Each year in the United States, there are millions of cases of the common cold in people, and many people got hospitalized or even killed during the flu season. According to CDC, 8,200 people have died during the 2019-2020 flu season so far.  You’ll do anything to keep your family healthy and safe, including your furry friends. So you may wonder, will my kitten catch cold or flu? Will I pass my flu to my puppy? What are the symptoms?


Can Cats Catch a Cold/Flu?

Cats are capable of catching the flu, as well as upper respiratory infection caused by one of two viruses: feline herpesvirus or feline calicivirus. Cats of all ages are susceptible, but young and old kitties are particularly vulnerable because their immune systems are not as strong as cats in their prime.

Dog Cold Symptoms

Some common symptoms of the infections that cause “cat colds” include:

  • Excessive sneezing
  • Excessive coughing
  • Discharge from nose or eyes
  • Painful ulcers on the eyes, nose, or in the mouth
  • Fever
  • Loss of appetite
  • Dehydration
  • Congestion with open-mouth breathing

Can Cats Catch Human Colds?

Several feline viruses (e.g., feline herpesvirus and feline calicivirus), and even a few bacteria, do cause clinical signs that look a lot like those that people with colds develop.

But the viruses that cause colds in people are generally species-specific except under the rarest of circumstances. The viruses that make people sick with a cold are incapable of causing illness in cats.

So if you’re wondering if cats can catch colds from people, the answer is almost always “no.”

How to Care for a Cat With a Cold?

Once your cat returns home, continue any medication or other therapies as directed by your veterinarian. Here are a few other things you can do to help your cat start to feel better:

  • Keep their eyes and nose free of discharge using a soft cloth or paper towel moistened with warm water. Using a vaporizer that produces warm moist air (or placing the cat in a steamy bathroom) will help the nasal passages and sinuses to drain, which can help alleviate some discomfort.
  • Make certain that your cat is eating. Cats who go without food for even a short period of time are at risk for developing hepatic lipidosis, a condition involving the liver that is potentially fatal. Offer warmed canned cat food or meat-based baby food to encourage your cat to eat.
  • Provide plenty of fresh water for drinking.
  • Do not give your cat any medication without consulting your vet, as many human medications are toxic to cats.
  • If your cat is not interested in food or has especially severe or worsening symptoms, take them back to the veterinarian. Cats who are infected with feline herpesvirus or calicivirus may have occasional recurrences of their symptoms.


Can Dogs Catch a Cold?

The short answer is yes, dogs do catch colds, and they are very similar to our colds in terms of the symptoms they experience.

Dog Cold Symptoms

Many viruses—and even a few bacterial species—that infect dogs (e.g., canine respiratory coronavirus, canine adenovirus type 2, canine parainfluenza virus and Bordetella bronchiseptica) cause clinical signs in dogs that are almost indistinguishable from those seen in people who are suffering from colds:

  • Runny nose
  • Congestion
  • Watery eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Headaches
  • Body aches
  • Feeling “off”

The main difference between our colds and theirs is that different infectious agents are generally involved when a dog gets sick.

Can Dogs Catch Human Colds?

The CDC states that for people, many different respiratory viruses can result in the common cold. But lucky for your dog, the viruses that cause colds in people are generally species-specific.

That means that these viruses are virtually incapable of causing illness in dogs, except, perhaps, under the rarest of circumstances (for example with large doses of certain types of parainfluenza).

So the answer to whether or not dogs can catch colds from humans is almost always “no.”

How to Care for a Cat With a Cold?

If your dog is showing signs of having a cold, we need to assess just how bad they feel.

  • If your dog is still eating and drinking and stays relatively active, it’s reasonable to try to ease their symptoms by using home remedies.
  • Encourage your dog to rest, drink, and eat so his immune system has the resources to fight off the infection. If necessary, wipe your dog’s eyes and nose with a warm, damp cloth to keep him comfortable.
  • To help ease your dog’s congestion, use a humidifier or keep your dog in the bathroom while you run a hot shower.
  • Do not give your dog over-the-counter cold remedies for humans without first consulting your veterinarian—they are dangerous when given to dogs.
  • Get enough rest. The dog in any case is not going to be too active when suffering from cold, but still make sure that it gets sufficient rest. Make sure to keep its resting place clean of any dust and make it comfortable with a blanket.