can indoor cats get sick

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.

How indoor cats come into contact with diseases

Indoor cats are far safer from infectious diseases than their outdoor counterparts, but they are still susceptible to a fair number of infectious diseases. Although they work well to reduce a cat’s exposure to pathogens that cause disease, walls, windows, and doors are not infallible. A few parasites and infectious agents, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi, can spread quickly through screened windows and doors. They will also gladly attach themselves to our clothes and shoes. Even with their efforts, pests such as insects and rodents are able to enter homes and reveal themselves to indoor cats that pursue them.

In summary, although living indoors poses less risks, it is by no means risk-free. It is best to take precautions against preventable illnesses since indoor cats are still as much, if not more, at risk for a range of non-infectious illnesses as their outdoor counterparts. This layer of protection is provided by keeping your indoor cat up to date on vaccinations and parasite prevention. Additionally, it makes risk management easier and keeps household members safer whenever you decide to bring home a new pet.

The majority of illnesses do not arise from contact with infectious or contagious agents. Many illnesses have a genetic component, are influenced by lifestyle choices, and are influenced by environmental factors. Variations in the immune system’s performance are another significant factor, and frequently the cause of a specific illness is unknown. Pet parents of indoor cats should be aware of the following since staying indoors does not shield cats from non-infectious diseases:

  • The best preventive health care strategies for their feline companions
  • The types of illnesses commonly seen in indoor kitties

How do cats get colds?

“Cat colds” or “cat flu” are typically feline upper respiratory infections (URI). 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.

When a cat gets sick, it can spread the virus to other cats, usually by coughing or sneezing. Due to their frequent interactions with other cats, cats in shelters and boarding facilities are frequently more susceptible to cat colds.

Elswick cautions that since cats like grooming one another, they may also contract an infection through direct contact if they are licking and grooming each other’s faces. “These infections can also be spread by eating from the bowl after another cat has eaten.” ”.

Contact with other outdoor cats can often result in outdoor cats contracting colds. But even indoor cats living alone can catch colds, even though they don’t seem to get outside much.

This is due to the fact that cats do not always get colds right away after being exposed to a virus. An infection may not always appear for months or even years.

Elswick says, “Viruses that cause colds can lie dormant in the system, so even if your cat has been indoors and not around other cats, those viruses can reactivate in times of stress or unrelated illness, causing your cat to catch a cold.” ”.

Moreover, handling sick cats or even walking in their path can unintentionally expose people to cold viruses on their hands or shoes.

Fortunately, you’re unlikely to catch your cat’s cold and vice versa. Most viruses that infect one species won’t survive in a host of a different species. There’s a slight chance that URIs can be passed from cats to humans. But these infections are rare, so the risk is minimal.

The top four diseases that affect indoor cats

The main illnesses that strike indoor cats are caused by a confluence of factors such as genetics, environment, and lifestyle rather than by infectious diseases. The top four illnesses that indoor cats are most likely to get are as follows:

1 – Periodontal disease

Periodontal and dental diseases are very common in indoor cats. Remaining indoors does not lessen the risk because these conditions are not transmissible. Research indicates that indoor cats are more susceptible to periodontal disease than their outdoor, hunting-related counterparts. As they age, most cats experience some degree of dental disease, and severe periodontal disease shortens a cat’s life expectancy by years if treatment is not received.

Tartar and inflamed gums are two common early signs of periodontal disease that are easily ignored. More advanced symptoms include drooling, dental decay, and tooth loss. It’s not just about a pretty smile. Periodontal disease has a major negative influence on a cat’s general health and is a risk factor for heart and kidney disease. During your cat’s annual wellness exam, inquire about your pet’s dental health so that you can take early action once dental disease shows up.

2- Obesity

Feline obesity is considered body weight above 20% of the normal weight for cats. Obesity often goes hand in hand with another common disease for house cats, diabetes. Excess weight can hurt your cat’s health in several ways. It can affect their joints, cartilage, bone structure, heart, and vascular system. Being overweight or obese can keep your cat from enjoying a normal level of physical activity or even grooming themselves properly. If you notice your cat putting on excess weight, speak to a vet to come up with a plan to form a gradual, healthy plan for weight loss.

3- Diabetes

One illness that isn’t acquired from the outside but rather results from a number of dietary and lifestyle choices is diabetes. Because they are unable to control their blood sugar levels, diabetic cats typically need to receive insulin injections once or twice a day. Since cats with diabetes are more likely to experience other health problems, it is imperative that this chronic illness be well managed.

Excessive thirst, altered appetite, weight loss, increased urination, and lethargic behavior are signs of feline diabetes. The best defense against diabetes in cats is to adhere to recommended diet and lifestyle guidelines and schedule regular veterinarian examinations. To find out more about managing and preventing diabetes, schedule a virtual care appointment. With cats becoming more and more likely to have diabetes, there are many tools and applications available to help pet parents manage their condition.

4- Lower urinary diseases

Feline lower urinary diseases are common and difficult to manage. They frequently result in urinary obstruction in male cats, which is a major reason for ER visits. Urinary tract infections can cause discomfort and inflammation, which can result in house soiling. House cats suffering from lower urinary disease usually pass tiny amounts of blood in their urine or show signs of excessive vaginal grooming. Depending on the underlying cause, treatment for diseases of the lower urinary tract can vary greatly. Complicated cases may require surgery to remove blockages or stones. Like diabetes, urinary diseases are more common in obese cats. Make sure your cat always has access to fresh water, and schedule an online veterinarian visit if you see your cat becoming overweight.


How would my indoor cat 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.

Can indoor cats catch colds?

Yes, they can. Sneezing and sniffles are signs that your cat has a cold, but you may be wondering how it happened in the first place. And, more importantly, how you can avoid it in the future. Just like colds in humans, cat colds are contagious.

Can an indoor cat get sick from going outside?

Disease: When you cat ventures outside it will likely encounter other cats. These cats maybe your neighbor’s kitty, a feral or community cat from the area. These cats can be a source of diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them.

Are indoor cats bad for your health?

Indoor-only cats can carry toxoplasmosis, although they have a lower risk of it because they’re less likely to hunt and eat infected prey. They’re also not exposed to the feces of infected cats. However, if an indoor cat used to be an outdoor cat, they may have toxoplasmosis.