Frequently Asked Questions about Cat Ailments

There are 8 commonly asked questions about cat ailments. Many cat owners wonder if a human and cat can get sick from each other.  People often wonder about what other illnesses they need to worry about and ways they can protect their cat from illness. Finally, many new cat owners want to make sure they will know when they need to seek veterinary care and when it is an emergency.

1. Can a Cat Catch a Cold?

Cats can catch a variety of viruses that are similar to a human being catching a cold or flu. Sometimes it's just a minor cold and other times, your cat may have a more serious virus. A cat can also catch the rabies virus.

2. What Happens When a Cat Catches a Virus?

A cat with a mild cold may sneeze and seem more tired. He may have a slightly runny eye. If the cat's immune system is more compromised or if it's a more serious virus, he may develop a thick and discolored mucus from the eyes or ears. He may develop diarrhea or vomiting and begin to lose weight. The more serious viruses can result in death from a secondary illness or from the primary symptoms themselves.

3. How Can My Cat Catch a Virus?

Cats only catch viruses from other cats except in the case of the rabies virus which is contagious amongst other animals. Usually a virus is spread when a healthy cat shares blood, feces, saliva, or tears with an infected feline. This can happen through the sharing of water or food dishes, and litter box. It can also occur in a fight or when 2 cats groom each other. 

4. Can I Catch a Virus from My Cat?

A human being cannot catch a virus or cold from a cat. A virus has genetic material that will only fit with similar genetic material. It's always a good idea, however, to practice good hand washing hygiene when in contact with an ill animal. This will help prevent the spread of the disease to other animals.

5. Can I Give My Cat a Virus?

If you have a cold or virus, your cat can't get it from you.

6. What Other Illnesses Should I Be Worried About?

Cats can get a variety of other illnesses and diseases in their lifetime. The most common involve the urinary tract system, bladder and kidneys. These areas can become infected or worse yet, fully obstructed. Symptoms to watch for include strained or painful urination, eliminating outside the box, blood in the urine, or visiting the box more often with less output. Cats can also get other illnesses such as allergies and skin infections. There are forms of feline cancer and thyroid diseases as well.   

7. How Can I Tell If It's an Emergency?

It's always a good idea to check in with your vet if mild symptoms are not abating after 3 days or if the symptoms are more serious. Serious symptoms that require immediate attention include loss of consciousness, non-stop diarrhea or vomiting, difficulty breathing, or yowling and hiding in uncharacteristic ways.

8. What Kinds of Ailments Does an Older Cat Get?

Older cats have specific issues that often don't show up before age 8 or 9. An older cat can develop arthritis and mobility issues. He also may be more prone to virus and thyroid problems where the thyroid either under functions or over functions.