Achoo! Was that you, Mr. Whiskers?
Just like humans, cats can catch the flu. And just like for humans, it's not a pleasant experience. Are you wondering if your cat is showing signs of feline flu? Here are some symptoms to watch out for.
Cat Flu Symptoms
If your cat has the flu, it's likely due to either Feline Herpesvirus or Feline Calicivirus. Both types of feline flu have similar symptoms, which include:
- Runny or blocked nose
- Weepy eyes (often seen in Feline Herpesvirus)
- Mouth ulcers (often seen in Feline Calicivirus)
- Low appetite
How to Treat Your Cat's Flu
As with any feline health concern, it's important to schedule a vet appointment immediately if you think your cat has the flu. Especially if your cat is weak, very young or very old, untreated symptoms can get worse very quickly, lengthening recovery time. Don't let the symptoms go on too long, as untreated cat flu can lead to:
- Starvation or severe weight loss
- Permanent eye damage
- Pregnancy loss in pregnant cats
- Breathing difficulties
Your vet may prescribe antibiotics to reduce chances of secondary infections, and will treat any other symptoms such as conjunctivitis or dehydration.
How to Reduce Your Cat's Risk
It's important to take precautions that can keep your pet from getting sick in the first place. The simplest, most effective way to prevent your cat from getting the flu is to vaccinate your cat when he or she is a kitten. Keep your cat's yearly vaccine boosters up to date. Vaccinated cats can catch the flu on occasion, but it's much rarer and typically milder for healthy, vaccinated cats.