Strep throat can be terrible. It would be bad enough if you got it, but, if your cat got it too, it would drive you both nuts. So, if you’ve recently got a bad throat and it’s turned out to be Strep throat, your worry could be that you might pass it on to your beloved cat.
Well, you need not worry, because you can’t. There’s really no evidence to prove that humans can pass this infection to their pets. But, it is said that they can become carriers of your infection and pass it on to another human being. However, there are two sides to the whole can-you-pass-this-on-to-your-pet theory. There’ve been no conclusive studies to prove that a Streptococcal infection can be carried in these ways – that is from human to cats, or cats to humans.
This is not to say that cats cannot get a bacterial infection that affects their throat or lungs. They can and it can be bad, but they probably can’t get it from you, or vice-versa. So your worry, in a way, still stands and it helps to know about what infections your cat can catch, and how you can avoid or treat them.
Can I Give My Cat Strep Throat? Answer: No.
Strep throat in humans in basically a bacterial infection caused by what’s called the Streptococcal bacteria, thus Strep for short. The infection can be mild or severe and needs medical attention. Streptococcal bacteria can find their way into cats as well, just like affecting humans. In cats however, if left unattended this infection can quickly develop into acute respiratory trouble and could also prove fatal.
Without getting into too much medical parlance, what’s important to know about Strep bacteria is that it affects the upper respiratory tract in cats and can lead to untold complications, including in some extreme cases diseases like arthritis and septicemia. You thus need to be vigilant about the symptoms of a Streptococcal infection and try to nip it in the bud.
How do Cats Get a Streptococcal Infection?
Like in humans the younger and the older cats are more prone to this infection, because of their weaker immune systems. Older, healthier cats will be able to ward off this, as well as other infections due to their stronger immunities. The Staphylococcus bacteria thrive on the layers of skins in the upper respiratory tracts of cats.
To begin with, sometimes kittens may be born with this infection, since their mothers, or the queen cat as mommy cats are called, may have been carriers. A large percentage of queens carry these bacteria in their vaginas, even if it is not apparent. This is more prevalent in cats who live in shelters.
In fact, when you bring home a cat from a shelter, you must be aware that a shelter is a hot-bed of infections and chances are that your cat is carrying some of those. So a trip to the vet is a good idea.
Signs of a Streptococcal infection in Cats
If, heaven forbid, your cat has got an upper respiratory tract infection or a Streptococcal infection then the symptoms might include – sneezing with a discharge, clear at first and sort-of thick later, red, runny eyes, difficulty in breathing, where the cat would make snorting kind-of noises like something is stuck in the throat, fever, declining appetite, coughing, vomiting, pain. Like mentioned earlier in some cases cats can also get arthritic kind of pain when they are down with this bacterial infection.
Also, a point to know is that kittens are sometimes prone to eye infections caused by
Streptococcus bacteria and it is important that this is treated as soon as possible, before it damages the eye.
At the first sign of an infection, you need to see your vet. Most probably you’ll be asked to give some antibiotics to your cat. The vet will also advise rest and lots of fluids for your cat. Our feline friends, in many ways, are like humans. If you go to your doc for a cold, you’ll probably get the same prescription: take the medication, drink lots of water, and put up your feet. The same goes for your cat.