Updated: August 10, 2022 by Kristen Chapple
Sometimes, cats are prone to infections, and some are more trouble than others. One such common infection in cats is chlamydophila, formerly known as chlamydia, which can further cause conjunctivitis in cats. But how do cats get chlamydia?
Knowing the answer to that might help some cat owners prevent their little furry friends from getting it in the first place.
What is Chlamydia / Chlamydophila?
Chlamydophila is a family of bacteria with several strains, but the one found in cats is the Chylamydophila felis, which isn’t transmittable to people.
The bacteria affects feral and domestic cats all over the world, causing respiratory problems and most often conjunctivitis in cats, a type of eye infection wherein the delicate membranes and tissues around the surface of the eye get inflamed.
Usually, the symptoms appear a few days after the infection has taken place. The signs relate mostly to the eyes and the area around them but can spread to other parts of the organism of an infected cat.
The most often symptoms are watery eyes, continuing with a discharge from one or both eyes, swelling, and reddening of the eye tissue known as the conjunctiva.
Moreover, some infected cats develop sneezing and coughing, running nose and difficulties in breathing, and in more severe and untreated cases even fever and pneumonia.
How do Cats Get Chlamydia / Chlamydophila?
Though widespread in the environment, the Chlamydophila felis bacteria is very fragile and cannot survive by itself in the environment which is why the infection occurs in almost all cases through direct contact with an infected organism.
While all cats are susceptible to this condition, usually mature cats have better immune systems and their bodies can fight the infection a lot better. Therefore, the infection is more common in kittens, who have weaker immune systems and can’t fight off bacterial infections.
Since most of the infections are transmitted through direct contact, cats that are kept in large groups such as shelters or homes with several feline individuals, are more prone to get it.
The bacteria can also travel by air through the sneezing or coughing of an infected cat. It can also be spread by touch, through a person or through contaminated objects that both the infected cat and the healthy one touch or rub against.
How To Prevent It
Though debatable, vaccination may provide a way to prevent the infection, but the best is to keep transmission to a minimum through good hygiene, which is a crucial part of prevention.
Any means that can keep infected cats away from healthy ones are a good measure of prevention. Also, hand washing after touching an infected cat is very important.