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Review article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Influenza Virus Infections in Cats

Frymus, Tadeusz; Belak, Sandor; Egberink, Herman; Hofmann-Lehmann, Regina; Marsilio, Fulvio; Addie, Diane D.; Boucraut-Baralon, Corine; Hartmann, Katrin; Lloret, Albert; Lutz, Hans; Pennisi, Maria Grazia; Thiry, Etienne; Truyen, Uwe; Tasker, Severine; Moestl, Karin; Hosie, Margaret J.


In the past, cats were considered resistant to influenza. Today, we know that they are susceptible to some influenza A viruses (IAVs) originating in other species. Usually, the outcome is only subclinical infection or a mild fever. However, outbreaks of feline disease caused by canine H3N2 IAV with fever, tachypnoea, sneezing, coughing, dyspnoea and lethargy are occasionally noted in shelters. In one such outbreak, the morbidity rate was 100% and the mortality rate was 40%. Recently, avian H7N2 IAV infection occurred in cats in some shelters in the USA, inducing mostly mild respiratory disease. Furthermore, cats are susceptible to experimental infection with the human H3N2 IAV that caused the pandemic in 1968. Several studies indicated that cats worldwide could be infected by H1N1 IAV during the subsequent human pandemic in 2009. In one shelter, severe cases with fatalities were noted. Finally, the highly pathogenic avian H5N1 IAV can induce a severe, fatal disease in cats, and can spread via cat-to-cat contact. In this review, the Advisory Board on Cat Diseases (ABCD), a scientifically independent board of experts in feline medicine from 11 European countries, summarises current data regarding the aetiology, epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical picture, diagnostics, and control of feline IAV infections, as well as the zoonotic risks.


cats; influenza A virus; low pathogenic; highly pathogenic

Published in

2021, Volume: 13, number: 8, article number: 1435
Publisher: MDPI

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Clinical Science

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