war, there is a high risk of transmission through bite wounds.
Cat Flu Can Be Caused By the Following Viruses And Bacteria:
- Feline herpesvirus-1 (can cause ulcers on the eyes)
- Feline calicivirus (arthritis or pneumonia can result)
- Feline chlamydiosis
- Feline mycoplasma (bacteria)
- Feline Bordetella (bacteria)
For indoor cats, the risk of illness is lower, but by no means averted. If only one outdoor member lives in a multi-cat household, this can infect all other couch potatoes. You, too, can cause infection if the pathogen adheres to the sole of your shoe or has settled in your clothing.
Can I Get Cat Flu From My Cat?
If the cat flu is caused by viruses, which is usually the case, you cannot infect your cat. If bacteria are the trigger for the disease, an infection cannot be completely ruled out. If you pay attention to hygiene when dealing with your animal, infections with cat flu are extremely rare.
Sneezing or Cat Flu?
If the cat begins to sneeze, it should be watched closely. Was it just a reflex, like with humans, or is there more to it? If she has cat flu, further symptoms will soon appear. The disease is concentrated in the head area. In addition to the nose, the throat and eyes are also affected. The infection of the throat area can spread to the lungs.
The first signs of illness appear around five days after infection. The cat begins to sneeze and cough. The appetite decreases and the body temperature rises. The so-called nictitating membrane protrudes in the eyes. Cat flu is often accompanied by conjunctivitis of the eyes. Purulent discharge may come from the eyes and nose.
If the airways are affected, you will hear rattling breaths and your cat may develop pneumonia. The immune system is attacked. The lymph nodes swell and pregnant cats may have miscarriages.
Is Cat Flu Dangerous?
A cold is quickly forgotten, but the flu can tie us to bed for weeks. Cat flu can best be compared to severe flu. Older cats, kittens, and animals with compromised immune systems are most at risk and should be treated immediately.
The veterinarian should be consulted for the first symptoms. Timely treatment can make the disease subside without any consequential damage. If cat flu is not treated early, it can cause eye damage, mouth ulcers, pneumonia, or bone loss.
How Is Cat Flu Treated?
The veterinarian will usually be able to determine the disease by examining the cat. Sneezing, nasal discharge and watery eyes speak for themselves. If the pathogen is to be determined more precisely, a smear is taken from the mucous membrane and examined in the laboratory. In this way, the medication can be adapted to the pathogen. Asthma or allergies can also be ruled out. These conditions can cause symptoms similar to those of cat flu.
If bacteria are the cause, an antibiotic is administered. The drugs are ineffective against viruses and the therapy is correspondingly longer-term. It is treated with proteins that fight the viruses and strengthen the immune system.
What Can I Do Myself?
The vet will treat cat flu. But you can help the little patient by offering him a quiet and warm place to sleep. Cats prefer to withdraw when something is missing. A tall crate or cat cave is preferred.
To make it easier for the cat to breathe and see, discharge from the nose and eyes should be removed regularly. You can use a cloth soaked with chamomile tea for this. If the animal allows it, it can also be beneficial to inhale chamomile oil. To improve the quality of the indoor air, you can put a few drops of essential oil in an aroma lamp. But only a small amount, nothing that could overwhelm the cat’s body.
Anyone with a cold has hardly any appetite, you know this from experience. In order to motivate the house tiger to eat, you should offer your favorite food. If the throat is inflamed and the cat has difficulty swallowing, soft food can help. Pies have a creamy consistency and are easier to ingest than coarse food components.
Your cat may have a fever. Hydration is especially important when you have cat flu. The animals dry out quickly due to the increased body temperature. Since cats naturally hardly drink any fluids, you are faced with a challenge. Instead of drinking water, you can offer cat milk. However, this should not contain any sugar. Cat soups with a high proportion of liquid can also be found in stores.
To ensure hydration, you can also fill a bottle with water or milk or use a syringe to give it directly into the mouth.
The best way to prevent cat flu is to get vaccinated in good time. Kittens eight, twelve, and sixteen weeks of age receive the primary vaccination series. From the 15th month of life, regular follow-up vaccinations are due within two to three years.
In order to strengthen the immune system, you have to pay attention to a high-quality and balanced diet. Prefer food with high meat content. Special vitamin pastes can be fed as a supplement.