Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

In a word, the answer to the question “Can cats get parvo from dogs?” is simply – no. However, other questions about this disease often leave confusion in cat and dog parents which require clarification.

Here are a few helpful answers about Parvo and why cats cannot get it from dogs.

In this article:

  • Parvo and Panleukopenia
  • How Parvo Spreads – Symptoms?
  • Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs? What About Humans?
  • Treating  Parvo
  • What Cures Parvo?
  • Final Thoughts: Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

Parvo and Panleukopenia

Even though we don’t often hear of them, there are literally dozens of members of the Parvoviridae family. It is important to note that each of these viruses is exclusive to its own species.

In other words, canine parvo cannot spread to cats. Neither can mouse parvo spread to elephants or even humans. 😉

Can cats get parvo from dogs? || Fluffy Kitty

The Parvo virus in dogs is very closely related to the virus panleukopenia: the virus that causes distemper in cats.

Both viruses attack cells within the pet’s bone marrow. Because bone marrow is where white blood cells are produced, your pet’s defense against disease suffers. When white cells are few in number the consequence is often serious or even fatal illness.

A very effective vaccine is used to control panleukopenia, feline distemper in cats.  Kittens get this protection in the FVRCP vaccine – kitten shots.

How Parvo Spreads – What Are the Symptoms?

The Parvo virus is highly contagious among dogs. It spreads when a non-vaccinated pet, usually a puppy, contacts the fecal material of an infected dog.

Can cats get parvo from dogs? || Fluffy Kitty

Symptoms of Parvo in dogs are: lethargy, abdominal pain and swelling, loss of appetite, vomiting, fever, red gums and eyes, rapid heartbeat, and severe, bloody diarrhea. Parvo in dogs results in death 90 percent of the time if it is left to run its course.

Treating Parvo

Don’t even try to treat parvo at home. The pet must be quarantined to protect other dogs and given intravenous fluids to counteract dehydration. It is usually the complications of dehydration that kills these animals.

Parvo pups are usually treated with IV antibiotics and given anti-nausea medication. Therefore, if you suspect your puppy has parvo, take him to the veterinarian immediately. 

Can cats get parvo from dogs? || Fluffy Kitty

What Cures Parvo?

As always, prevention is the very best answer. To prevent this killer disease, make sure your puppy gets his shots on schedule. A dog that is lucky enough to survive the Parvo virus develops a long-term immunity to the virus.

Nevertheless, even parvo survivors need to follow the inoculation schedule for the sake of certainty.

Final Thoughts: Can Cats Get Parvo from Dogs?

If your puppy has Parvo, you’re safe and so is kitty. Your little woofenbarker, on the other hand, must see his vet immediately.

It’s important that you keep your puppy inside as much as possible.  Contact a vet to schedule an appointment for his shots.

So there yo have it! Cats cannot get Parvo from dogs. At least now you know your kitty is safe!


  1. Adrian Quinonez said:

    I don’t know what to believe some things on the internet says cat can get infected by a dog with Parvo and then others say no it can’t infect cats I’d really like to know which is it?

    • Hi Adrian, sure! Parvo is species-specific so cats can get parvo but not the same strand dogs get. Parvo in cats can spread to other cats, but can’t infect other species. We recommend always asking your local vet for clarification if you are unsure!

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