Yes, cats can get kennel cough just like dogs. In fact, cats and dogs can transmit the disease to each other, as well as to other animals within their species. It tends to be highly contagious and can spread rapidly among cats and dogs housed at boarding facilities, vet clinics, and other areas where animals congregate.
The causes of kennel cough in cats
Just like in dogs, kennel cough in cats may be caused by a variety of microorganisms. The parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, reovirus, and distemper virus can all cause kennel cough in cats. Mycoplasma is another possible cause for felines. However, the most common culprit of kennel cough in cats is the Bordetella bronchiseptica bacterium. This is also the most common cause of it in dogs.
Cats can be exposed to the Bordetella bacterium when they are in direct contact with other infected animals. A cat infected with the bacteria will shed rod-shaped bacteria in their nasal secretions and saliva, as well as in the droplets that are expelled during a sneeze. This means that if an infected cat is sneezing, any other cat or dog that is nearby may inhale the infected droplets and contract the disease.
Cats may also contract kennel cough indirectly. An infected cat may sneeze on an object, such as a cat bed. Then, a healthy cat may climb into the bed and be exposed to the bacteria. Indirect objects are a common method of transmission, as these bacteria can survive for one to two weeks unless rigorous disinfectant protocols are followed.