Cat flu is quite a nasty illness for your pet. If you have never seen a cat with flu then count yourself lucky. It is far worse than cat colds.
Our cats have always been vaccinated and have never caught the feline flu, but because Little Mo came from an animal shelter, we did not know her previous history and she caught the flu soon after we re-homed her.
It really was sad to see, she didn't eat or drink for days. She could hardly walk and it was pitiful to hear her croaky almost silent mew.
Cat Flu is the common name given to a group of viruses, which affect the upper respiratory tract in cats.
Healthy cats are normally able to cope with the illness and it is not usually fatal, but it can be much nastier and dangerous to kittens and cats with a weaken immune system.
Anyway we all know how unpleasant the flu can be in ourselves, so it is something that we should try and protect our pets from catching it in the first place.
The illness itself is normally caused by the Feline Herpes Virus 1 (FHV-1) or Feline Calicivirus (FCV).
The disease affects the:
The viruses are spread:
The Spread of the virus needs to be contained. The best method is to:
If you notice your cat displaying any of the following symptoms, you should take them to the vets immediately to have the illness diagnosed professionally and treated quickly.
The symptoms of cat flu can last between 7 and 14 days depending on the strain of virus.
Viral infections cannot be cured but the symptoms can be managed. Depending on the symptoms your cat is showing your vet may prescribe, eye drops and or antibiotics.
In severe cases where the cat cannot eat or drink due to mouth ulcers, your vet may want to keep your cat at the clinic so that they can be fed intravenously.
As a caring cat owner the best thing to do is to try and keep your cat as comfortable as possible.
Once a cat has cat flu they may become a carrier of the disease which may either make them sick again in the future even if they have not come in to contact with another sick cat, or they may infect other cats.
This is one of the main reasons for having your healthy cat vaccinated against the disease, as you can never be sure which cats they come into contact with, you may even inadvertently spread the disease yourself by stroking a seemingly healthy cat who may be carrying the illness.
The vaccine for cat flu can be given either separately or as a combined vaccine for other infectious diseases.
Your vet will discuss this with you at your visit. See our page regarding cat vaccinations in general for more information.