Most cats will suffer from a cat flu infection at some point in their lives. Although feline flu is not typically a serious condition in adult cats, it can have damaging and even fatal outcomes in young cats. Kitten flu and adult flu are both caused by one of two common viruses, feline herpes virus or feline calicivirus.

Symptoms of Feline Flu

Cat flu refers to one of several types of upper respiratory infections in cats. Although these infections are not brought about by an influenza virus, the disease is commonly referred to as “cat flu” because of the similarity to the symptoms of the human flu virus. Your cat’s flu symptoms will vary depending upon the cause and the underlying virus, but they typically include one or more of the following:

  • Swollen eyes and nose
  • Cat sneezing
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Loss of weight and/or appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Mouth and eye ulcers
  • Pain while walking

Many of these symptoms are common to other, more serious diseases. If your pet displays one or more of the warning signs listed above, take him to a vet for immediate examination. Feline flu is especially damaging to kittens and pregnant cats, but it’s unpleasant for cats of all ages and breeds.

Treating Feline Flu

Feline flu is caused by a virus and cannot be treated directly with medicines or drug therapies. You must simply allow the virus to run its course. However, you can ease your cat’s discomfort by helping to reduce the symptoms.

To remedy the swollen and oozing nose and eyes, wash your pet’s face gently with a warm saltwater solution. Do this once per day, or as recommended by a veterinarian.

To encourage a sick cat to eat and drink water again, it may be necessary to have an intravenous fluid line set up at a veterinarian’s office. Many sick cats, especially those with mouth ulcerations, will stop eating and drinking while they have feline flu. This can be a serious health concern, and is one that you should bring up with your vet when you have your pet examined.

Other types of ulcers, particularly those in or around the eyes, are potentially serious conditions that may permanently affect your pet’s health. Speak with your vet about any developing ulcers that you notice.

One of the most important methods of protecting against cat flu is prevention. Cat flu is spread from one infected cat to other animals. If your cat or another cat in the vicinity is infected, keep healthy pets away from him until the virus has a chance to run its course over a two-week period.

By acting quickly upon recognizing the symptoms of feline flu, you can help to relieve your cat’s pain and suffering during the course of the disease. Consult with a veterinarian for further assistance regarding your cat and his symptoms.


A Guide to Cat Flu Treatment