Cat Flu: What YOU can do to help your cat naturally!

Cat Flu Symptoms, Information, Treatment

 

What is cat flu?

Is your cat sneezing and feeling out of sorts? Does he havea runny nose, weepy eyes and a fever? If your cat is displaying some of these symptoms, then he is most likely suffering from cat flu.

Cat flu is the common name for a feline upper respiratory tract disease and is very similar to the human common cold or ‘lu. An upper respiratory disease, or cat flu can be caused by several different pathogens, but they often share the same symptoms such as sneezing, weepy eyes and a runny nose. There may also be diarrhea and even ulcers that form in the mouth and throat.

Some of the pathogens that can cause cat ‘flu  include:

  1. The Feline Herpes Virus (a feline viral rhinotracheitis that causes symptoms similar to the common cold and also eye ulcers)
  2. Feline Calicivirus—a feline respiratory disease that also caises mouth ulcers
  3. Bordetella Bronchiseptica—a respiratory infection which is also accompanied by coughing and is often transmitted by cats visiting a cattery
  4. Chlamydophila felis—(chlamydia)

Cat flu is very similar to the human cold or flu. Like humans, cats with flu will experience a lack of appetite, muscle aches and pain or loss of voice.

The different pathogens causing cat flu also have lots of different strains and vaccination may be difficult because the vaccine does always cover all the strains that will protect against them.

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What signs to look out for?

The symptoms of cat flu include:

  • Sneezing
  • Runny or blocked nose
  • Red swollen or weepy eyes or conjunctivitis (common in Feline Herpes virus)
  • Mouth ulcers (common in Feline Calicivirus)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Drooling
  • Fever
  • Lethargy or lacklustre behavior
  • Muscle aches and joint pain

How is cat flu  spread? 

The viruses are spread from cat to cat contact via sneezing and with contact from the discharge from the nose and eyes. These viruses can live outside of the cat’s body in the environment for a short period – the Herpes virus can survive for approximately 24 hours but the Calicivirus can survive even longer, depending on the strain of the virus, in some cases for up to 7 to 10 days. As a result, the infection can be transmitted via food bowls, bedding, cages, grooming brushes, toys or whatever else your cat comes into contact with.

It is important that the spread of the virus is contained. For this reason, infected cats need to be kept isolated from other cats to prevent further spread of the disease. While cat flu cannot be spread to humans, you can help spread the virus from one cat to another via your hands or clothing. 

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What you can do to prevent cat flu

Although there is some debate about the long term effects of vaccination on your cat’s health, most vets recommend vaccination as a means of protecting your cat from infection. Cats are usually vaccinated as kittens – two doses of vaccine are required initially which should then be followed by regular boosters. Because there are many different strains of the virus (as with human flu), the vaccine is not always effective against all of them and it is possible for a vaccinated cat to develop cat flu. The symptoms are however usually milder and easier to manage and treat. If you are going on holiday and planning to board your cat, make sure that your cat is protected  – very often cat flu is passed on at boarding catteries. 

There are homeopathic versions of the conventional cat ‘flu vaccinations which can be used in addition to conventional vaccination or even instead of conventional treatment, especially under the care of a homeopathic vet. Feelgood Pets FeliSafe, contains a homeopathic preparation of the cat ‘flu vaccinations, as well as ingredients chosen to treat the symptoms should your cat be actively infected. It can be used preventatively to protect your cat – as well as for an active infection.

Very importantly, a strong healthy immune is the best defense you can give your cat. Boost your cat’s immune system by feeding a healthy diet. An all-natural diet is always better – so, try Vondi’s Cooked Food for Cats (available from the Feelgood Health shop in Westlake Lifestyle Centre, Westlake Business Park, Cape Town). Give your cat fresh water and make sure that food and water bowls are washed and kept clean.

It may not always be possible to keep your cat away from stray cats but try and limit contact if you can as they may be carriers of cat flu.   

How to treat cat flu

If your cat is showing signs of cat flu, it is important that you consult your vet as soon as possible. Try not to wait too long because if cat flu is left untreated, symptoms tend to worsen quickly and take much longer to recover.

While there is not really any specific conventional medication to treat cat flu, antibiotics are usually prescribed and treatment is aimed at relieving the symptoms. Fluids may be given if the cat is dehydrated and appetite stimulants are recommended if the cat is reluctant to eat.

Homeopathic treatment of cat ‘flu can be very effective. Use Feelgood Pets FeliSafe, which contains a blend of the vaccines of 4 of the most common feline viral infections in homeopathic potency – FHV-1, FCV, FPV and Chlamydia psi as well as other homeopathic ingredients for homeopathic relief. This remedy helps to address acute symptoms of infection and provides support to the immune system. It is completely safe for all cats, including kittens and pregnant queens.

In addition, it is important to boost the immune system in order to speed recovery. Strengthen your cat’s immune system with Feelgood Pets Immunity & Liver Support, a herbal remedy which is an all-round tonic to improve health and functioning. You can also add Vondi’s Multi-Vitamin Food Supplement to your cat’s food daily to further boost the immune system.

Remember, it is important that you don’t handle the infected cat often and always wash your hands thoroughly. Clean your home environment with bleach and water mixed at a ratio of 1:32 – this is a very effective way of destroying the virus on washable items. If you have more than one cat in your household, keep the infected cat separate from the other cats and watch out for any symptoms that may arise so that they can be treated as early as possible. 

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Prevention is better than cure!

As we have seen, even the healthiest of cats, as well as those who have been vaccinated against cat ‘flu, can become infected! For this reason, we always recommend that you keep a bottle of FeliSafe handy. Taken at the very first signs of sneezing or sniffing, FeliSafe can stop an infection in its tracks. In addition, a dose of FeliSafe given before a visit to the vet, or a stay at the catteries can help to protect your cat from infection. Pregnant queens can also be dosed with FeliSafe which will protect them – and also offer some protection to their new born kittens.

Do you have any questions regarding holistic pet health? Please ASK US – we love to help!

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Comments

  • Feelgood Health Team - December 03, 2018

    Hi Suzanne

    Thank you for your question – it’s lovely to hear from you!

    FeliSafe comes in convenient dissolvable granule form. The tiny granules are easy to administer to cats of all sizes and personalities and are simply sprinkled on the back of the tongue and left to dissolve. Alternatively, you can mix the dose in some wet food. Depending whether you are treating an acute condition or for prevention, the dosage will be different – please view https://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/products/felisafe-homeopathic-remedy-vomiting-diarrhea-cats-panleucopenia for clearer directions.

    To view a list of our stockists in Johannesburg, please follow this link: https://www.feelgoodhealth.co.za/pages/stockists. Please also note that most people prefer to order directly through Feelgood Health as our stockists usually don’t stock all of our products. We advise you contact the stockists beforehand to find out if they have the Feelgood Health product that you’re looking for.

    If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact us :)

    Warmest regards
    Feelgood Health Team

  • Suzanne - December 03, 2018

    Hi,
    How do you administer Felisafe to my cats?
    Where in Jhb can I buy it?

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