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Cat Flu Symptoms: What to Look For?

Cat Flu Symptoms: What to Look For?

Are you worried that your cat might have the flu? Cat flu symptoms can be similar to flu symptoms in humans. You may start to suspect that your feline caught the flu if you notice him sneezing or discharging liquid from the nose or eyes.


Flu in cats is referred to as upper respiratory infection or URI. The common culprits are the feline calicivirus or feline herpes virus. The disease can range from mild to severe, and in some cases, life-threatening. Basic treatments and vaccination would often be enough to help your cat’s recovery. However, kittens, elderly cats, and cats with health conditions may be more at risk of complications if they get infected with the flu.

Here are some signs that are the common indications of cat flu:

Sneezing/ Coughing

Sneezing is the most common indication of cat flu. While it’s normal for cats to sneeze, coughing may indicate an infectious cat. Watch out for nasal congestion, discharge, and other accompanying symptoms. Sneezing, however, may also be a symptom of an allergic reaction.

 

Runny Nose

Just like with people, symptoms of cat flu also include nasal discharge. If you notice a yellowish-green discharge or even blood, there’s definitely a cause for concern. It could mean that your cat has caught the flu virus.

Teary Eyes/ Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis is a lot more common in cats than you’d imagine. However, if you notice inflammation on the inner surface of your pet cat’s eyelids, there’s a possibility that a flu virus caused it. You should check if he has other cat flu symptoms. A cat infected with the flu may also show symptoms of ocular discharge or watery eyes.

Loss of appetite

What are other obvious cat flu symptoms? Loss of appetite may be observed in cats that had been infected with URI. A respiratory infection affects your cat’s sense of smell or causes difficulty breathing. These issues could be why your cat has lost interest in his food bowl.

Fever

A fever is an indication that your cat’s body is trying to fight off a virus. Take your cat’s temperature if he shows signs of fever. When the fever rises over 106º F, there is the danger of permanent damage to permanent organs. Try to keep your cat cool and book an appointment with the vet immediately.

 

Depression/ Lethargy

Depression and lack of interest in their favorite activities is a common indicator that a cat is ill. If lethargy is accompanied by any of the mentioned symptoms on this list, it’s a possibility that your cat has caught the flu. Depression may also be caused by stress due to recent changes at home. You may also consider cat anxiety as a probable cause to your cat’s unusual behavior.

Mouth ulcers

Mouth ulcers or mouth sores can be very painful to cats, resulting in loss of appetite, excessive drooling, and pawing the face or mouth. Ulcers are red inflamed sport on the surface of the skin and can also be caused by the cat flu virus.

If you see most of these common cat flu symptoms, the best thing to do is to seek help from a veterinarian as soon as possible.

 

Cat Flu Treatment 

If your cat is diagnosed with the flu, the vet may prescribe some antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications to prevent complications and address severe symptoms. Most of the time, however, cats can recover from the flu after some time, with a little help from their human companions. Here are some things you can do to help ease the symptoms of cat flu.

·         Wipe nasal and ocular discharge regularly. Use a cotton pad and dip it in water mixed with salt to help dissolve any crusting.

·         Hydrate your cat. Provide fresh water at all times and encourage your pet to drink up. Steam can also be a great way to ease any nasal congestion. Have your cat stay inside the bathroom to expose him to hot steam from the bath or shower.

·         If your cat has a loss of appetite or suffering from mouth sores, offer strong-smelling foods. Wet cat food may also be easier to ingest so maybe skip the dry kibble while your cat is sick.

·         Isolate your sick cat. Remember that cat flu is highly contagious. If you’re a household with several cats or other pets, it’s safe to keep the sick cat away from the others. Some peace and quiet would also help your feline friend rest and recover faster.

How to treat cat flu in kittens? You can apply the same measures as you would an adult cat but unvaccinated kittens face a greater risk when they get infected. An otherwise healthy cat can recover from URI within five to 10 days. It could take much longer, up to six months, depending on the type of viral or bacterial infection. 

Cat Flu Vaccination

Having your cat vaccinated for cat flu is an effective preventive measure. Administered in two doses, vaccines can help protect your cat from cat flu or make symptoms less severe if he catches the flu. Vaccinated cats, however, may still be carriers of the virus and infect other cats without showing any symptoms. If you own an outdoor cat, you should keep a close eye on him so he doesn’t catch the virus from outside.

 

Conclusion

Cat flu symptoms are quite easy to spot. They are similar to what we experience when we’re down with the flu. Cats may sneeze, cough, lose their appetite, and suffer from nasal congestion when infected with the flu virus. There are vaccinations available for prevention although there is no cure for cat flu. The best thing you can do for your cat is to make him as comfortable as possible when he is ill. Keep him away from other pets because the flu is contagious. And lastly, don’t forget to consult your vet in case the symptoms worsen.

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