Winter is here! And so is flu season. With this time of year comes a whole host of unpleasant symptoms like uncontrollable coughing, fever, and a runny nose. Have you ever noticed your cat sniffling and worried about whether or not he could end up suffering from those same symptoms? Have you coughed near your kitten and panicked over the thought of getting her sick? Is that even a thing that can happen?
Many myths and misconceptions surround the idea of cat flu, so we’re here to set the record straight. Keep in mind that the best thing to do if your cat gets sick is to take him straight to the vet. But with the right information, you can at least better prepare yourself to protect your feline from this nasty infection, and know generally how to help him if he ever does come down with the flu.
The Feverish Details
So, what’s the answer to that seemingly simple question? Can cats actually catch the flu? The short answer is yes, but it’s a little more complex than that. While you might think of the flu as one single illness, it can actually be caused by a number of different viruses. The most common viruses that will get your cat sick are known as feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus. These can lead to upper respiratory infections, or what you might think of as cat flu. To make matters more complicated, some studies have suggested that people can infect cats with influenza!
The flu can cause similar symptoms to what we see in humans, from a sore throat to muscle aches to runny noses. While your feline might be in for a miserable bout with the illness, the flu is not usually a serious health concern in normal adult cats. But similar to the flu in people, cat flu can be deadly to kittens and cats with other health issues, so it’s important to know how to prevent and handle the illness.
Protecting Your Cat
When it comes to keeping your pet healthy, prevention is the name of the game. There are several different measures you can take to help keep your cat from getting sick in the first place. Vaccination is a particularly important factor here, and the good news is that feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus (the viruses that cause cat flu) can both be vaccinated against. Vaccination can reduce the risk of illness in your pet, so be sure to check with your vet and keep your kitty’s shots up to date.
In terms of fighting the spread of the flu, think about how quickly the illness can make its way around your office. The same can happen with the flu in cats, with the sickness spreading through the air or through direct contact with another cat or a contaminated surface. If you own more than one cat, or if your cat is being boarded or spending time around other cats, be aware of the chances of him contracting the flu. Keep him away from any obviously sick cats, and provide separate food and water bowls when possible to avoid contamination. And when it comes to the possibility of you getting him sick, do your best to avoid coughing or sneezing in his direction if you come down with the flu. Better safe than sorry!
Nursing Your Feline Back to Health
Say you do everything in your power–cleaning food and water bowls, vaccinating, keeping her away from other sick cats and people–and your cat still winds up with the flu. What now? Clearly, a trip to your vet is in order to determine that your cat actually has influenza and not another complication. From there, you’ll be given instructions on how best to care for your pet. In general, it’s important to ensure that your cat continues eating and gets enough fluids to avoid dehydration. As your cat’s health improves, consider introducing a supplement geared towards aiding her recovery further: Wapiti Labs’ Recuperate is a natural herbal formula that supports the healing process and manages discomfort.
Keep Your Cat Happy & Healthy with Wapiti Labs
Getting shots isn’t the only thing you can do to help keep your cat from getting sick. A nutritious diet and plenty of exercise are also integral to a healthy lifestyle and years of happiness. In addition to monitoring diet and activity, you can support your cat’s natural functions with a daily supplement from Wapiti Labs. Our Vital or ReVitalize supplements, made with ingredients like elk velvet antler and traditional herbs, are specially formulated to tackle a variety of issues, from supporting allergies to old age. We know firsthand the joys that a pet can bring, and we want to make sure that your cat lives a full and happy life by your side!