Is cat pneumonia contagious to humans?

You’ve probably heard of feline pneumonia, but here’s the burning question – can your cat give you pneumonia? Well, before you cough up a hairball or panic like it’s the end of the world, let’s explore cat pneumonia and its potential transmission risk to humans.

What is Feline Pneumonia?

Feline pneumonia is a respiratory infection in cats that affects their lungs. It could be caused by bacteria (such as Bordetella bronchiseptica) or viruses (such as calicivirus or herpesvirus). Cats with weakened immune systems due to illnesses like feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) are more likely to develop pneumonia. Symptoms include coughing, fever, lethargy, and difficulty breathing.

Can Humans Get Feline Pneumonia?

Humans can’t catch feline-specific pathogens such as calicivirus or herpesvirus because they only affect cats. However, bacterial infections like Bordetella bronchiseptica that cause feline pneumonia have been known to occasionally infect other animals – including dogs and humans!

Before you start itching all over your body wondering how many times Fluffy has sneezed on your face while sleeping together, let’s understand something first:

Human-to-Human Transmission Isn’t Common!

Yes! You’re unlikely going to contract an infection from human carriers who might have gotten infected after being exposed directly with a sick cat. Thus far Bordetella bronchiseptica in humans have been described only through sporadic reports of infections amongst people who worked closely with farming animals during outbreaks; Outbreaks happen mostly when one animal gets infected during transportation (lol).

With these rare cases aside though (raise eyebrow), there isn’t sufficient information if beyond reasonable doubt about possible spread between two people solely through respiratory droplets from the bacteria. Great news unless you’re looking forward to coughing like a cat!

But How Can You Protect Yourself?

Just like what doctor prescribed when Tuberculosis (TB) was common, common sense rules such as avoiding close contact with others who are ill can keep you safe in most cases.

Here are some tips:

  • Avoid getting too close while cuddling and handling animals that have symptoms of illness.
  • If it’s necessary to handle an animal suspected with pneumonia, wash your hands thoroughly afterward.
  • Keep surfaces clean to avoid transference of potential pathogens from one surface to another – let’s call it ‘sanitization’


Feline-specific virus infections cannot be transmitted across different species, but bacterial infections caused by Bordetella bronchiseptica can potentially infect humans. However, human-to-human transmission isn’t prevalent despite rare sporadic reports about its existence.

So even though your feline is not exactly known for catching (cough) much of anything lately except naps; those who develop Feline Pneumonia should seek veterinary care immediately and interact less closely until they receive treatment or recover completely so as not to inadvertently spread infection.

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