Can Cats Get Colds from Humans? The Surprising Truth Revealed!

Cats can contract colds from humans due to the transmission of certain respiratory viruses. Cats can catch colds from humans because some respiratory viruses can be transmitted between the two species.

Colds, also known as upper respiratory infections, are caused by viruses like the rhinovirus or coronavirus. While these viruses typically affect humans, they can also be passed on to cats through close contact. This can happen when an infected person sneezes or coughs near a cat, or when a cat comes into contact with objects or surfaces contaminated with virus particles.

Once a cat catches a cold from a human, they may experience symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, and coughing. It’s important for cat owners to take precautions to prevent the spread of cold viruses to their pets and ensure their cats receive proper care if they do become sick.

The Human-cat Cold Connection

Cats are known to be susceptible to upper respiratory infections, commonly referred to as “cat colds.” While it is rare for cats to catch colds from humans, it is not entirely impossible. There are a few factors that contribute to the transmission of cold viruses between humans and cats.

How common is it for cats to catch colds from humans?

The transmission of cold viruses from humans to cats is relatively uncommon. Cats are more likely to contract cold viruses from other cats or from fomites, such as contaminated objects or surfaces. However, in rare cases, if a person with an active cold virus interacts closely with a cat, there is a small chance of transmission.

Factors that contribute to the transmission of cold viruses between humans and cats:

Factor Description
Close contact Direct physical contact, such as sneezing or coughing near the cat, increases the risk of transmission.
Weak immune system Cats with weakened immune systems are more prone to infections, including cold viruses.
Shared living space If a cat lives in close quarters with a person who has a cold, the chances of transmission may be slightly higher.
Environmental contamination Cold viruses can survive on surfaces for a period, and if a cat comes into contact with these contaminated surfaces, there is a minimal risk of transmission.

While it is essential to maintain good hygiene practices when interacting with cats, the risk of cats catching colds from humans is generally low as they have a different set of cold viruses that typically infect them.

Understanding Cat Colds

Cat colds, also known as feline upper respiratory infections (URIs), are common viruses that affect the respiratory system of cats. Just like humans, cats can experience symptoms similar to those of a cold, including sneezing, runny nose, and watery eyes. These symptoms can be caused by various viruses, such as feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus.

Symptoms Of A Cold In Cats

When a cat catches a cold, they may start sneezing excessively and have a discharge from their nose or eyes. Other symptoms may include coughing, loss of appetite, lethargy, and fever. It is important to note that cats with weakened immune systems, such as kittens or older cats, may experience more severe symptoms.

How Colds Are Transmitted Among Cats

Feline URIs can be transmitted directly from one cat to another through airborne particles or through contact with contaminated objects, such as food bowls or bedding. Cats in close quarters, such as shelters or multi-cat households, are more susceptible to contracting and spreading the viruses.

Can Cats Spread Colds To Humans?

Fortunately, most cat cold viruses are species-specific and are not transmissible to humans. However, there are a few exceptions, such as the rare H1N1 influenza virus, which can be transmitted from humans to cats. It is always a good idea to practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands before and after handling cats, to prevent the spread of any potential infections.

The Viruses Behind It All

When humans have colds, it is natural to wonder if our feline companions can catch them too. The answer is, yes, cats can get colds from humans, although the viruses that cause colds in humans and cats are different. In humans, common colds are usually caused by rhinoviruses, while in cats, they are typically caused by feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus. These viruses can be transmitted between humans and cats through respiratory secretions.

Although the viruses are different, there are some similarities and differences between human and feline cold viruses. Both humans and cats can experience symptoms such as sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. However, cats may also exhibit additional symptoms like eye discharge, coughing, and mouth ulcers.

It is important to note that while cats can catch colds from humans, they cannot catch colds from each other. Cats can only catch colds from humans or other animals if they are infected with the specific virus.

Protecting Your Cat And Yourself

Cats can catch colds from humans, so it is crucial to protect both your furry friend and yourself. Keep your cat’s living space clean and avoid close contact when you are sick to prevent transmission of the common cold.

  1. Wash your hands regularly:
    – Use soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
    – Ensure your cat’s bedding and litter box are clean.
  2. Avoid close contact:
    – Limit your interaction with your cat if you have a cold.
    – Avoid kissing or sharing food with your feline friend.
  3. Practice good hygiene:
    – Cover your mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing.
    – Dispose of used tissues properly.
    – Wash your hands immediately after.
  4. Keep your cat’s environment clean:
    – Regularly clean surfaces and objects that your cat comes into contact with.
    – Use pet-safe disinfectants.
  5. Monitor your cat’s health:
    – Observe any changes in behavior, appetite, or breathing.
    – Consult a veterinarian if your cat shows signs of a cold.
  6. If your cat catches a cold from you:
    – Isolate your cat from other pets to prevent spreading the virus.
    – Provide a warm and comfortable space for your cat to rest.
    – Ensure your cat stays hydrated and offer tempting food options.
    – Follow your veterinarian’s advice for any prescribed medication.


It’s important to understand that while cats cannot catch colds from humans, they can be susceptible to certain respiratory infections. It’s crucial to practice good hygiene around your feline companions, especially if you are sick. Regular veterinary check-ups and vaccinations can help keep your cat healthy and protect them from infectious diseases.

Remember, a healthy cat is a happy cat!

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