Can I catch a cold from my cat? No, you can’t. Most infectious diseases are species-specific. They only affect a specific species and cannot jump between species.
When a cat catches a cold it is a viral infection. Veterinarians call it: Feline Viral Respiratory Disease Complex. They are highly contagious between cats and can spread quickly in a multi-cat home, shelter or boarding cattery. But they cannot infect humans which means they are not zoonotic. Viral infections can develop into bacterial infections (e.g. pink eye) and vets can sometimes struggle to distinguish one from the other which is why they dish out antibiotics liberally.
It’s also worth saying that cats cannot catch a cold from us. These viruses are very much species-specific.
The two main “viral groups” which cause the cat cold are the herpesvirus group and the calicivirus group. The other viruses account for a relatively small number of cases.
I have written about these viruses on other pages on this website and therefore I won’t go over them again here.
A zoonotic disease
An example of a disease that does transmit from cat to human and vice versa is ringworm which I recently written about again. This is not a virus but a fungus.
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