5 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

Tomlyn Immune Support L-Lysine Powder 100g
  • Supplement for cat to help support normal respiratory function and maintain normal eye health
  • High levels of L-Lysine Hydrochloride - 500 mg
  • Veterinarian formulated
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Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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

steaming

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

Vetoquinol Viralys Gel L-Lysine Supplement for Cats, 5oz - Cats & Kittens of All Ages - Immune Health - Sneezing, Runny Nose, Squinting, Watery Eyes - Palatable Maple Flavor Lysine Gel
  • Daily L-Lysine supplement for cats helps support a strong immune system and eye & respiratory health
  • Helps manage common feline health issues such as sneezing, runny nose and watery, inflamed eyes
  • Lysine gel for cats & kittens provides specially-formulated immune support for as long as needed
  • Cats love the highly-palatable maple-flavored gel; simple to dose and easy to administer
  • Delivers veterinarian-recommended amount of Lysine: cats = 500mg 2x daily, kittens = 250mg 2x daily

Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

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.

Maddison Foy

    Maddison Foy

    A veterinarian, Maddison Foy earned her PhD in Biomedical Sciences. In addition to practising veterinary medicine, she also develops web content professional, focusing in her writing on veterinary medicine, biomedical sciences and research, alternative and complementary medicine, and comparative medicine.