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Can Cats Catch Human Cold?

As a cat lover and owner, you might be concerned can cats catch human cold. Sometimes, cats have a runny nose, they sneeze, and have watery eyes as well. How do they get those? All your questions are answered and continue reading.

can cats catch human cold?

Can Cats Catch Human Colds? Is It True?

The short answer is no. The virus that causes colds in humans is different from the one that affects cats. So, our common cold doesn’t affect cats. Yet, cats have their own colds caused by different feline viruses such as calicivirus or feline herpesvirus (rhinotracheitis). These diseases are known as upper respiratory infections (URI).

There are certain types of virus that spread from humans to cats such as influenza virus and SARS Cov-2. 

How Does the Virus Spread in Cats?

The virus that causes colds in cats spread majorly through air particles or water. It can spread from infected cats and virus particles as mentioned by VCA Animal Hospitals. So, any place which has a lot of cats staying together has high chances of contact and infection. Even if you have a lot of cats indoors, you must be cautious if you think one of your cats has a cold.

Influenza or flu virus spreads from humans to cats through hugging, kissing, and sharing items such as bedding.

What Are the Symptoms of a Cat Showing Infection?

can cats catch human cold?

If your cat has a cold or upper respiratory infection, it might be showing a few of the below symptoms:

  • Runny nose and watery eyes
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Fever
  • Poor appetite
  • Congestion

Though most cold infections might not be serious, it is always best to take your pet to vet when you find any of the above symptoms.

How to Handle a Cat Which Shows Any of the Above Symptoms and Is Infected?

can cats catch human cold?

There is generally no cure for colds. Cats’ immune system will resolve the cold in a maximum of 10 days. However, the following guideline might come in handy to comfort your furry friend and support her to pass through this phase.

  • Keep your cat in a warm bed/place to feel comfortable.
  • Keep her hydrated as this will provide necessary strength to your cat’s immune system.
  • Provide nutritious meals which have a strong smell because your cats might lose their sense of smell when they have a cold. Strong smells will improve the food’s taste and your cat won’t skip her meal.
  • Use a damp cloth to clean your cat’s face and remove any crusting around her eyes and nose.
  • You can check with the vet and use a humidifier if it keeps your cat comfortable while breathing.
  • Place her near the windows or toys that she usually prefers to raise her mood.
  • Always take your cat to the vet when you notice any symptoms. Your vet might prescribe antibiotics or other medication if they feel your cat has got a secondary bacterial infection because of this virus.

Precautions to Protect Your Cat Against Pathogens Causing Cold

There are certain precautions you should take to keep your cat protected from the virus:

  • Isolate your kitty from other infected cats or animals. If you or your neighbour have influenza or flu, it is better to ask someone else to take care of your pet until you recover.
  • Don’t let your cat roam outdoors all by themselves. Stay with your cat when you take it outdoors so it doesn’t get infected by stray animals.
  • Cold affects cats that have a weak immune system. So, please take additional precautions when your cat has asthma, allergies, or suffers from high stress. All these illnesses can make her immune system weak.


Cats can’t catch human colds, but only the flu in rare situations. You should also be aware that there are other types of viruses that can spread from other cats or humans to your little feline. Therefore, it is wise to take the necessary precautions to protect your cat against such pathogens. Also, never forget to consult your vet first whenever you notice cats have cold or flu symptoms.

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai

Dr. Iulia Mihai grew up with cats since she was little – basically all her life! Because she love and appreciate animals so much, especially cats, she became a vet!
She graduated the University of Agronomical Sciences and Veterinary Medicine in 2012 in Romania and, since college she started to volunteer in various veterinary clinics. She first volunteered at the faculty’s clinic in her 3rd year of study and continued to pursue her career in small animal pathology and laboratory.
She currently has two cats, five rats, and two African clawed frogs!
She says that having pets comes with great responsibilities, but the satisfaction is commensurate!

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