Can Cats Get Salmonella?

Posted on: 7 August 2017

You've probably heard of salmonella, a bacterial infection that causes serious stomach discomfort, diarrhea, and vomiting in humans. The disease is often contracted by eating contaminated chicken or eggs. But you're not the only one who is susceptible to this illness. Salmonella bacteria can also infect cats. Here's what you need to know about protecting your furry feline from this disease -- and what to do if you suspect he or she does have salmonella.

How do cats get salmonella?

Cats can get salmonella in many of the same ways as humans. If they eats eggs, chicken, or even canned cat food that has been contaminated with these bacteria, they may become ill. They can also catch salmonella directly from other cats, dogs, and humans who have been infected. This is particularly a concern with cats who go outdoors. They might come into contact with feral cats who have salmonella and have not received treatment.

What are the signs of salmonella in cats?

The symptoms of salmonella are similar to those of other digestive ailments and infections in cats. Your cat may become lethargic, vomit often, have swollen lymph nodes, develop a fever, lose weight, experience mucous in his stool, and refuse to eat. To determine whether your cat does, indeed, have salmonella, your vet can run a series of blood tests. He or she may also ask for a fecal sample.

If diagnosed with salmonella, your vet may administer antibiotics along with steroids to help your cat fight the infection. Re-hydration treatments and blood transfusions may be needed in more serious cases. Most cats recover well as long as they receive the proper veterinary care. Keep in mind that while your cat is sick, you will need to be very careful to reduce your own exposure to the bacteria. Always wash your hands after handling the cat, its food, the litter box, and so forth so you do not come down with salmonella yourself.

How can you protect your cat from salmonella?

Utilize the same preventative measures you do for humans. Do not give your cat raw eggs or chicken. In fact, avoid any raw meats as they could be contaminated. If you purchase a can or cat food that looks like it has been opened or smells "off" do not feed it. Also, keep your cat indoors and take other steps to prevent him from coming into contact with other cats who may be ill. Contact a vet, such as at Norwin Veterinary Hospital, for more help.