COLUMN: Cat flu is common but can be avoided

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The weather’s getting colder - before you know it, winter will be here! And with colder weather comes bugs and reminders to get the flu jab.

Which leads me onto this month’s topic for the RSPCA column - cat flu. So many cats every year suffer from this potentially fatal disease, which could be avoided with one simple vaccination.

Cat flu is an airborne virus and is spread through direct contact between cats.

Large amounts of the virus is present in saliva, tears and nasal secretions. Symptoms include sneezing and runny eyes, loss of appetite, eye and mouth ulcers and respiratory problems, as well as an increased temperature - while other cats can have and spread the virus without any signs at all.

It is incredibly important to have your cat vaccinated against cat flu as well as other infections and to keep their vaccinations up to date.

Cat flu can be incredibly debilitating for cats leaving them very poorly, and in some cases they do not manage to pull through.

Kittens can be vaccinated against cat flu from around nine weeks old and this is part of their first set of kitten jabs at the vets.

Cats with flu have to be isolated from other cats in our rescue centres which also puts more pressure on centres to find space for these poorly cats when they are already bursting with cats and kittens.

Sadly cat flu is all too common and there is no cure.

Thankfully, after infected cats have fully recovered, they should not pose a threat to other cats.

But the best thing is to not even let your cat get to that stage - so when you book yourself an appointment for your flu jab, book your cat in at the vets for theirs.

More information on keeping your cat healthy can be found on our website by visiting www.rspca.org.uk/adviceandwelfare/pets/cats/health.

To help the RSPCA continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care please visit www.rspca.org.uk/give.