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Can Cats Get the Flu?

Hey, it’s CAT Stanley here. Now listen up. I have some important stuff to tell you.

With flu season right around the corner (or is it here already?), you may be wondering whether your cat can get the flu too? Well, it turns out that we can get the flu. And we can get it from you, our owners.

It’s been established that cats can get the H1N1 influenza virus. While we don’t know how often this actually occurs, we do know it can happen.

What symptoms might a cat with the flu have? Here are some of the symptoms to look for:

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • runny nose
  • fever
  • lack of appetite
  • lethargy

In some cases, serious complications such as pneumonia have occurred. There have been some cats that died from the infection.

Still, there’s no need to panic. These serious cases are rare. In fact, only a handful of cats that we know of have developed such serious disease that their lives were threatened.

Can you get the flu from us? We’re not really sure of the answer to that question. We don’t believe it’s a big problem, though.

What can you do to protect us from getting the flu from you? Keep us away from any person that has flu-like symptoms, if at all possible. Wash your hands thoroughly and often. Make sure the rest of the family, even the kids, do too. Cover your mouth when you cough. Sound familiar? Yeah, it’s pretty much like preventing the spread of the flu to other people.

What about vaccination, you ask? Currently, there is no vaccine against the flu for cats.

What should you do if you think your cat has the flu? See your veterinarian. Your veterinarian can help you figure out if your cat does indeed have the flu and can determine what treatment, if any, is needed.

These researchers at Oregon State University and Iowa State University are trying to find out more about influenza in dogs and cats. Learn more by reading Can You Really Give Your Dog or Cat the Flu?.

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