Cats, much like humans, can get upper
respiratory tract infections. The nose, throat and sinus areas are susceptible to a number of infections
caused by viruses and bacteria. At first look, a feline upper respiratory tract infection seems much like
the human cold. Your cat may suffer a runny nose, sneeze or even cough. They may seem to get better after
a time, just like humans, before the head cold moves into their chest and develops into a much more
serious condition. If allowed to go untreated, these infections can develop into serious conditions such
What Causes Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Viruses are the most common cause of upper respiratory tract infections or URI’s. The calicivirus and
herpesvirus are responsible for 80-90% of all contagious URI’s and are commonly found in shelters and multi-cat
homes. They can be trasmitted through sneezing, coughing, mutual grooming or sharing food and water bowls. Once
a cat is infected they become carriers for life though they may not show sings. It is important, therefore, to
vaccinate early and to follow the vaccination recommendations of your veterinarian. Age, whether your cat has
been vaccinated and how recently, and physical condition are all important parts of your cats susceptibility.
Stress also plays a roll in causing URI outbreaks. Certain breeds such as Persians and Himalayans are
predisposed to URI’s due to their facial structure.
Keeping cats indoors, minimizing stress, remaining up to date on vaccines and having regular examinations are
the best ways to protect against URI’s. It is also a good idea to make sure you wash your hands thoroughly and
often when dealing with cats in a multi-animal environment such as a shelter. If you visit a shelter and
suspect that some of the cats you may have interacted with were carriers, it is important that you avoid coming
into contact with any cats you may have at home.
Symptoms of Upper Respiratory Tract Infection
Clear or colored snot
Gagging and drooling
Decreased or loss of appetite
Nose and mouth ulcers
Squinting or rubbing the eyes
Open mouth breathing
If you suspect your cat has an upper respiratory tract infection, get them to the Vet. Your vet will perform an
exam to determine if your cat needs medication, has a fever or is suffering from dehydration. Self-diagnosis is
not recommended as your cat may be infectious and spread the virus to other members of your feline household.
They may require isolation and antibiotics.
Tips For Managing Feline
Chronic Renal Failure
Declawing Your Cat
Emergency Symptoms in Your
Cats and Eye Inflammation
Cats - Dealing With Fleas
Feline Lower Urinary Tract
Cats and Gastritis
Cats and Heartworms
Hyperthyroidism In Cats
Is My Cat In Heat?
Quick Guide to Feline
Common Skin Problems in
Best Flea Control For
Cat Vaccines - What To
Common Causes for Cat
A Personal Tale of The
Amazing Cancer Cat
When to Euthanize Your
How Long Will My Cat
Why Declawing Your Cat Is
a Bad Decision
Managing a Diabetic Cat
Three Different Pet Meds for
Did You Know
That Cat Scratch Fever Really Exists?
Can Cats Have Allergies?