Have I Given My Cat The Flu?

My cat and I have both got the flu, a mild version of it. My cat’s symptoms are exactly the same as my symptoms. As I said, they are mild and you can’t really call them flu symptoms, but flu symptoms vary a great deal in their severity. Have I given flu to my cat or vice-versa?

Have I given my cat the flu

Swine flu virus

The conventional viewpoint is that it is impossible for a person to give their cat the flu and vice-versa. The viruses that cause colds and flu in the domestic cat are different to those that cause colds and flu in people. They are species-specific. There are no zoonotic cold/flu viruses.

However, the conventional view seems to be under review. There appears to be a bit of a rethink going on amongst the experts. This is because of the H1N1 virus. There are different strains of the H1N1 virus.

Some strains of this virus are regularly found in people in certain areas and it does cause a small fraction of all flu-like illnesses and a small fraction of all seasonal flus.

Some strains of this virus affect pigs. This is called swine flu. And then we have avian flu which affects birds. You may remember the scare across the world including in America in the summer of 2009 with respect to swine flu and how people were catching it.

And there was a case, I recall, of a cat catching swine flu from a person. That undermined the conventional viewpoint that it was impossible for people to give their cats a cold.

Now referring to me, I have had a low level cold for about 6 weeks. You wouldn’t call it influenza (flu) you would call it a low level cold but perhaps this is a very low level flu virus and perhaps I have given it to my cat because, as mentioned, we have exactly the same symptoms. It is a mirror image and the timing is exactly the same. This got me seriously thinking. This may be crazy thinking. It is quite likely to be unheard of or, to put it another way, there may be no record of a person in the UK giving their cat the flu but that does not mean it has never happened because nobody is keeping records.

I have one last interesting point to make. Before the winter commenced I had what is called a flu jab in the UK. Anyone can go into a pharmacy such as Boots and get a flu jab for about £12, which helps prevent people getting the flu during winter. The person administering it screwed up in my opinion but that’s another story. However, he did mention that the batch of vaccinations that he was administering contained a vaccine for swine flu. I wonder whether that vaccination has given me swine flu?

Anybody making a comment to this short post is going to say: go and see a doctor and a veterinarian. I’m going to book an appointment with the vet for them to check out Charlie, my cat and take it from there.

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Have I Given My Cat The Flu? — 21 Comments

  1. Michael I am not sure going for a vaccination was a very good idea. You probably did get infected. Souds like it. I got smallpox as a child and had to be put i a bath with ice cubes to stay alive. The doctor screwed it up basically – left the needle out too i thik – not sure what happened but I got dangerously ill.

    I’d stay away from those ‘additional’ vaccinations if I were you.

    Its probably not possible to kow the answer to your question about Charlie.

    • Another problem that I had after the injection was that my left arm hurt and it has not really stopped hurting since. It’s not bad but it has not be right for about 5 months. I agree that I won’t have the flu jab next Christmas because this last experience was a bad one. Disappointing. In Britain the flu jab is quite common but I was always skeptical about it but did it nonetheless. This experience has put me off.

  2. Well I’ve never heard of a person giving a cat the flu or vice versa but who knows for sure? I stay well away from flu vaccinations, would rather take my chance than have that injected into me, besides it has animal based ingredients so I wouldn’t have it even if it was 100% safe.
    I can’t help wondering Michael if there is something in your home that you and Charlie are both allergic to, did you bring something new 6 weeks ago? did you paint somewhere? buy some new furniture? a new plant? something new in the bedroom?
    Anyway I hope you both get well soon.

  3. On 3 separate occasions I suspected that I was the source of an outbreak of mild flu-like symptoms in my cats. They occurred after i had either been in contact with someone sneezing or otherwise ill. These were indoors cats without the opportunity to pick anything up from outside cats or other sources except perhaps insects, which would be a wild stretch of imagination. In all 3 cases the cat’s symptoms were sniffling as if the sinuses were partially blocked, and sneezing. They didn’t lose their appetites or show any other signs of malaise. If these were cases of zoonotic infections, for the moment the viruses involved do not appear to be very serious.

    • What you describe is exactly what I describe: mild flu symptoms in both me and my cat. I wonder if something if something is going on that has not been picked up yet. Viruses mutate don’t they? There could be more going on that the so called experts don’t know about.

  4. It’s doubtful that you gave Charlie the flu, but, like Ruth wrote, who knows for sure.
    I stay clear of flu shots. I don’t like anything foreign injected into my body that can’t be taken back unless it’s a life or death situation.
    It doesn’t matter to me that the virus that’s injected is dead. Virus strains are forever changing, so I don’t think anyone can predict to a high percentage how effective a shot can be.
    I think that I would try to figure out if there is some sort of household irritant affecting the two of you, ie. new cleaning products, newly acquired items such as an old book or piece of furniture, new bed linens, new fragrances, etc.

