The truth about cats & West Nile virus
How does a cat contract the virus?
West Nile virus is a zoonotic virus, which means it can be spread to humans and other mammals via mosquitoes. Cats can contract West Nile virus both from mosquitos and from ingesting infected prey.
What are the symptoms?
In a 2004 study, the Centers for Disease Control found that a few cats developed a low-grade fever and were slightly lethargic. But typically, the virus will run its course without your cat suffering any serious symptoms.
How is it treated?
There is no feline vaccine for West Nile virus. If your veterinarian diagnoses your cat with West Nile virus, he or she will probably treat the symptoms and suggest supportive care.
Can I contract the virus from my cat?
West Nile virus can’t be spread through biting, scratching, licking, or coming into contact with your cat’s urine or feces. The only way your cat could pass the virus on is if a mosquito bit your cat, then bit you. However, most cats don’t develop large amounts of the virus in their blood. Therefore, they’re not likely to transmit the disease.