5 Simple Home Remedies for Cats with Colds

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Have you ever caught your cats sneezing? Just like humans, our pets can get a cold and be miserable for a few days.

Unfortunately, you can't just give your pet some cold medicine and hope for the best. Human medications are usually toxic to cats and can make them worse instead of better.

So, we're going to talk about five home remedies for colds in cats. Keep on reading if you search for an answer on how to get your cat back to her normal mischievous self.

What Causes Cold in Cats?

If you've paid attention in biology, you know upper respiratory infections can be caused by viruses or bacteria. When we talk about cat cold, we have to mention:

  • Feline HerpesVirus (FHV, viral)
  • Feline calicivirus (FCV, viral)
  • Chlamydia (bacterial)
  • Bordetella (bacterial)

FHV and FCV are the main culprits causing up to 80-90% of all cat flu occurrences. They are both highly contagious and spread easily in shelters and households with multiple cats.

Usually, these viruses get transmitted by:

  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • cat grooming each other
  • sharing food and water bowls
  • feces 

The bad thing is that a cat might remain a carrier of these viruses for life. That means that your pet might be healthy and showing no signs of the disease, but she still can infect others.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Cold in Cats?

So, how can you tell that your cat has got the cold and not anything more serious? Well, cold symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • A runny nose
  • Cat sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Watery eyes
  • Dehydration
  • Too much swallowing
  • Fever
  • Visible third eyelid

Keep in mind that other diseases could mimic the symptoms of upper respiratory infection. As such, you should observe your cat and bring her to a veterinarian if you notice worrying signs such as bloody diarrhea or difficulty breathing.

In addition to this, cat colds are contagious. As such, you have to separate your cats if one of them has symptoms of a cat cold.

Do Cat Colds Go Away on Their Own?

Will your cat recover from a cold without treatment?

Well, it depends on the severity of the symptoms, your cat's overall health, and her age. Usually, healthy animals recover quickly. But kittens and elderly ones can take a turn for the worse due to weak immune system.

How Long does a Cat Cold Last?

If there aren't any cat cold complications, your cat should be back to her normal self after cold in 10 days.

However, kittens, elderly pets, and those with other health problems are at risk of developing pneumonia or bacterial infection. So, if your cats fall in any of these categories, you should take them to the veterinarian when they catch colds.

Otherwise, you might give your cat a couple of days and see if her condition improves.

How can I Treat My Cat's Upper Respiratory Infection at Home?

Usually, mild upper respiratory infections can be treated at home successfully. After all, there isn't much that could be done against virus infections but provide supportive care until the immune system does its job.

So, I'm going to offer you some amazing home remedies for cats with colds that can help you make your feline feel better.

However, if your cat is not improving, has no interest in her bowl, and is not drinking, you should take her to the vet immediately. Dehydration and high fever can weaken a kitten's system too much to fight off the virus.

Home Remedies for Cats with Colds

1. Stimulate your cat's appetite 

cat drinks water

Since your cat's nose is stuffed, Kitty has problems smelling her food and stops eating. That's bad because she needs to eat to overcome the disease, or she will succumb to it.

So, to stimulate Kitty's appetite, you should offer your cat hot food with a strong aroma so that she won't be able to resist. You can also choose foods with strong smells such as tuna that will perk up your cat's interest. Remember to provide a lot of fresh water so that your cat doesn't become dehydrated.

In addition to warm food and fresh water, you can prepare some chicken broth. It's perfect for the situations when your cat's throat is hurting, and she needs to keep her hydration levels.

In case your cat doesn't seem interested in her hot food, instead of offering it in a bowl, you can smear some on her paws. By nature, cats are fastidious cleaners, so Kitty will feel compelled to clean herself.

2. Clean the nose and eyes

vitamins c

Your cat needs all the help you can provide to fight the infection from inside out. Her chances will significantly improve with an extra immune boost from Vitamin C. Vitamin C is useful for fighting off bacterial and viral colds, and Fluffy will recover faster from the cold when you add Vitamin C to her diet.

3. Keep your cat warm

cat in blanket

When you're sick, you can think of nothing else but staying in your warm bed. Well, your cat feels the same. So, do not tempt her to move with toys. Let her rest and sleep as much as she needs to.

In addition to this, you must keep your cat warm. You can do that by turning up the temperature in the room or wrapping Kitty in a blanket.

However, a lot of cats don't like being confined and will struggle out of the blanket as soon as possible.

If your feline is one of these pets, you can fill a bottle with hot water and let your cat snuggle with it. Or you can use a heating pad as long as you make sure that the temperature is not too warm or it might burn your cat's paws.

4. Administer Lysine

Lysine is an essential amino acid that strengthens your cat's immune system and helps her get over the virus quickly. It's also known for its ability to inhibit the herpes virus from reproducing.

Lysine products are available as a supplement, and the usual dose is 500 mg two times a day. But give your vet a call first to make sure that you can give it to your cat regularly.

Notes: ​Lysine is available in tablet form, however, it is easier to administer it in gel cap form.

5. Try steam


Another way to deal with a runny nose in cats is steam. As you know it from personal experience, steam helps clear the nasal passage and makes breathing easy when you have a cold. It works in the same way in pets.

While cats are not known for their love for water, it's still possible to use steam to speed up their recovery. For example, get a humidifier and use it to increase humidity in the air. Or take a hot bath and take the cat with you in the bathroom. 5-10 minutes are enough to improve your cat's breathing.

