5 Causes of Cat Cold Infections

The cat cold involves a variety of causes and symptoms. The most common causes include a number of viruses and infections, and can then involve secondary opportunist bacteria. Each symptom or set of cat cold symptoms offer clues as the cause of the cat cold and can help you choose the best course of treatment. The most common causes include viruses such as the FHV, FCV, chalmydophila felis, bordetella bronchisceptica, a secondary opportunist bacteria, reovirus or mycoplasma.

Cat Cold Symptoms

Observing cat cold symptoms can help you determine what is causing the cold. Symptoms range from sneezing to a discharge from the nose or eyes. A cat can catch a cold in warm or cold weather from other infected cats in close contact such as in a small apartment or a kennel or airplane. The cat usually becomes symptomatic 2 to 17 days after exposure.

1. FHV and FCV

These are two viruses that most often cause a cat to have an upper respiratory illness. This can range from extremely minor to a fatal pneumonia, especially in kittens. FHV stands for feline herpesvirus and only infects cats. It tends to cause the most severe symptoms of most cat viruses. FCV stands for feline calcivirus which is related to other viruses that humans can catch. Symptoms range from sneezing and discharge from the nose to lethargy and loss of appetite. The viruses are spread from one cat to another when the cat comes into contact with the infected secretions from the eyes, mouth, or nose.

2. Chalmydophila Felis

This is a bacterium that causes eye infection in cats. Even though it can be quite prevalent in shelters or kennels, it causes less problems than upper respiratory viruses. It can only be transmitted directly from the eye secretions of an infected cat. The symptoms usually appear 2 to 5 days after contact with the infected source and most often include a watery discharge from the eye that then may become thicker and like a mucus.

3. Bordatella Bronchisceptica

This is a highly communicable bacteria more often found in dogs but also responsible for respiratory issues in cats. A cat catches it when a nearby infected cat sneezes or coughs, and an infected dog can pass it on to a cat. It is much more prevalent in houses with multiple cats than in a single cat household. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, eye discharge, and possibly fever and loss of appetite. Coughing is a more common symptom in dogs than cats. Most often referred to as bordetella, treatment with antibiotics is usually affective.

4. Reovirus

This is a virus that most often affects a cat's intestinal walls and affects the cat in a variety of ways. It is generally transmitted when a cat inhales airborne virus particles or via contact with infected feces. It decreases the cat's ability to absorb nutrients and can cause dehydration and diarrhea. The cat may also develop gum inflammation or succumb to more serious illness such as muscle tremors, conjunctivitis in the eye, and respiratory illnesses.

5. Secondary Opportunistic Bacteria

Secondary opportunistic bacteria affect areas of the cat's body that are already compromised. This can happen in the ear canal when pre-existing conditions such as diabetes can change the bacterial environment or when ear stenosis and fibrosis from trauma are present.