Can cats get flu? How to care for your cat in the colder months

The leaves are turning and the temperature is dipping, so that officially makes it cold and flu season. Did you know that cats can catch flu too? It’s a common illness and vaccinations against cat flu are typically given in kitten hood. As is the case with all vaccines, it can’t protect cats from all strains of the disease. Just like human flu, cat flu can pose a more serious threat to very old cats, pregnant cats, kittens and cats with underlying health conditions, so be mindful of an infection in a vulnerable kitty. 

 

 

The symptoms of cat flu are very similar to a human cold. This upper respiratory tract infection is not caused by influenza, it is generally caused by feline Herpesvirus and feline calicivirus that can be passed between cats. Symptoms to be aware of include sneezing, runny nose, coughing, mouth and eye ulcers, weepy eyes, fever, difficulty breathing, loss of appetite and lethargy. As cat flu can lead to secondary bacterial infections, it’s a really good idea to get your moggy checked over by a vet if it has any of these symptoms. If your cat is sick, remember to encourage them to drink water to prevent dehydration. You can tempt a poorly cat who’s lost their appetite with some of their favourite foods or treats. Here are five more tips on how to care for your cat during the colder months. 

 

1. Encourage them to stay in 

In very cold weather, most cats are happy to stay warm and snug inside, but there’s always that fearsome feline who wants to patrol their patch, or the cat who insists on toileting outdoors. A fresh and clean indoor tray filled with odour-neutralising, super absorbent, biodegradable Natusan litter will encourage them to stay put during bad weather. Timed, microchip cat flaps are also an easy way of controlling your cat’s prowling hours.

 

2. Keep an eye on your puss’s paws

Cats are susceptible to frostbite and the grit they put down on the roads can leave chemical burns on the pads of their paws. Long hair can also trap grit or even ice up in very cold conditions. Regularly check the condition of the skin to remove any hazards and treat any cracked areas with a pet-friendly balm. 

Make sure to use a gentle kitty litter during these months, to avoid further irritation of these areas in the colder season - luckily Natusan is loved by cats and known for being ‘soft on paws’, so make the switch this winter if you haven’t already! 

 

3. Beware parked vehicles 

Cats are often drawn to shelter under cars, especially when the engine is still giving off heat. If your cat or your neighbours’ cats like to do this, check underneath and all around before you set off on your journey. 

4. Lock away the antifreeze

This common substance can be very toxic to cats, even in small amounts. It can leak from the radiators of parked cars (another reason to deter cats from sitting underneath) and needs to be stored safely away from any curious kitties. 

 

5. Take care of your cat’s joints

Arthritis can be triggered by cold weather. If you notice any slowness, limping or a cat struggling to groom themselves in the usual way, it could be a sign of sore joints. If your cat has this condition, give them lots of warm, soft places for a cosy nap and supplement their diet as per your vet’s instructions. 






12/10/2021 by NatuTeam

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