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Can Cats Get Strep Throat? What You Need to Know

Cats, like all living things, are vulnerable to diseases and illnesses. But can they get strep throat? Yes, they can contract strains of streptococcus. In extremely rare cases, they can contract the strain group A streptococcus, which in humans causes “strep throat.”

Do cats experience strep throat like humans do? Let’s find out.

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Symptoms of Strep In Cats

Strep throat is a bacterial infection caused by group A streptococcus. According to this “medical mystery” article in the Washington Post, it is very unlikely that a cat will pass this on to his human family. This particular bacteria is believed to not be compatible with animal DNA. But, as the story outlines, it does happen at times.

When group A strep is present in cats, they tend to not display any symptoms, the bacteria resting in their saliva, skin and hair undetected.

Cats are much more likely to carry a strain of strep called streptococcus canis. Cats with this form of strep can have these symptoms:

  • Tiredness
  • Pain
  • Fever
  • Coughing

In serious cases, cats can also develop arthritis, pneumonia and difficulty swallowing due to enlarged tonsils.

Coughs Abyssinian Kitty_seregraff_shutterstock
Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

How to Treat Strep In Cats

Though having strep throat may feel unpleasant, this infection is not serious when treated correctly. Anytime you notice your cat acting strange, stay on the safe side and give your vet a call.

Because all of the variations of strep are bacterial infections, a round of antibiotics is required for your cat if she has strep. Your vet will also likely tell you to encourage your cat to drink more water, as hydration also aids in speeding up recovery from this bacterial infection.

In addition to these requirements, you could give your cat more TLC than usual, pampering her like you would if your cat caught a cold. This can look like offering her a heating pad to lay on or making sure there’s plenty of blankets to wrap herself in.

If your cat is repeatedly infecting you and/or your family with strep throat, you may have to vacate your home while you and your cat are being treated. A thorough house cleaning will need to be done to get rid of all of the cat hair that could re-transfer the infection.

Strep Prevention

Streptococcus Canis

To prevent your cat from contracting the strep canis bacteria, you first need to understand which populations are vulnerable to the disease.

Kittens are particularly vulnerable, as their immune systems have not developed enough strength to combat the bacteria if it enters their systems. Conversely, senior cats also have a compromised immune system due to old age.

With these vulnerable groups, be extra careful to keep them isolated from big groups of other animals, like in a kennel or at a busy pet park. In this scenario, they are more likely to get infected with strep.

Sick cat in animal hospital
Image Credit: Kachalkina Veronika, Shutterstock

Group A Streptococcus

For “strep throat” prevention, simply do not let anyone known to have strep throat near your cat. This strep is transmitted through droplets sneezed or coughed into the air or through shared drinks and food.

So, this means no shared food with an infected person and a cat, and definitely no getting your face close to kitty.

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Conclusion

Though very rare, cats do get the bacteria that causes strep throat, even though they may experience no symptoms at all and look like a very healthy cat. If your cat seems uncomfortable, or your family keeps getting strep repeatedly, talk to your vet straight away to get the help you need.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

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