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All you need to know about cat flu

Ah Ah Ah Cat Flu!

Cat flu is similar to a human cold. It causes respiratory issues in cats along with a runny nose, watering eyes, pain in the joints and muscles and lethargy. Though this flu does not severely affect old cats, it can even be fatal for kittens. Older cats that have underlying diseases might face problems with cat flu; however, it is most likely to affect younger cats.

Since this is a virus that affects your cat, it is treated for the symptoms until the body’s immune system fights it off. If your cat shows symptoms similar to the ones mentioned above, you must see a veterinarian as soon as possible.

Some commonly visible symptoms of cat flu are ulcers around the mouth. In worst cases, cats might develop eye ulcers which if not treated in time might lead to loss of eyesight.

What causes the flu?

Cat flu is caused by one or two viruses and sometimes by some bacteria. Once the cats are affected by the flu, they shed the virus wherever they go. The viruses are shed through tears, nasal secretions and saliva.

Cat flu is highly contagious; however, humans are not affected by this virus. Although ill cats are the biggest source of this infection, some healthy cats are also carriers of the flu virus. It is not necessary that the cat carrying the virus must be affected by it, but it can shed the virus when it carries it. The viruses in the shed particles can last for up to a week in the environment which means that a cat does not need to come in contact with another cat to catch the flu.

Cats can contract the virus through feed bowls that had been used by another cat, common litter boxes, toys or people’s clothing after they have touched or been around an infected cat.

How to treat cat flu?

There are no effective antiviral drugs that are known to treat cat flu. However, vets treat the cat for symptoms until the body can build resistance against the disease. Antibiotics do help as they prevent the cat from infections and complications that may arise further.

Once the virus has affected the cat, the cold might damage the delicate inner lining of the nose and make it sore. There is a great risk of the cat getting infections due to bacteria and fungi entering the nose from the environment.

Nursing at home can help your cat tremendously. Due to a blocked nose and mouth ulcers, cats tend to go off eating. You will notice that they do not finish their meals and in severe cases, the cat might stop eating completely.

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Eating is very important for your cat as your cat needs nutrition to fight the flu. If your cat does not eat the food it normally eats, you can try cooking foods with strong, interesting smells that attract your cat to eat food. You can try sardines, pilchards or roasted chicken.

Mixing water in the food is a good idea. Your cat must drink as much water as possible as fluids help loosen thick catarrh secretions.

Wipe your cats’ eyes and nose regularly with water that has a little salt added to it. Steam inhalations might also help clear your cats’ nostrils and give relief from blocked nostrils.

Ensure that your cat eats well and consumes enough fluid, as cats that do not eat well have to be hospitalized for further treatment.

How to prevent cats from getting cat flu?

It is best to visit a vet to get complete information on ways to prevent your cat from cat flu. Keep your kitten in a clean environment as they catch the flu virus easily. They shall start their vaccination as early as when they are eight weeks old. You shall consult your doctor regarding the vaccination of your kitten. Cats can be prevented from catching the flu if they are given all the vaccinations that prevent the virus from getting the better of them.

Moreover, if you already have a cat in the house and are planning to bring another one, make sure your previous cat is not a carrier of the viruses that cause cat flu.

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