Cat Flu

Feline Influenza or Cat Flu as it is more popularly known is similar to a human cold. It’s not usually serious if you have a healthy adult cat. However, it can fatal to young kittens, old cats and those that have an immunity problem such as Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (read our blog on FIV HERE)

Cat Flu is very common in unvaccinated cats and can easily spread. As the saying goes “prevention is far better than cure” so ensure you get your cat vaccinated.

What are the signs of Cat Flu?

 There are many symptoms to look out for, including

  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Dribbling
  • Quiet/subdued behaviour
  • Loss of appetite
  • High temperature
  • Coughing
  • Loss of voice
  • Aching muscles/joints

What causes Cat Flu?

It’s usually caused by one of two types of virus (feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus) along with bacteria. Once the cat is infected they begin to shed virus particles in discharge from their eyes, nose and mouth. It can be caught from other cats with flu or healthy cats that carry the virus.  Also, as the virus can survive several days in the open, cats can catch it from infected food bowls or from other people who have come into contact with an infected cat.

Can Humans catch it from their cat?


Can Cat Flu be treated?

Currently there isn’t really a cure for Cat Flu. As already mentioned a healthy cat should able to fight this off. Young kittens, older cats and those with immunity issues may need veterinary attention.  If your cat gets the flu they will need lots of TLC to get better. There are somethings you will need to do to ensure they get well as soon as possible.

  • Make sure there is somewhere warm and comfortable for them to sleep
  • Ensure there is plenty of water available. They may not feel like drinking but encourage them to drink. It will help keep them hydrated and breakdown mucus in the nose and throat.
  • Make sure they eat little and often. However, they might not want to at first. Due to having the flu, their sense of smell and taste will decrease so try to feed them something that has a strong smell and taste such as sardines or pilchards to kick start their appetite. If you are struggling to feed and water your cat, take them to the vet. They will be able to offer alternative foods and may also prescribe anti-biotics to help fight off the flu.
  • Cats may feel stuffy and congested so if you are having a bath or shower, put them in the same room so the heat and steam will help with their breathing.
  • Make sure you keep an eye on them and if they take a turn for the worse take them to the vets as soon as possible
  • If you have other cats in the house keep them away from the infected cat and ensure you regularly wash your hands so you don’t spread the virus around.

Will my cat make a full recovery?

In most cases yes. However, some cats may be left with certain issues such as a persistent runny nose.  If your cat has had flu and you notice it hasn’t fully cleared up after two or three weeks take them to see a vet for a review.

Can I prevent my cat getting Cat Flu?

Ensuring your cat is vaccinated will be a massive help.  The cat flu vaccine is given as part of the annual vaccination programme and will help to protect your cat. Please note, the vaccination may not always prevent infection but it will significantly reduce the severity of the virus.

If you have any questions about this subject feel free to call the clinic or you can leave a question / send a private message on our Facebook page.