Can Cats Catch Kennel Cough

CatKennel cough also known as bordetella, is contagious to cats.  This means that yes  cats can both transmit, and catch kennel cough.

Some cat owners may have heard of something called kennel cough, or bordetella.  This highly contagious bacterial desease can be caught by cats, as well as dogs.  Although cats do not suffer as greatly from kennel cough, it can still cause severe respiratory issues.  Young cats are especially susceptible to it, since kittens have a much weaker immune system than fully grown cats.  Old cats, who also may suffer from a weak immune system can also catch kennel cough.  If left untreated, it can be fatal.

What Causes Kennel Cough?kennel

Bordetella is caused by tiny air born bacteria that are inhaled by animals such as dogs, and cats.  The bacteria latches onto the upper respiratory tract.  Although cats can catch kennel cough, they are far less likely to than dogs.  Many cats will fight off the bacteria, and be ok, showing mild, if any signs.  The majority of cases are found in elderly cats and kittens.

What Symptoms Does kennel Cough Have?

Cats generally start to have a fever when they contract bordetella.  They will often begin sneezing, and will have nasal and ocular cat facedischarge.  Many cats will stop eating, losing their appetites.  You may also notice that your cats lymph nodes are becoming enlarged, or swollen.  In kittens the need for emergency help is high, since the bacteria will greatly weaken the immune system.  This can lead to other bacteria taking hold, and the kitten dying.  There have been cases where kittens die within 12 hours of contracting kennel cough.

Can cats get kennel cough from dogs?

The simple answer is yes.  Dogs and cats can both get kennel cough from each other.  If there is one animal infected, it should be moved away from all other animals.  Since the bacteria is airborne, it can be transmitted very easily, so you need to be careful with any surfaces the infected animals had contact with.

Can Bordetella Be Vaccinated Against?

There are vaccinations that can be given to cats, however they are generally only given to cats who will be in constant exposure to other cats and dogs.  It is generally unnecessary to give to any cats that will be living in a home environment.   With that in mind, if your cat is an outdoor cat, it can catch kennel cough from drinking from a puddle that an infected animal drank from, or even from close proximity to file000117147861[1]an infected animal.

Preventing Kennel Cough In Cats

Since kennel cough is highly contagious, the only real way of preventing your cat from catching it is to make sure it does not have any contact with an animal that has kennel cough.  If your cat is with other cats often, then you should consider vaccinating it.  If your cat is an indoor cat, make sure that you separate any new animals for a short period when they come in to make sure they do not have it.  Many cats will have a strong enough immune system as healthy adults, so you should take extra care if your cat is a kitten, or elderly.

What if my cat has kennel cough?

file000287330217[1]If your cat has kennel cough, you should bring it to a vet asap.  Make sure you tell the vet beforehand that you are bringing in an animal that may have kennel cough!  It is highly contagious, and you do not want any other animals at the vet to catch it.  They may ask you to use a rear door, or call them when you are close so they can prepare the waiting room.



The video below is of a cat coughing.

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