Not only are many of us humans currently suffering from a cold, but many cats are also coming home with a cold. But what does not usually lead to a serious illness for us is not as harmless for our felines as it sounds.
Cat colds are particularly dangerous for young animals and cats with a weakened immune system. This is why cat flu is also a common problem in cats from animal welfare organizations.
What is cat flu?
Cat flu is an infection of the respiratory tract, eyes, skin and lungs. In severe cases, the consequences can lead to a destroyed nasal concha, eye damage, chronic snuffles - and even death. It is triggered by a combination of viruses (herpes & calici) and bacteria (bordetella, clamydia), a so-called multifactorial infection. The disease is highly contagious and should be treated by a vet or veterinary practitioner.
What are the symptoms of cat flu?
The first symptoms usually appear two to five days after infection. Frequent sneezing, a runny nose and watery eyes are the first signs. The cat is exhausted, tired and often loses its appetite. Breathing noises - such as whistling, rattling or wheezing - become audible and a fever may occur.
As the disease progresses, it spreads to the upper respiratory tract and many cats begin to breathe through their mouths. This makes eating even more difficult. The lacrimal fluid and nasal discharge become viscous and purulent. The areas around the eyes and nose become crusty and sticky. Difficulty swallowing and coughing are also typical symptoms. Cats with a weak immune system or kittens may even develop ulcers on the mucous membrane. Cats with cat flu usually present a miserable picture, they are very limp and weak.
Cat flu vs. the common cold in cats
In addition to the serious cat cold, cats can also catch a 'common' cold, which can be compared to the common cold in humans. Many outdoor cats and the so-called YOPIs - i.e. young, old, pregnant and sick (immunosuppressed) animals - catch a cold in winter. Strengthening the immune system is particularly important for YOPIs, but a strong immune system is also the best protection against a cold for all other cats - just as it is for us.
The initial symptoms are similar to those of a cat cold - nasal discharge, sneezing and watery eyes - but the course of the disease is not as severe with a 'normal' cold. The severe inflammation of the respiratory tract and the conjunctiva of the eyes does not occur and swallowing difficulties are also less common.
How can you treat cat colds?
If your cat shows the first signs of a cold, you should consult a vet or veterinary practitioner. They can investigate the cause of the snuffles and start the appropriate treatment.
In addition, you can carefully clean your cat's nose and eyes and remove adhesions with our gentle eye care products so that the inflammation underneath can heal. A humidifier can also be useful to prevent the mucous membranes from drying out and thus protect them. In addition to plenty of rest and loving care, it makes sense to support the immune system. Natural vitamin supplements and colostrum, for example, are suitable for this.
When buying vitamins and colostrum, make sure that they are natural vitamins and colostrum specially developed for animals. This will ensure that the substances can really be used by your pet's body to strengthen its own defenses.
How can you prevent cat flu?
Cat flu can be caused by a variety of pathogens that can be transmitted not only from cat to cat, but also via shared bowls or toys. Hygiene and regular cleaning are therefore important.
In addition, a robust immune system naturally plays the most important role. To ensure that your velvet paw is also well equipped in winter, I recommend supporting the immune system with natural vitamins. My cats go wild for the natural multi-vitamins in tab form as a treat between meals.
Get through the winter without catching a cold!