can a cat get a cold from a human

No, cats cannot get colds from humans. The vast majority of viruses are highly species-specific and will not survive in a different host. Some bacterial infections can be transmitted to and from humans and cats, but this is rare. Cats can get COVID-19 from humans and may show mild symptoms, but this is extremely rare.

How Do Cats Catch Colds?

Because they typically affect the upper respiratory tract, cats’ colds are referred to as upper respiratory infections, or URIs. URIs can be caused by viruses, bacteria, and fungi. These are easily transmitted among cats, particularly in hectic, crowded settings like animal shelters. If an indoor cat comes into contact with a pathogen from contaminated objects, people, or other animals, they can still contract a cold.

The two most common viruses are feline calicivirus, which causes about 90% of upper respiratory infections in cats, and feline herpesvirus 1%, which is not the same as human herpesviruses. Feline herpesvirus-positive cats are typically infected as kittens, and once infected, they are permanently infected. The immune system suppresses the virus and keeps symptoms from manifesting when the person is otherwise healthy and not under too much stress. They might get sick frequently if they are under stress or if their immune system is weakened. Feline herpesvirus can be fatal in kittens, but affected cats can lead normal, happy lives. You can discuss long-term care for a cat with feline herpesvirus with your veterinarian.

Many of the remaining URIs in cats are caused by bacterial infections, which are frequently brought on by Bordetella bronchiseptica, different species of Mycoplasma, and Chlamydia felis.

Fungal infections are caused by Cryptococcus neoformans or C. gattii and Aspergillus. Cats that have fungal infections can have extremely serious, even fatal, infections that are frequently not limited to the upper respiratory tract. Thankfully, fungal infections are not frequently the cause of cats’ upper respiratory symptoms.

What Are the Symptoms of Colds in Cats?

Symptoms of upper respiratory infections in cats often include:

  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge, either clear, yellow, or green
  • swollen eyes, inflammation of the eyelids and surrounding tissues (conjunctivitis)
  • Coughing
  • Sores in the mouth or on the nose
  • Congestion
  • Snoring
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fever
  • Voice changes, like becoming hoarse when meowing

If you notice any of the above symptoms, get advice from your veterinarian. Nevertheless, as soon as you notice any of the following, take your cat to the vet:

  • Open-mouthed breathing, rapid breathing, or any breathing difficulties
  • For more than a day, your cat has not eaten or drunk.
  • Lethargy, listlessness, or behavior changes
  • Fever more than 103 degrees Fahrenheit (if your cat’s temperature can be taken at home)

can a cat get a cold from a human

What to do if Your Cat Has a Cold

If your cat has a cold, you can help relieve some of their discomfort by using a clean cloth to wipe their runny nose and saline solution to wipe their runny eyes. For less dry air, you could also turn on a humidifier.

It’s critical that your cat keeps eating and drinking in order to speed up their recovery. By warming their food, you might be able to make it more enticing and simpler for them to eat. Your cat needs to stay warm as well, so add an extra blanket to their bed or other cozy spot where they can curl up.

Never give your cat any medication—human or otherwise—without first consulting your veterinarian. Consult your veterinarian frequently to find out what they recommend for your pet.


How did my indoor cat catch a cold?

In most cases, cats catch colds just like people do — through exposure to a virus. According to one veterinary account, almost 90% of cat colds are caused by viruses. However, some bacteria can also cause URIs. Once a cat is infected, it can pass the virus on to other cats, often through sneezing or coughing.

What are the symptoms of a cat with a cold?

Cats with colds may have symptoms including coughing, sneezing, discharge from the eyes or nose, lethargy, and sometimes fever. For many cats, these symptoms are will go away on their own in about 7-10 days. However, some cats may experience complications, such as a secondary bacterial infection or pneumonia.

Does human cold affect cats?

The viruses that give animals things like coughs, colds, and the flu are different from the ones that cause these illnesses in people, and they don’t spread back and forth between humans and animals.

How do indoor cats get sick?

Some parasites and infectious agents (bacteria, viruses, and fungi) are easily transmitted through screened doors and windows, and they’re also happy to hop a ride on our shoes and clothing. Pests like insects and rodents still manage to make their way indoors and expose indoor kitties when they hunt them down.