How do I know if my cat has a cold? Cats, like humans, can catch colds, and pet owners need to recognize the signs of a cat’s cold. While a cold in cats is usually not a severe illness, it can cause discomfort and should be addressed promptly.

Recognizing the signs of a cat’s cold is essential for proactive and attentive pet care. Cats, being masters of masking illness, may display subtle symptoms that warrant careful observation. Common signs of a cat’s cold include sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing, watery eyes, lethargy, and a diminished appetite.

Proper Identification

It’s crucial to note that while a cat cold is typically not severe, prompt identification of these symptoms allows for swift intervention, preventing potential complications. The potential causes of a cat’s cold can vary, with viral infections, particularly feline herpesvirus and calicivirus, being common culprits.

Stress, environmental changes, and exposure to infected cats can contribute to developing cold-like symptoms. Understanding these factors aids in implementing preventive measures and creating a conducive environment for your cat’s well-being.

This article will explore the common symptoms of a cat’s cold, its potential causes, and how to help your feline friend recover comfortably.

Signs of a Cat’s Cold:

Sneezing and Runny Nose

One of the most noticeable signs of a cat’s cold is sneezing. If your cat sneezes frequently, and you notice a clear or watery discharge from their nose, it’s likely a cold symptom.

Cats may also develop congestion, which can result in a runny nose. You might notice your cat pawing at their nose to alleviate discomfort.

Watery Eyes

Cats with colds may have watery or teary eyes. Excessive tearing can make their eyes appear red or irritated.

Squinting or keeping their eyes partially closed is another sign of eye discomfort due to a cold.


While less common than in dogs, some cats with colds may develop a mild, dry cough. It can be mistaken for a hairball cough but is typically associated with cold symptoms.

Decreased Appetite

Cats with colds might experience a decreased appetite. The congestion and discomfort associated with a cold can make it less appealing for them to eat.

You may notice your cat refusing their favorite treats or needing to be more interested in mealtime.


Lethargy is a common symptom when cats feel unwell, including during a cold. Your cat may seem less active, spend more time resting, and show reduced interest in play.


A cat’s average body temperature ranges between 100.5°F and 102.5°F. If your cat has a cold, they may develop a slight fever, contributing to their overall discomfort.

Mouth Breathing

When severe congestion is significant, a cat may breathe through their mouth. This is a sign that the cold affects their ability to live comfortably through their nose.

Changes in Behavior

Cats may show changes in behavior when they have a cold. They might become more withdrawn or seek more comfort and attention from their owners.

Causes of a Cat’s Cold

Cat colds are typically caused by viral infections, most commonly the feline herpesvirus (FHV-1) or the feline calicivirus (FCV). These viruses are highly contagious among cats and can be easily transmitted through direct contact or shared items, such as food and water bowls, grooming tools, and litter boxes.

Conclusion: How do I know if my cat has a cold?

Recognizing the signs of a cat’s cold is crucial for providing prompt care and comfort to your furry companion. While cat colds are generally not severe, early intervention and proper treatment can help your cat recover quickly and prevent complications.

Cats are skilled at hiding signs of illness, making early recognition even more critical. Common cold symptoms in cats include sneezing, nasal discharge, lethargy, and decreased appetite.

By staying vigilant and seeking veterinary advice at the first indication of a cold, you can ensure that your cat receives the necessary care to alleviate discomfort and avoid potential complications. Remember that prompt intervention supports your cat’s well-being and strengthens the bond between you and your feline friend by demonstrating your commitment to their health and happiness.

Always consult your veterinarian when your cat displays signs of illness to ensure they receive the appropriate care and attention.