If you have ever heard your cat coughing like a seal, you may have wondered what is wrong with your furry friend,How to get rid of kennel cough in cats.
Is it a hairball, an allergy, or something more serious?
The answer could be kennel cough, a bacterial infection that affects many cats around the world. Kennel cough can cause discomfort and distress to your cat, and in some cases, it can lead to life-threatening complications.
Fortunately, there are ways to prevent, treat, and cure kennel cough in cats with proper care and attention. Join us as we’re going to bid farewell to those unwelcome coughs and usher in a symphony of purrs and meows.
What Causes Kennel Cough in Cats and How Does it Affect Them?
You may have heard of kennel cough as a common problem for dogs, but did you know that cats can get it too? Well, yes, our loving pet can get hit by this kitty cold.
What is “Kennel Cough”?
Kennel cough is a type of respiratory infection that can affect both dogs and cats. It is also known as infectious tracheobronchitis.
It is not a specific disease, but a general term for a group of symptoms that are caused by different germs.
Causes of Kennel Cough in Cats
The most common cause of kennel cough in cats is a nasty bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is related to the one that causes whooping cough in humans.
This bacteria can get into your cat’s airways through direct contact with infected cats or through the air.
Other germs that can cause kennel cough in cats include viruses (such as feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus), fungi (such as Aspergillus), or parasites (such as lungworms). [watch how lungworm can cause coughing in cats]
Some factors that can make your cat more likely to get kennel cough are stress, overcrowding, poor ventilation, or low immunity.
Effects of Kennel Cough on Cats
Kennel cough can have different effects on different cats, depending on their age, health, and the type of germ that caused it.
Some cats may have mild symptoms that go away on their own, while others may have severe symptoms that require veterinary attention.
When your cat catches kennel cough, their airways become a bit of a traffic jam for mucus and inflammation.
This infection can be very uncomfortable for your cat, and in rare cases, it can lead to more serious problems like pneumonia, which is a life-threatening infection of the lungs.
How can I tell if my cat has a kennel cough?
Kennel cough can spread from one cat to another through direct contact, through the air, or through contaminated items or surfaces.
Kennel cough is usually mild and self-limiting in most cats, but it can sometimes cause complications.
What are the signs I should look for?
Identifying kennel cough in cats requires a keen eye for subtle changes in behavior and health. While our feline friends can’t verbalize their discomfort, they do exhibit specific signs that can indicate the presence of this respiratory issue.
The most common symptom of kennel cough in cats is a dry, hacking or honking cough. The cough may be worse at night or when your cat is exercising. Other symptoms may include:
- Runny nose
- Wheezing or Difficulty breathing
- Nasal discharge ( clear, yellow, or green)
- Decreased appetite
It is important to note that not all cats with kennel cough will show all of the symptoms. Some cats may only have a mild cough, while others may have more severe symptoms.
Not all coughs are due to respiratory infections. There can be different reasons behind a cat’s cold. Watch here what other 6 possible reasons can cause your cat coughing.
What steps can I take to prevent my cat from getting a kennel cough?
Prevention is your secret weapon in keeping kennel cough at bay for your precious kitty.
While it’s not always possible to eliminate all risks, taking proactive measures can significantly reduce the likelihood of your cat contracting this pesky respiratory ailment.
Cats can easily get kennel cough, especially those that live in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces.
As it can spread by touching, air or unclean objects, your feline companion can catch kennel cough if you are infected or any other pets like dogs are infected by this bacteria.
Therefore, it is important to take some steps to prevent your cat from getting this kitty cold.
- Vaccinate your cat: There is a vaccine available for cats against Bordetella bronchiseptica1. This vaccine can reduce the risk of infection and the severity of symptoms if your cat does get kennel cough.
- Practice good hygiene and sanitation: Keep your cat’s environment clean and free of dust and dander. This can help reduce the risk of respiratory infections. Regularly clean their bedding, toys, and litter boxes to minimize exposure to potential contaminants. Wash your hands thoroughly after handling your cat or any other cats. This will help prevent the spread of germs.
[Talking about hygiene, read this to learn how to get dried poop off cat anus]
- Keep your cat away from other infected cats or dogs: Limiting contact with potentially infected cats is a key preventive step. If you know that another cat or dog has kennel cough, you should avoid exposing your cat to them. This means avoiding places where there are many animals, such as shelters, pet stores, or parks.As this infection can be spread from one to another it’s better to stop your cat from using other cats’ litter boxes, if you have more than one kitty.
- Adequate Ventilation: Adequate ventilation in living spaces can reduce the concentration of airborne pathogens, decreasing the risk of exposure.
- Stress Management to Boost Immunity: Stress weakens the immune system, making cats more susceptible to infections. Minimize stressors like sudden changes in routine or environment.
