Norovirus is a highly contagious virus, a common cause of acute gastroenteritis that can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. It’s a common illness that affects humans. But what about our furry feline friends? Can cats get norovirus?
Cats usually can not be affected by human norovirus variants belonging to GI, GII, and GIV Groups. However, cats can get a different feline norovirus (FNoV) variant and can be affected by NoV strains.
We have compiled this post to provide an ultimate guide to cat parents. This helpful guide will explore Norovirus and gastroenteritis in cats.
- Human Norovirus and feline Norovirus are not same variant.
- Cats can get and spread feline norovirus (FNoV).
- FNoV is the leading cause of cat gastroenteritis.
- The virus can cause minor to severe health effects.
- Not all cats suffer alike, from the virus.
Can Cats Get Norovirus?
Yes, cats can get a specific type of Norovirus known as FNoV and rarely catch human Norovirus. Feline Norovirus (FNov) can cause cat gastroenteritis and may also affect the respiratory system.
The first feline Norovirus was detected in an 8–12 week old kitten in New York in 2012 with symptoms of severe diarrhea.
However, this was not the same virus that causes gastroenteritis in humans.
What Is (FNoV) Feline Norovirus?
Feline norovirus can cause gastroenteritis, a range of cat symptoms, including vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and weight loss.
The virus is spread through infected feces or vomit, contaminated surfaces, or contact with an infected cat.
Feline norovirus is particularly common in multi-cat households, catteries, and animal shelters.
What Is Gastroenteritis In Cats?
Gastroenteritis in cats is a viral and bacterial infection involving stomach and intestinal inflammation. Various factors, including viruses, bacteria, parasites, or dietary indiscretion, can cause it.
Gastroenteritis & Norovirus Symptoms In Cats
FNoV symptoms can vary from cat to cat. The most commonly reported symptoms of FNoV in cats are:
- Upset stomach
- Bloody Poop
- Dry mouth
- Sunken eyes
- Reduced skin elasticity
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- Gurgling Sounds
- Low grade fever
Note that other conditions, such as gastrointestinal infections, dietary changes, and stress, can also cause similar symptoms in cats.
If you suspect your cat may have FNoV, seek veterinary care promptly to diagnose and treat the condition.
Causes Of Felines Gastroenteritis
Gastroenteritis in cats can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Viral Infection: Virus infections are the leading cause of many feline health issues, including gastroenteritis.
- Bacterial Infection: Bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Campylobacter can cause cat gastroenteritis that directly affects the gastrointestinal tract.
- Parasitic Infections: Parasites such as giardia, cryptosporidium, and coccidia can cause the illness.
- Dietary Indiscretion: Eating inappropriate or spoiled or cat food, overeating, or sudden dietary changes can cause the condition.
- Intestinal obstruction: Ingestion of foreign objects or hairballs can cause blockages in the intestinal tract, leading to gastroenteritis. Best Cat Food for Hairball Control
- Stress: Stressful events such as boarding, traveling, or changes in the household can cause gastroenteritis in cats.
- Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD): IBD is a chronic condition that can cause intestinal lining inflammation, leading to chronic gastroenteritis.
Other causes include, chronic illnesses, liver disease, stomach ulcers and kidney disease.
How Is Norovirus Diagnosed in Cats?
The diagnosis of feline Norovirus (FNoV) is typically based on a combination of the cat’s clinical symptoms, physical examination, cat’s medical history, and laboratory testing.
Your veterinarian will begin by physically examining your cat and obtaining a detailed history of their symptoms, including the onset and duration of vomiting and diarrhea, appetite changes, and any recent dietary changes or exposure to other sick animals.
Your veterinarian may also recommend diagnostic tests to confirm the presence of FNoV, such as fecal screenings, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing, complete blood cell count and virus isolation.
These tests can detect the presence of the virus in fecal samples and confirm the diagnosis of FNoV.
Feline Gastroenteritis Treatment
Some common treatments for gastroenteritis in cats include:
- Fluid therapy
- Nutritional support
- Symptomatic treatment
Feline Gastroenteritis is usually treated with home remedies such as drinking plenty of fluids and resting.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if the cause of the illness is bacterial. Over-the-counter medications, such as antidiarrheal (anti-diarrhea) drugs, can help reduce symptoms.
Other treatments may include anti-nausea medications, electrolyte replacement drinks, and a bland diet.
Hospitalization and intravenous fluids may be necessary for severe cases of gastroenteritis.
Severe dehydration can quickly become life-threatening, so it is important to contact a vet immediately.
How To Prevent Your Cat From Norovirus?
- Keep your cat’s environment clean and free of food waste, litter, and feces.
- Regularly disinfect and thoroughly clean their food, bowls, toys, bedding, etc.
- Regularly monitor your cat’s health, paying attention to signs of illness or disease.
- Feed your cat a balanced, nutritious diet that meets its needs.
- Take extra precautions when introducing new cats into the household, such as quarantining them for at least two weeks before allowing contact with other cats.
- Wash your hands with soap and warm water after handling your cat or their things, such as food bowls or bedding.
- Avoid contact with wild animals since they can be carriers of Norovirus and other illnesses.
- Keep your cat away from public places where it may come into contact with other cats or animals carrying the virus.
- Seek veterinary attention if your cat seems unwell, as early treatment can reduce the risk of Norovirus infection.
How long Is The Contagious Period For Norovirus?
Researchers believe that the contagious period of norovirus is from the start up to 48 hours.
However, the contagious period for norovirus can vary, but it generally begins when a person or animal becomes symptomatic and can continue for several days after the symptoms have resolved.
In the case of Feline norovirus (FNoV), cats can shed the virus in their feces for up to several weeks after infection, even if they are not showing symptoms.
Not all, but some stomach viruses may transfer from humans to cats.
Yes, norovirus often goes away on its own with supportive treatment. However, kittens, old pets, and felines having health issues may require proper treatment to avoid any complications.
There are very rare chances that the same norovirus variant affecting humans passes to cats. However, the transfer ratio is high from humans to humans and cats to cats.
While cats are usually unaffected by human Norovirus strains, they can contract their feline Norovirus (FNoV) variant, which can cause gastroenteritis and respiratory issues.
It is important for cat owners to be aware of the symptoms of FNoV and to take necessary precautions to prevent their pets from being exposed to the virus.