Can Cats Get Colds?

Our question this week was:

Dr. Debra – can cats get colds? My cat has the sniffles and I was just wondering if cats get colds.


John S.


Hi – thanks for your email. You wrote asking if cats get colds. Well, a “cold” is contagious viral infection generally affecting the upper respiratory infection. Common signs are sneezing, nasal discharge, runny eyes, etc.

Cats can get upper respiratory infections that are contagious and viral. They actually call the problem “Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infection”. It is very common in outdoor cats or multi-cat households. You cannot get the cold from your cat and vice versa.

Because the condition is generally caused by a virus – antibiotics generally don’t help and it just takes time for your cat to clear the infection. However, antibiotics are often prescribed to help prevent or treat secondary bacterial infections.

An article that might be helpful to you is Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections (URTI).

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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