Can the cat flu be transmitted by humans?

Can the cat flu be transmitted from one household to another?

  • Vetinfo

    By: Sara Joann Meritt El Segundo, CA

    Replied on 04/19/2011

    The cat flu virus, also know as a "Feline upper respiratory infection" has much in common with human flu virus. Symptoms can include sneezing, eye and nasal discharge, depression and lack of appetite. Just as in humans, infections are considered species specific, This means it is highly contagious from cat to cat but cannot be contracted by humans or by other animals such as dogs. The reverse is also true, flu viruses from another species cannot be given to a cat.

    Precautions must be taken to help prevent the spread of the infection between cats. Everything your cat comes into contact with should be considered an item that can spread the virus; Food bowls, litter pans, carriers, etc. While your cat is infected he/she will need to be separated from all other cats until the symptoms have diminished and for at least 7 to 10 days after. Disinfecting the items your pet has used is an important factor in maintaining a healthy environment. Bleach can be used in a dilution of 1:3 and is an effective method of disinfection. Rinse all items thoroughly before introducing them back to your pets. Remember to wash your hands after caring for your sick pet, the virus is easily transmitted though contact with people.

    Although a feline upper respiratory infection is not considered to be life threatening, it is highly recommended to see your veterinarian. Medications can be prescribed that will help speed up the recovery process. For cats who have a compromised immune system, such as: pregnant, lactating, young or elderly cats, any illness, including an upper respiratory infection can be life threatening due to the inability of the immune system to properly fight off the infection. Lack of appetite and dehydration are symptoms to watch carefully for. Offering potent smelling foods will better tempt a cat to eat when it is ill. Wet foods are a good choice, because the smell is strong and can offer some form of hydration. If your pet has not eaten or drank for more then a day, contact your veterinarian immediately.

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