Some people also might be wondering if you can use Vicks on cats to deal with a runny nose. Vicks is toxic to cats. As such, you should keep your cat away from it. It's not good for your dog either.

Can Cats Catch Human Colds?

So, can a healthy pet catch a cold from when you're under the weather? The answer will surprise you because it's YES. As it turns out, cats can catch human colds because the viruses behave similarly and attack the cells in the respiratory tract.

So, make sure that you wash your hands before you have any contact with your pet.

How to Prevent Cat Colds?

Finally, let me give you some advice on how to keep your cat healthy. It's easy:


Infographic Home Remedies for Cats with Colds

Cat colds might not be very serious, but they require immediate attention. Keep a close eye on your pet, and don't be afraid to ask for veterinary advice if something is bothering you.

What do you think about these five home remedies for cat colds? Have you ever tried them? Tell us what you think in the comment section.

21 thoughts on “5 Simple Home Remedies for Cats with Colds”

  1. Avatar
    Constantine Chaong

    Few of my cat suffered cold and pass away. I sent one to vet, and was very costly.. He survived… Another cat is having the same cold, though still active.. He has difficulty in sleeping and had the breath via mouth. I would like to try this home remedies. Hallelujah, God bless.. Thank you for sharing.. I would repost once he is cured..

      1. Avatar

        Hi Me, hope I am replying to the person who wrote the original. Thank you for a well written and well presented, helpful article. Combined with good sense and consistency those ideas should do the trick as well. Disappointing to read the negative comments afterwards. At least you have made an effort to share and help. Have a good life. Thanks again. Shona

  2. Avatar

    I was surprised to hear apple cider vinegar was advised to alkalize cats PH level. Not good! PH should be acidic in cats for urinary tract health.

  3. Avatar

    I am in full agreement about the Vick’s. I don’t think
    that’s a good idea. Tomorrow I am taking my cat to
    the vet. He started getting sick this afternoon. He also has just been diagnosed as having aids which
    scares me. Maybe I’ll try the hot water bottle to see how he accepts it. Thanks for all your inputs. Liz

  4. Avatar

    Do NOT use vaporub or such like, it is poisonous to cats! It has camphor in it!
    Fine for humans. Also never ever give your carpet ibuprofen or aspirin.

  5. Avatar

    I just wanted to point out that you mistakenly said to use a dehumidifier rather than a humidifier instead of steam in the bathroom.

  6. Avatar

    Have you ever tried drinking straight apple cider vinegar? It burns the mouth and throat and has to be mixed with about a cup of water so you don’t damage mucous membranes of the mouth, throat and esophagus. Franking, I can’t imagine giving this to a cat by syringe. It would be torturing the animal.

    1. Avatar

      I have used apple cider vinegar before I wet a paper towel and pour a small amount on the pater towel and then rub on the cats belly. I would never give it to them to drink. I am worried about the Toxic Vicks Vapor Rub!

  7. Avatar

    If you’re trying to increase moisture in the air you wouldn’t use a dehumidifier. You would use a humidifier to create more moisture. Also, there is no freakin way I’d put a menthol/petroleum based profiling on my cats whiskers for her to clean off (ingest). That’s ridiculous.

  8. Avatar

    If only you mean people, instead of jumping on the writer, would do your own research, you would find out that just about EVERYTHING is written in this article is the same thing a veterinary would tell you to do.
    I found the same information on petmd.com written by a vet! https://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/home-remedies-cat-colds
    Would be nice to know what you’re talking about BEFORE criticizing someone that is trying to help us, especially when we don’t have money to go to the vet. Also, the advice in this article excludes doping your cat with medication. which is always welcome.

  9. Avatar

    I have been experiencing my 11 yr old kitty going through what looks like an infection for 3 months. She’s had antibiotics twice now I have been giving her a support gel that you can get at GNC.com or petsmart.com it’s chicken flavored and she loves it I mix Lysine in her food and in the gel. You can buy that for cats and dogs. It doesn’t have a bad taste it tastes salty and encourges them to drink water. She gets better for about a week then it hits again. I’ve used the vaporizer a few times. She hates to be messed with so about once a day I brush her, she likes that. Every time this comes back on her she has swelling under one eye. She knows as soon as that happens I’m going to try to put eye drops in her eye so she hides and it’s happened 3 times each time she scratches it and the infection comes out and it quits hurting her but then we have a sore to deal with. My vet has given up on her, but as long as she’s willing to eat and enjoys life a little I won’t give up.

  10. Avatar

    Vick’s VapoRub is my favorite solution. I use it for my cats when they have colds. It really helps them.

  11. Avatar
    Pissed kitten momma

    I won’t be back to this sight with all the negative comments over the lady trying vapor rub did u assholes ever think they may not have known it’s toxic to cats and dogs.v real jerks

  12. Avatar

    Some need to learn to read correctly did not say use vicks on cat and a steaming hot bathroom will open up breathing and vinegar in moderations is antiviral

  13. Avatar

    some of us live in a remote area with no vets close so natural idea’s are fabulous obviously always use caution and read suggestions clearly …..like petroleum jelly….Vaseline ………Not vicks vapour rub. thanks for this site I hate anything chemical and ill try natural first every time cheers big furry ears x

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