Like other types of influenza, cat flu is caused by viruses, and sometimes bacteria. And, like other types of flu, a healthy cat can survive it, but it can be fatal for kittens and older cats with other health complications. It’s important to be aware of cat flu, how to recognize it, and how to treat it.
How it Spreads
Cat flu spreads like many other viruses. It is in nasal discharge, saliva, and eye discharge. Cats that are already sick are the biggest concern, but there are some who carry the virus with no symptoms. The virus can survive for several days on surfaces, which means that other cats can catch the virus indirectly.
To diagnose a cat with the flu, your vet may take swabs. Unfortunately, there are no specific treatments for cat flu, though there are ways to alleviate the symptoms until the cat recovers. The biggest concern is spreading the virus to cats with poor, or underdeveloped immune systems.
The Symptoms and Risks
If your cat has the flu, she may sneeze. She may also have runny eyes and a runny nose. Other symptoms may be hard to see in your cat, as cats often don’t show obvious symptoms. Your cat may experience aches and pains, fever, sneezing, and more.
The real trouble comes with kittens and older cats. Defeating the virus needs a healthy immune system. Kitten immune systems may not be strong enough, and other cats’ immune systems have weakened. Cats that are already ill can be killed by the flu, too.
Unfortunately, there are no antivirals for cat flu. Like human flu, antibiotics may help if bacterial infections make things worse. In most cases, your cat needs good care at home. Your cat will need some encouragement when it comes to eating a drinking. Take care to clean up after your cat, and sanitize to help prevent further spread of the virus. Steam can help clear some symptoms, so let your cat in the bathroom when you shower.
Be aware of cat flu, and watch for the symptoms. If you’re worried that your cat has the flu, bring her in to Pet Vet Hospitals immediately.