Just like humans, cats can catch colds -- "kitty colds." Fortunately the colds that cats catch are cat specific and are not contagious to humans or dogs. They do, however, exhibit many of the same symptoms that we humans experience. Cats may have sneezing, eye and nasal discharge and loss of appetite because they cannot smell their food.
Normally a cat's immune system protects it from catching cold, but there are many stress factors that may compromise the immune system. Cats that are not well cared for or are on their own in the wild must cope with extreme cold, poor nutrition, injuries, pregnancy and fleas. Indoor cats, especially those in shelters or homes with multiple cats, may be stressed by overcrowding, frequent introduction of new cats or exposure to many different cats. Poor ventilation is a major factor in air quality for indoor cats. It helps tremendously to open windows and doors on nice days to freshen the interior environment.
Even cats that receive the best of care can be stressed by major changes in their environment, such as a move to a new home, boarding, surgery or the introduction of new pets. As resilient as cats seem to be, they are also quite sensitive little creatures!
One extremely common virus that causes colds in cats is the feline herpes virus. Along with the usual cold symptoms, there may be a brown discharge from the eyes. The majority of cats show mild symptoms, but the virus persists in a latent state in cats and may recur when a cat is stressed and its immune system is not up to speed. Young kittens and older cats are particularly susceptible to the feline herpes virus.
There are vaccines for feline herpes virus that offer some protection or reduce the severity of symptoms. A cat will usually get over the cold on its own, but a veterinarian can prescribe medication to soothe the discomfort of weepy eyes and runny nose. For those of us who are untrained as vet technicians drops are much easier to administer than salves! Clean your cat's eyes and nose with a warm, wet disposable washcloth. Kitty's symptoms should disappear in a week or two.
If your cat shows symptoms and you have other cats, it is advisable to separate the affected cat to a room with a low stress environment. In our dry climate a humidifier makes it easier for the cat to breathe. Monitor its appetite and feed it especially tasty canned food moistened with chicken broth. Thoroughly wash your hands each time you handle the sick cat or anything it comes into contact with. Call your vet for an appointment as soon as possible.
There are some really nice cats available for adoption at Payson Humane Society. Come and meet them at our shelter, 812 S. McLane Road.
Muffy is a precious 10-year-old spayed female longhaired gray kitty. Her coat is especially satiny and her yellow eyes are full of expression and curiosity. Muffy is a very gentle, quiet cat and is used to a calm atmosphere in the home because she lived with an elderly couple. When her people were no longer able to care for her, she and her three feline friends Daisy, Mokey and Abby were brought to our shelter. Muffy definitely deserves a second chance at a forever home because she is such a sweet girl.
Daisy is a divine 1-1/2-year-old longhaired bicolor orange tabby. Her beautiful round eyes are the color of pale amber. A typical tangerine tabby, she is ever the friendly extrovert, affectionately brushing against you for attention. Daisy came to our shelter with Muffy, Mokey and Abby cats. Daisy is a very adaptable cat that will do well in most any family situation, provided she is loved and well cared for.
Abby is a very sweet 10-year-old spayed female shorthaired Tortie cat. Her beautifully colored coat shows the patterns of the Tortoiseshell and Tabby cats. She has been declawed and should therefore be an inside only cat. Abby came to our shelter with Muffy, Mokey and Daisy cats. Abby is a gentle, loving kitty that will do well in an adult home that is filled with love and kindness for her.
Squirt is a pretty 5-year-old shorthaired tabby kitty. Her eyes have an angelic look in them. Squirt came from an active home with young children. She gets along with both cats and dogs. She is tidy about using her litter box and she rides fine in the car. Squirt is a dear, well behaved little princess that thrives on affection and yummy kitty treats. Take her home and let her work her magic spell on you!
Al is a handsome 10-year-old neutered male shorthaired gray cat. His thick cloud gray coat makes him look like he's a plush toy. To make him look different from other gray cats, he was born with a small white locket of fur on his chest. He has been declawed on his front paws and will need to stay safe indoors at all times.
The reason Al is at our shelter is because his beloved owner passed away and he was brought in to our shelter along with his buddy Ranger. Al would love to be taken into a loving adult home where he could take it easy watching wildlife from the window sill, safe in a warm house with a family that thinks he's special.
For more information on these and other adoptable pets, call 474-5590 or online visit www.paysonhumanesociety.com.