Cats can catch colds and develop upper respiratory infections just like people do, according to petMD. The version of the cold that cats catch can actually be very serious and is similar to influenza. It can be fatal in both young and old cats.
The main causes of colds in cats are viral infections that evolve into bacterial infections. Common symptoms to look out for are fever, loss of appetite, dehydration, extreme swallowing or coughing, watery discharge of the eyes or nose that is thick, bloody or yellow-green or clear in color, and sneezing. A physical exam performed by a veterinarian is usually required in order to determine if a cat is suffering from a cold or other respiratory infection.