Cat Swine Flu

Swine Flu H1N1 virus influenza 3.0  - photo by hitthatswitch

Swine Flu H1N1 virus influenza 3.0 – photo by hitthatswitch

People search for cat swine flu because there is a bit of talk about cats getting swine flu. It means swine flu in cats. I’ll call it “cat swine flu” in this short post. This is another element in the spread of the disease. I think swine flu or what is commonly called the H1N1 Virus is over-hyped. Yes, it is to be taken seriously but there have been very few deaths from swine flu in the human population and the rate is similar to ordinary flu on my reading of the situation (as at Dec 2009).

As regards your domestic cat, there have been no reported cases as far as I am aware of this disease in the UK.

There has apparently been one reported case in France (Dec 2009). The USA is where most cases have occurred. There have been two cases in the state of Oregon and in Colorado (2 cats), Iowa (1), Utah (1) and Pennsylvania (2). One of the Pennsylvania cats died. The two Oregon cats died but all the other cats have recovered.

The Oregon Cat Swine Flu

There are two cases (are there more?)

Case One: An 8 year old female cat was brought in to a veterinary clinic on 24-11-09 (11-24-2009 USA) with these symptoms:

  • weakness/pain
  • dehydration
  • hypothermia
  • nasal discharge
  • blue tinged mucous membrane
  • severe pneumonia
  • fluid in chest cavity

The cat was given Tamiflu (this is also given to people – is it exactly the same?) but died the same day.

The cat’s owner had previously been very ill with severe respiratory disease and had been diagnosed as having caught swine flu.

Case Two: A 10 year old male cat was tested positive for 2009 H1N1 influenza virus by the Oregon State University Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory. The cat’s temperature was 101.7 F. There was no coughing or sneezing. Breathing was shallow and rapid. Radiographs indicated pneumonia. The cat’s respiratory rate worsened on 5-11-2009 (11-5-2009 USA). The cat was admitted and treated with oxygen and medication. The cat died two days later1.


In the above cases it is believed to have been from human to cat. If a person in the house has influenza-like symptoms, preventative steps are:

  • wash hands
  • use alcohol-based hand cleaners
  • cover mouth and nose with a tissue when sneezing
  • avoiding touching cat’s eyes or nose and mouth while sick2

Cat Cats Transmit the H1N1 influenza virus to People?

It is unknown but possible3

Cat Swine Flu Symptoms

  • coughing
  • sneezing
  • lethargy
  • conjunctivitis (swelling and redness of the membranes around the eyes)

From Cat Swine Flu to Cat Health Problems


The_FCF H1N1 influenza information email. FCF stands for the Feline Conservation Federation.

The_FCF H1N1 influenza information email. FCF stands for the Feline Conservation Federation.

Dr. Emilio DeBess, Oregon State Public Health Veterinarian

Comments for
Cat Swine Flu

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Dec 16, 2009 To Gail
by: Ruth aka Kattaddorra

We are definitely on the same wave length, drink lots of tea to stay healthy ! Our kettle is always on and the first thing we say to friends who call is ‘Do you fancy a cuppa?’
It has to be Yorkshire tea, Ringtons second choice, as we never use anything tested on animals and some of the well known tea firms do that !
I don’t think many people know that.

Dec 15, 2009 Cat Swine Flu
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

I agree with Ruth, no vaccine for me either! I know a couple of people who took the shot and got sick anyway – but worse.

I cannot take the flu shots anyway; I’m allergic to something in the binding agent since I’m not allergic to eggs. The shot sends me to the ER, so no thanks!

It’s been 2 years of steadily washing hands, wearing gloves on public transport, using paper towels to open/close doors in public areas, etc. – no cold, no flu. The cat’s been fine also. Should someone sneeze on or near me, I head for the 1st washroom and soap up! Tea is lovely this time of year too, along with lots of sleep.

Dec 12, 2009 flu
by: Ruth

I’ve already decided to take my chances, no vaccination for me as I’ve heard horror stories about how the vaccine is made from extracting something from monkeys. I haven’t had time to research it yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true.
I wouldn’t take the medication for it either as I’ve heard ‘the cure is worse than the disease’
But how many people have really had swine flu ? They say they have as it’s the ‘in’ thing,but if they haven’t seen a doctor, there’s no proof it wasn’t just ordinary flu.

Dec 12, 2009 Good Point
by: Michael

Ruth, I think you have a good point. There is a fair bit if guesswork going on I feel. And like you, I wonder whether swine flu really is passed from human to cat or even as speculated from cat to human.

This is new stuff and it is coming out now that the vaccination Tamiflu has very limited usefulness (one day less of symptoms) with possible detrimental side effects (as all drugs have).

Dec 12, 2009 Flu
by: Ruth aka Kataddorra

Thanks Michael, another informative link to keep on my files.
It’s frightening if it’s true that cats can catch swine flu from people as at one time there was no way a person could pass flu on to a cat nor the cat to the person.
But could it be the owner and the cat caught the flu together? Could the incubation periods be different ?
I still find it hard to believe a cat could have caught it from a human but sadly I suppose right now scientists are infecting laboratory cats with human swine flu for proof.

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About Michael Broad

Michael is retired! He retired at age 57 and at Aug 2018 is approaching 70. He worked in many jobs. The last job he did was as a solicitor practicing general law. He loves animals and is passionate about animal welfare. He also loves photography and nature. He hates animal abuse. He has owned and managed this site since 2007. There are around 13k pages so please use the custom search facility!

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