Cat flu is very similar to human flu. Your cat could have a sore throat, or a runny nose, as well as sneezing and a fever too. Although in adult cats flu is not usually life threatening, it can lead to chronic ill health (such as rhinitis) and may have a much bigger effect on kittens and older cats. In this article we’ll take a deeper look at cat flu, and look into the causes and preventative methods that can keep your cat healthy all year round, along with some extra cat care.
The Causes of Cat flu
Cat flu is essentially a disease that affects the upper respiratory tract of cats. It is usually caused by two viruses, feline herpesvirus or calicivirusbut may also be caused by bacteria such as Chlamydophila felis (previously known as Chlamydia) – and Bordetella bronchiseptica – the cause of kennel cough in dogs. The time it takes between infection and symptoms can be anywhere from three to five days. Once a cat shows these symptoms, the illness usually runs for up to seven days, but can last longer. Cats can become carriers of the virus, even when they are healthy, and these particles can survive for up to a week in the environment. Bacterial infection can run for a month or more
The Different Symptoms
- • Feline herpesvirus produces the most severe symptoms, and can result in eye ulcers.
- • Caliciviruscauses upper respiratory symptoms, including pneumonia, and also may lead tomouth ulcers and occasionally arthritis. In young kittens temporary lameness can occur. Calicivirusinfection isusually fairly mild, andis less likely to lead to serious complications.
Preventing cat colds and cat flu isn’t as hard as you’d think. Vaccination and keeping your house clean are good ways of helping your cat avoid becoming infected:
Vaccine– The best way to prevent cat flu is through vaccination. Though a vaccine will not cover all strains of virus, it will cover the most common kinds. Two doses of vaccine are needed during kittenhood, followed by regular boosters. Vaccines can also be available for bacterial forms of cat flu. Ask your vet if they think they are necessary for your cat.
Keep Clean –Household disinfectants can help clean away bacteria and viruses that could build up on tabletops, floors and other surfaces. Regular washing of your cat’s bed, water and food bowls, and any commonly used toys can help keep incidents of illness low. Remember to hoover any areas your cat likes to hide in too.
Feed Well – A good diet and healthy lifestyle can help keep your cat’s immune system healthy. Try a diet from the PURINA® PRO PLAN® range advanced nutrition to help support your cat health.
It’s important to be diligent with cleaningif your cat does become ill with flu. If your cat does get sick, then take extracare by encouraging her to eat with a few nice treats and affection. If your cat lives with others then it’s important to quarantine him or her, and disinfect all areas shared by your pets.