Can domestic cats get avian flu?

Yes, domestic cats can get avian flu. However, very few cats contract the disease and the cats in a study who contracted the disease showed no clinical signs of influenza. Also, in this study there was no evidence of transmission from cat to cat of avian flu a.k.a. avian influenza H5N1.

Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles: Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

H5N1. Image: Wikipedia.

A study was conducted at the time that avian flu was a big issue. H5N1 was first discovered in domestic and wild cats in Asia. Tigers and leopards contracted it at a Thai zoo in 2003. In 2004 at the same zoo it is said that 147 tigers had died or were euthanised after contracting H5N1 (I find that odd because this is a very large number of tigers). At an outbreak in Germany in 2006 it was said that three stray cats were found to be dying or dead according to a report published in the journal Veterinary Microbiology but it is unclear, to me, from the reports that they were dying of avian flu.

However, the study I have referred to which is called Subclinical Infection with Avian Influenza A H5N1 Virus in Cats paints a picture of domestic cats rarely getting the disease even when in close contact with birds and showing no signs when they get it. In this study 194 shelter cats had access to an outdoor area near a poultry area separated by a wire fence. Some cats entered the poultry area.

In the poultry area there was a dying swan which had contracted H5N1. The disease had also infected 13 of 38 other birds in the enclosure. So the cats were exposed to the disease. Forty of the cats were randomly sampled for H5N1 and three were found to have contracted it. They were transferred to a quarantine area and monitored.

Useful links
Anxiety - reduce it
FULL Maine Coon guide - lots of pages
Children and cats - important

Despite the fact that they were in unfamiliar surroundings and therefore stressed and there was a possibility of contracting other diseases and the fact that it is said they had compromised immune systems, perhaps because they were stray cats with other diseases, “none of the cats developed clinical signs of influenza”.

The mode of transmission from bird to cat is either through eating the bird or by contact with faeces or saliva of infected birds.

At the time, 2007, the scientists said that there was no evidence that cats were responsible for transmitting the virus to humans.


Bird flu

Notes about bird flu, domestic cats and people

It might be useful just to briefly touch on the bird flu epidemic which affects America and other countries. I'm ...
Read More
Babesiosis on the rise in the United States

Experts sound alarm over babesiosis a tick-borne disease that kills people and infects cats

The tick, an unpleasant ectoparasite, is back in the news. We all know about Lyme disease carried by ticks but ...
Read More

Bird flu kills five domestic cats in the United States of America

NEWS AND COMMENT: This is a worrying development. I've written about bird flu before and the fact that it is ...
Read More
Cat scratch fever infection

Texas man partially lost his eyesight after his new cat frequently scratched him (it was cured)

A study has found the mainstream news media. It is about cat scratch fever (disease) causing partial blindness in a ...
Read More
Remains of lions at a South African lion farm

South Africa’s 8,000-12,000 farmed lions are diseased and a potential risk to human health

The Born Free Foundation tells us that there are as many as 8000-12,000 captive lions on lion farms in South ...
Read More
Cat Ringworm. This case is unusually clear and obvious. Sometimes you'll just see rough areas of skin under thinning fur. And the nose might be affected.

22 diseases that cats give humans

The diseases that cats can give to humans are zoonotic. They can travel between animals and humans and vice versa ...
Read More
Can cat poop be used in compost?

Is cat poop good for plants?

The question is: can cat faeces go into compost? I did some research on the internet some time ago and ...
Read More

How often do cats transmit rabies to people in the USA?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tell us that there has been no confirmed cases of rabies transmission from ...
Read More
Useful tag. Click to see the articles: Cat behavior

Note: sources for news articles are carefully selected but the news is often not independently verified.

Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 74-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare. If you want to read more click here.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *