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Bird Flu in Cats and Kittens

The Bird Flu is an infection affecting humans and animals, including cats that is caused by viruses such as H5N1, H7N2 and other variants. The virus occurs naturally among birds and sometimes crosses over to humans and other animals.

Cats & the Bird Flu (H7N2 Virus)

Dear Simba,
I have read about the Bird Flu and all those sick cats in New York!! Can my cat FannyBaby get it? Carol

Hi Carol
Unfortunately, yes, cats can become infected with the Bird Flu. The good news is that this is very rare. There was a recent incident in 2016 where a an sick cat transmitted the H7N2 virus to a veterinarian. Here's a link to a PDF at the CDC discussing the virus and how it can affect cats.

What are symptoms of the Bird Flu (H7N2 Virus) in Cats?

A cat that is infected with can show signs of fever, lethargy, difficulty breathing, and even neurological symptoms such as circling.

Is there a Cat Vaccine against the Bird Flu?

According to the AVMA there is no licensed and approved Avian Flu vaccine for pets.

Generally, there are many more important things to worry about than having FannyBaby catch the Bird Flu. Good care involves ensuring FannyBaby gets regular checkups at the vet. Here are some quick tips if you want to be extra healthy as it relates to the Bird Flu:

  • Keep FannyBaby indoors. Avoid exposure to infected birds and do not let her eat pigeons or pigeon carcasses (again it is unlikely that common pigeons have it, but be careful anyway).
  • Feed FannyBaby cooked poultry only (the virus is destroyed at high temps)
  • Do not allow stray cats in your home.
Take good and proper precautions and you will have little to worry about. Stay safe! Simba

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