    • P.S. Once a feral has reaches early adulthood, it’s nearly impossible to fully domesticate to the point of fulltime inside. The indoor cats that I have that began as ferals, were snatched at young ages. The ferals that are now indoor/outdoor here evolved to that semi-feral level very slowly and with a lot of trust work. A few of them will go away for a couple of days, and I’ll see them visiting in their old colonies on my rounds. That’s the life they want and are thriving.

      • Was this meant for me on the other page? I think so. I have found Marvin at the school office where he used to live. I think his area just got bigger. I’m very happy he has not gone away for days. That was Yellow cats habit. At least twice a year, I was sure she was gone forever. She always came back. I love these animals.

    • Thanks Dee. I am the same about vaccinations but on this occasion I gave in to the general trend. Now I regret it. I have this feeling that Charlie and I have the same health problem but it might not be a virus as you suggest.

      • Me too. My husband harasses me annually to get a flue shot, but it never do. Then I might get a little cold and he says “see, I told you!” Well, I don’t think so. He is in his seventies, so maybe it is more important but I don’t see it for me. There is something about the line of people at the pharmacy waiting for their shot that creeps me out.

        Get well Michael and Charlie!

        • Thanks DW. On this occasion the person administering the vaccination told me that the swine flu vaccine had been added to the ordinary flu vaccine. That should of been a red flag to me and it was slightly but I let him carry on. I have a feeling that the government had tons of swine flu vaccine left over from the swine flu scare and added it to the standard flu vaccine. I would like to know how many other people had a problem with this vaccine. I might do some research on that. In general I tend not to put anything medicinal into my body and that I really really have to.

  5. Hi Dee. I’ve run through all the possibilities you mentioned but they just don’t fit. In any case if a new item were the cause then they would be chronically affected. It just ran it’s course in the usual way. In every case the problems can only be traced to contact with a human carrier. In one case I had flu-like symptoms, and in 2 other cases I had been near people who were not well but I wasn’t affected, only the cats got sick a few days later. The new things introduced into their environment were the viruses probably carried on my hands, clothing, or shoes, or from myself. Viruses are capable of very sophisticated tricks and manoeuvres. Infecting 2 different species would be child’s play for them, and several diseases are already identified as zoonotic. AIDS and Ebola are suspected to have jumped from monkeys to humans, and we all know about rabies.

    • Great comment, Harvey.
      Some people call me crazy, because I am really cautious about exposures to my cats.
      I wear different cheap and washable shoes for different occasions. When I go to Petsmart and have close contact with the adoptable cats or other animals (some are on the floor at times), I shed my shoes and wash up in the hose outside before going into the house. The same is true for my colonies. I do the best I can not to spread or carry anything if I can help it. I keep changes of clothes in the trunk of my car.
      But, like you said, viruses are very sneaky and opportunistic. They love to catch a ride if they can; I just do what I can to kick them off my train.

    • I agree. I have a feeling that the medical profession is behind the curve on what is going on in terms of mutated viruses. I think we have to dispense with the conventional view that viruses are species-specific. There may be many unrecorded cases of zoonotic viruses causing mild flu-like symptoms in both person and cat.

  6. I suspect that zoonotic viruses between humans and pets are much more common than realized. With so many competing possibilities It can be difficult to track down the source, especially when we have fixed conventional ideas. But eventually someone like me will have the opportunity to make the more likely connection. We can’t reasonably expect the veterinary or medical professions to change their views any time soon. Look how long it took them to find out that the real cause of stomach ulcers was a bacteria. I am sure that a bacteria is the cause of the inflammation of the blood vessels that causes heart disease and arterioscleroses. I have heard so many stories of people who have never had a days sickness in their lives and consequently never taken an antibiotic, suddenly keel over and die from a heart attack at quite a young age. Despite all the dietary advice from the experts there is no reduction in the incidence of heart disease. Once again they seem to have got it very badly wrong. Can we say the same for their case against zoonotic transmission of flu between humans and pets? For me the answer is yes.

    • I agree. This is why I wasn’t bothered about mentioning the possibility of flu being transmitted between people and cats. No one is keeping their eye on the ball. Things change.

  7. i cant really qualify to comment as never been though a situition like this. Although i do yearly have a flu vaccination but hard to say if it works anymore than taking vitamins and eating well. As its coming up to winter here i guess ill have to think of something. 🙁

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