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You might be surprised to learn that one of the most common ailments affecting cats is upper respiratory infections, aka colds. It’s not the same kind that affects humans, so you don’t have to worry about transferring your cold to your pet or vice-versa. Cold in cats is caused by viruses and bacteria such as Feline calicivirus and Bordetella bronchiseptica.
Symptoms can range from mild (sneezing, clear discharge from eyes or nasal cavity) to severe (fever, appetite loss, fatigue, or yellowish discharge). If the infection is minor, you can try the home remedies listed below to alleviate your pet’s cold.
1. Clearing the Nasal Passage
Keep your cat’s airways from being blocked or congested by getting rid of nasal discharge. You can use a damp paper towel or washcloth for this purpose. Clean their eyes in a similar way. This will help your sick cat breathe and see better. Do not use the same towel or cloth to wipe their nose and eyes; keep the two separate.
Humidifiers or vaporizers are also a great way to clean your cat’s nasal pathways. You can use a store-bought device and place it next to your cat for no longer than half an hour at a time. You can also turn your bathroom into a makeshift humidifier. Let the hot water from your shower turn the bathroom warm and humid, and then make your cat sit in the room for about ten minutes.
2. Providing a Warm Environment
It is important for your cat to stay warm. Cover a heating pad or a hot water bag in blankets, and place it around the cat’s body. Do not let your cat come into direct contact with the heat source as it can cause burn injuries. Your cat should be able to distance itself from the heat source easily. Also, keep your cat indoors and away from drafty areas in the house.
3. Eating Right
If your cat has a cold, it may not feel like eating. Loss of appetite can lead to weakness and make it more difficult to fight off the infection. So coax your cat with fishy treats that carry a strong odor such as tuna. If you are using canned food, serve it warm. Additionally, your cat may have difficulty swallowing food, so soften the dry food with water.
4. Ensuring Hydration
Ensure your cat stays hydrated by monitoring their water intake. Keep a steady supply of freshwater and lookout for signs of dehydration. If their gums are colorless or red, or if the skin around their neck area stays up for more than a second when softly pinched, then your cat may be dehydrated.
5. Cleanliness & Quarantine
If your cat is sick, their water and food bowls and litter box may also be infected with the cold virus or bacteria. Replace these items or clean them out thoroughly. This step is especially important if you have other pets. You should also keep your sick cat quarantined in a separate room to minimize the spread of infection.
6. Rest & Relaxation
Your cat needs plenty of sleep and rest. To avoid stressful situations and activities and give them time to recover. Keep monitoring their body temperature, particularly at their extremities such as tail and feet. If they feel too cold or too hot, take them to the vet as soon as you can.
While you can give certain vitamins and supplements to your cat when it’s sick, it is advisable to do so only after consulting with your vet. At no time should you give any oral or topical medication, including for fleas or ticks, at your own volition. Before you begin treating your cat at home, it is recommended you pay the veterinarian a visit. More so, if your cat’s immune system is not yet fully developed or is otherwise compromised due to age or other illness.