Can cats get flu?

Yes, cats can get the flu just like people can. Feline flu is caused by a number of different viruses. It can cause the cat to get very sick, but it only rarely causes death, usually in young kittens or old cats who have weaker immune systems. You can prevent your cat from getting cat flu by vaccinating them - there are several common viruses that cause the bulk of the cases in cats, and a couple of vaccinations will reduce the chance that the cat will suffer the symptoms. Cats that go outdoors are more at risk, as they will have interactions with other cats.

   

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What are the symptoms?

In cats, the flu causes the sort of symptoms you would expect in people for the most part. Coughing, discharge from the cat's nose, your cat running a fever, sneezing, and loss of appetite are the most common. The cat may be somewhat lethargic and just generally seem like it feels ill.

Your vet can diagnose feline flu by testing a swab from the cat's mouth.

What is the treatment?

 Generally, because it is caused by a virus, there is not a specific drug that's going to kill it. Your vet will likely give you antibiotics, but this is mainly because sometimes cats will get other bacterial infections while they are weak from the flu. You will likely also be given vitamins of some kind, and the vet may make suggestions about what to feed your cat (sometimes it's good to switch to a more enriched diet briefly to help the cat fight off the illness). If things get very bad, you may have to hospitalize the cat at the vet's.

Keeping your sick cat away from other cats is also a good idea. Only cats can get it, however - people and dogs cannot catch the kind of flu that affects cats.

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