Cat flu, or Feline Respiratory Disease, is primarily caused by any one of many strains of two viruses — a herpes virus and a calicivirus. The infection is spread by contact with another infected cat, or through contact with infected objects, which can be brushes, food and water bowls, bedding, or anything an infected animal has been in contact with, including the owner’s hands. Inhaling infected air can also transmit the disease.
Symptoms appear anything from 1 to 10 days after exposure. The disease usually persists for 1 to 3 weeks, or longer in some cases.
Infected cats may exhibit some or all of the following signs:
- decreased appetite
- discharge from eyes and/or nose
- sneezing and/or coughing
- snuffly nose
- ulcers on tongue
We will prescribe medications for your sick cat. These are effective but nursing at home is just as important in treating cat flu.Try to make your cat more comfortable by…
Keep it inside in a warm place, and isolated from other cats in the house
Regularly wipe away any eye or nasal discharge with damp cotton wool
An unwell cat will often not groom itself, which makes it uncomfortable. Frequent grooming on your part, and plenty of TLC, will help it feel more comfortable.
Getting your cat to eat is critical, but it will be reluctant as a cat that can’t smell often won’t eat. Feed strong smelling foods such as tinned fish, or dabs vegemite on food to encourage eating.
Fluid intake is equally vital. Try anything to get your cat to keep drinking — water, water and glucose, milk, vegemite dissolved in water, broth.
To help clear a blocked nose try using a steam vapouriser in the room with your cat, or keep it in the bathroom with you while you shower. The steam will help loosen the mucous. Small dabs of Vicks Vapour Rub under the chin may also help.