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How to spot if your cat has cat flu

Cat flu is usually caused by one of two types of virus – Calici and Herpes Virus - or sometimes by certain types of bacteria. An infected cat will spread the virus through nasal and eye discharges and in their saliva.

What are the signs of cat flu?

  • Runny nose and eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Aches and pains in the muscles and joints
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Dribbling
  • Sneezing
  • Loss of voice and a cough
  • Fever

How is cat flu treated?

Unfortunately there’s not currently an effective anti-viral drug for cat flu, though antibiotics can help treat bacterial infections. Clean discharges regularly from your cat’s nose and eyes, and tempt them to eat with strong smelling, tasty foods.

If the symptoms persist, further tests may be required to identify the underlying cause. It’s a good idea to discuss costs with your vet before you start tests.

How do I protect my cat from cat flu?

There is a vaccination for cat flu – your vet can advise you on this. Unfortunately, just as with human flu there are lots of different strains of virus, so the vaccine isn’t effective against them all. Two doses of vaccine are needed initially, followed by regular boosters.

Some cats have recurrent episodes of the flu, particularly during stressful times such as rehoming or going to a cattery.

If you’re thinking of adopting a cat with cat flu

Make sure you review the clinical history of your new cat and ask for more details on how the cat flu was treated.

You’ll need to sign a disclaimer to confirm you’ve been made aware of the condition.

Any cat who’s had treatment is likely to have pet insurance exclusions, so it’s worth discussing potential on-going costs with your vet.

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