1. Home
Send to a Friend via Email

Discuss in my forum

Can my cat catch my cold?


Question: Can my cat catch my cold?
I have a 9 month old cat So far she seems pretty healthy and up to date on her vaccinations. But my question is (and I haven't seen it addressed anywhere), right now I'm sick with a cold As other humans can, are cats able to catch colds/the flu from humans too? I wouldn't want this to cause any problems for her. If you could answer this I'd appreciate it. Thanks!
Answer: That's a very good question.Zoonotic diseases by their definition are animal diseases that can be transmitted to humans. I don't know of any disease that can readily be transferred from humans to animals, although I've had suspicions about a couple of them. Speaking of cats specifically, the most common zoonotic diseases are rabies, toxoplasmosis, ringworm, and bartonello henslae.
  • Rabies is a virus transferred primarily through bites. Janet Tobiassen Crosby, About.com Guide to Veterinary Medicine, shares more information about rabies and how it is spread.
  • Toxoplasmosis is caused by a microscopic parasite, toxoplasma gondii. Although it can affect all animals, cats are its prominent host. While it is a relatively mild disease in humans, to the degree that most people never realize they have contracted it, it can cause problems with developing human foetuses. It is shed in oocytes in feces, and for that reason, pregnant women are cautioned to let someone else handle litter box chores for the duration. It should be noted however, that there is more danger of contracting toxoplasmosis by eating undercooked meat, or working in the garden, where one might come in contact with animal feces. More on humans and toxoplasmosis.
  • Bartonella henslae (Cat Scratch Fever) is bacterial. Like toxoplasmosis, most cats that have been infected with it have shown no symptoms. It can be transmitted to humans by scratching and biting. Learn more.
  • Ringworm in caused by one of many fungi found throughout the world, however the most common one in cats is microsporim canis, oddly enough. Ringworms usually present in circular skin lesions with fur missing, although in extreme cases they can spread into irregular shapes. It may or may not be itchy, and is extremely difficult to eradicate. Ringworm is highly contagious, and great care must be used to wear rubber gloves when handling or treating a cat with ringworm.
  • Chlamydia is a bacterium and causes upper respiratory symptoms, including sneezing, runny ,and discharge from the eyes. In humans, it is commonly called "pinkeye." Care should be taken by thoroughly washing hands after treating a cat with chyamydia, as it is transmittable to humans. It is one of several common upper respiratory infections.
Although there is absolutely no scientific proof, I've wondered if humans can transmit the latter two diseases to cats, since they are the only ones which can be transmitted by touch alone.

As for your cold, in my opinion, you have no need to worry about your cat catching it. Nor are cats susceptible to human flu. Cats can be great nurses, so if it comforts you to cuddle with her while you are recovering from your cold, by all means, do so!

  1. About.com
  2. Home
  3. Cats
  4. Health Concerns
  5. Health FAQs
  6. Can my cat catch my cold - Cat Health FAQ

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.