Can you make your cat sick when you have a cold or the flu? If you’ve ever asked yourself this question, you’re not alone. A lot of pet owners are concerned about accidentally giving their precious kitties their illness.
If that sounds like you, then it’s time to take a deep breath and relax, because cuddling with your cat when you’re sick is just fine. According to an infectious disease expert from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, companion pets won’t catch or spread human viruses. So if having your kitty by your side helps you feel better when you’re ill, you can feel confident that it won’t put your feline — or yourself — at risk.
“The pet is a comfort, not a hazard,” said William Schaffner, MD, in a press release.
Even if a fellow human pets the same cat, he or she is also unlikely to get sick simply due to touching the kitty. So if someone else just can’t resist petting your cat under the chin, they don’t have to back off because you cuddled with the cat first.
Much like you can’t give a cold or the flu to your cat, Dr. Schaffner also pointed out that your cat also can’t give a cold or the flu to you.
But even though you have free rein to snuggle up with your kitty when you’re feeling under the weather, that doesn’t mean it’s safe for you to do so with your fellow people.
“Flu is transmitted person-to-person through close personal contact,” Schaffner said. “If you get within my breathing zone, within three feet, I can transfer the influenza virus to you. I breathe it out, you breathe it in, and you can be infected.”
The best way to prevent the flu in the first place is by getting a flu shot, but if you still end up getting sick, it’s important that you rest up and limit close contact with other people until you’re feeling better.
But the cat? That’s the perfect addition to your recovery!