Can You Get Your Cat Sick if You Have a Cold?


cat sickYou have post-nasal drip, a hacking cough, and your tissue pile is covering the floor at your feet. Frankly all you want is a cuddle from your cat. She feels your pain and comes over to help you through it. You both share a hug and you accidentally sneeze right near her. Then you ask yourself, “Did I just give my cat my cold?”

The possibility is always present, but the likelihood that it was, in fact, passed on, is extremely low. In fact, there are only 13 studied cases where an animal has gotten a cold from a person. According to the Pussington Post and Best Health Magazine, cats get colds from people but cats transmit diseases from cat to cat – not from cats to people.

Can You Really Get Your Cat Sick?

Looking at the Pussington Post’s claim that people can give their cold to a cat, due to 13 studied cases brings up a few questions: Is it possible that in the 13 studied cases that it was just coincidental that the cat was sneezing when their owner was sneezing? Is it possible that winter was just upon everyone and everyone had a cold due to the weather change? And the answer to that is: perhaps.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney of  California Pet Acupuncture and Wellness (CPAW), Inc. says, “Yes. Cats can pick up viruses like influenza from humans.  In the 2011 outbreak of “Swine flu”, or Porcine Influenza A Virus Subtype H1N1, cats were sickened and died as a result of being infected by their human owners. It’s best to avoid close contact with your cat when you are ill and always practice good sanitation by frequently washing your hands and sneezing into your elbow instead of the air.”

Reducing the Risk

No need to be overrun by worry, people get sick from all members of the family and you just learn to coexist with each other while the disease runs its course. There is no need to put yourself in a bubble until it passes. So what can you do to help the situation? Sanitize. Hygiene is crucial and can prevent the passing of sickness down the road. Blow your nose, wash your face, wash your hands, and take regular showers. Doing this will lessen the risk of passing the virus onto your kitty and will leave the both of you feeling purrfectly content to spend time together.

The fact is you can get your cat sick by giving him a cold, but the risk is low. It’s important to understand that although it might happen it does not mean that it definitely will happen. The important thing is to be good about sanitizing when you are feeling ill because just like humans can transfer illnesses to other humans, humans can also transfer illnesses to their pets.

Photo Credit: Can Stock Photo Inc.  Nneirda

Nicky LaMarco has been a freelance writer since 2001. Nicky is an experienced ghostwriter and copywriter. She also writes for a variety of magazines. Nicky lives in Maine with her husband, two daughters, and two cats. Learn more about her at