can a cat give a human a cold

Cat colds are an upper respiratory infection (URI) caused by a virus or bacteria. It can’t be transmitted to humans but it can easily spread among cats, especially in compact conditions. So if you have recently boarded your cat and they have developed a cold, odds are your pet was close to another cat that has a cold.

Can Your Cat Catch Your Cold?

No, humans cannot give the common cold to cats, but they can catch other respiratory illnesses from people. You cannot give your cat a cold virus because the majority of viruses that cause colds in humans are unique to humans.

People who “catch” colds actually contract viruses that cause upper respiratory illness symptoms. A sore throat, cough, runny nose, congestion, headache, and body aches are a few examples of these. Human parainfluenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus, certain human coronaviruses, adenovirus, and human metapneumovirus are among the viruses that commonly cause colds in humans.

Person-to-person contact is how cold viruses spread, and there is no treatment. As the body fights the infection, supportive care is provided, such as getting plenty of rest and drinking plenty of water. Most people recover from colds in about 7-10 days. Patients with weakened immune systems or those with respiratory disorders such as asthma may be more susceptible to the negative effects of colds.

Although your cat won’t get the cold virus from you, they can still contract other illnesses from people or other animals. It is usually a good idea to wash your hands well before and after handling your cat if you are ill.

Certain respiratory viruses can be transmitted to your feline companion. Cats can contract the influenza A virus from people, and contact with infected individuals can expose them to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

It is recommended that you stay away from your cat and have someone who is not ill take care of them until you recover if you have either of these illnesses. The majority of domestic cats who have contracted COVID-19 or the flu have had mild illnesses.

Cat Colds: Signs & Symptoms

  • sneezing
  • sniffles
  • watery eyes
  • runny nose
  • mild fever

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.


Can humans get sick from cats?

Before buying or adopting a pet cat, make sure a cat is the right type of pet for your family. Cats can sometimes carry germs that can make people sick, even when they appear clean and healthy. Visit your veterinarian for routine care to keep your cat healthy and to prevent infectious diseases.

Can humans get respiratory infections from cats?

Bacterial etiologies of zoonotic respiratory infection that can be acquired from cats or dogs include Bordetella bronchiseptica, Pasteurella multocida, Francisella tularensis, Yersinia pestis, Coxiella burnetii, and Bartonella henselae.

Can cat sneezing infect humans?

People can potentially get flu from a sick cat by touching virus-containing secretions from the cat and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Also, sick cats may cough or sneeze, which can expel droplets containing the virus into the air that a person can breathe in or that can enter a person’s eyes, nose or mouth.

Do indoor cats carry diseases?

It is a myth that cats who live indoors do not need to be vaccinated against infectious diseases. While living an indoor lifestyle is certainly safer overall than living outdoors, and indoor living contributes to a longer life expectancy, important infectious diseases can find indoor cats.