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?
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.