- Quarantine or Isolation Protocol: If you have more than one cat at home, you should isolate the sick cat from the healthy ones until they recover. Furthermore, disinfect any items or surfaces that may have been exposed to the bacteria, such as toys, bowls, bedding, or furniture.
- Regular Vet Visits for cat’s well-being: Routine veterinary check-ups can catch any potential health issues early on, ensuring prompt treatment and reducing the risk of complications.
Remember, prevention is an ongoing commitment. By adopting these precautions, you’re providing your feline friend with the best chance of enjoying a healthy and cough-free life.
How can I provide comfort to my cat with a kennel cough at home?
When your dear feline friend is facing the discomfort of kennel cough, your care can make a big difference. While it’s important to consult a vet, there are simple things you can do at home to help your cat feel better.
Here are some tips on how to make your cat feel better while they recover from the infection:
- Keep your sick cat hydrated: Your cat may lose fluids due to coughing, sneezing, or fever. Make sure they have access to fresh water at all times. You can also offer them some chicken broth or canned food with water added to increase their fluid intake.
- Feed your cat well: Your cat may have a reduced appetite due to the infection or congestion. Choose high-quality, palatable food that your cat likes and can smell easily. You can also warm up the food slightly to enhance the aroma and stimulate their appetite.
- Use a humidifier or a vaporizer: Your cat may have difficulty breathing due to the inflammation and mucus in their airways. You can use a humidifier or a vaporizer to moisten the air and help them breathe easier. You can also take your cat into the bathroom with you when you shower and let them inhale the steam.
- Give your cat some honey: Honey has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help soothe your cat’s throat and ease their coughing. You can give your cat a teaspoon of honey once or twice a day, either directly or mixed with some water or broth. However, do not give honey to kittens under one year old, as they may be susceptible to botulism.
- Avoid irritants: Your cat may be sensitive to dust, smoke, perfume, or other irritants that can worsen their symptoms. Try to keep your cat in a clean and quiet environment where they can rest comfortably. Avoid using any aerosols, candles, or incense near your cat.
- Give your fur ball a lot of love: Your cat may feel stressed or lonely due to the infection. Spend some time with your cat and give them some attention and affection. You can also provide them with some toys, scratching posts, or hiding places to keep them entertained and relaxed.
- Avoid giving your cat any over-the-counter medications: Do not provide any medicine without first talking to your veterinarian. Some medications can be harmful to cats. So, if the vet gives medication, give it as instructed. Antibiotics or cough meds can help but it should be vet-approved.
By combining your love with these easy steps, you can help your cat recover from kennel cough and get back to their happy and healthy self.
[also read this article “how to help runt kitten gain weight”]
When should I consult a vet for my cat’s kennel cough?
Kennel cough is usually a mild infection that lasts for about a week or two in most cats. However, some cats may have more severe symptoms or develop complications.
That’s why it is crucial to monitor your cat’s condition and seek veterinary help if you notice any serious health condition of your feline.
- Persistent or worsening cough: If your cat’s cough does not improve within a week or two, or if it gets worse or more frequent, it could indicate a more serious problem. Your cat may need antibiotics or other medications to treat the infection and prevent secondary infections.
- Trouble in breathing: If your cat has trouble breathing, makes noisy sounds when they breathe, or breathes with their mouth open, it could mean that their lungs are affected by the infection. Your cat may need oxygen therapy or other treatments to help them breathe easier.
- Blood in the mucus: If your cat coughs up blood or has blood in their nasal discharge, it could mean that their airways are damaged by the infection. Your cat may need anti-inflammatory drugs or other treatments to reduce the bleeding and pain.
- Severe fever: If your cat has a high body temperature and feels warm to the touch, it could mean that their immune system is fighting the infection. Your cat may need antipyretic drugs or other treatments to lower their fever and make them more comfortable.
What should I expect during the vet visit?
During the vet visit, your vet will likely ask you about your cat’s symptoms and medical history, vaccination status. Then they will perform a thorough checkup, assessing your cat’s overall health and respiratory system.
In case of, the vet will check your cat’s vital signs, such as their temperature, pulse, and respiration, their eyes, nose, mouth, ears, and throat for any signs of infection or inflammation, and examine the heart and lung.
Then, they will take a sample of your cat’s saliva or mucus to test for kennel cough to identify the cause of the infection and rule out any other conditions.
Vet also takes some blood tests to check your cat’s blood count, electrolytes, and organ function, x-rays or ultrasound scans to look at your cat’s chest and abdomen for any signs of pneumonia or other complications.
Based on the results of the examination and tests, your vet will prescribe the best treatment for your cat.
Your vet may also recommend other treatments like cough suppressants, antibiotics, fluids and rest, as well as provide some follow-up care and precautions.
In our journey as cat caretakers, we might face challenges like kennel cough. Understanding the signs, how to prevent it, and giving loving care at home can help your cat get better quickly.
Remember, your role as a caring owner is important in ensuring your cat’s health and happiness.
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