Guide to Cat Cold Symptoms

"Sneezing, runny nose and a cough that persists for at least a day are common cat cold symptoms. Treatment involves removing the mucus or congestion and for bacterial infection, the use of antibiotics."

Cats get a variety of respiratory infections, including viruses that resemble the common cold that humans get.

Cat cold symptoms include:

Often these are not serious illnesses, but occasionally they are. If your cat is not current on her vaccinations, she is at risk for calcivirus and rhinotracheitis (feline herpes virus). These are serious illnesses that can cause death in kittens, elderly cats, or cats with poor immune systems. Cats should be vaccinated as kittens and receive annual booster shots.

Also, if untreated, colds and other viruses and respiratory infections may develop into pneumonia. Pneumonia is an inflammation of the lungs, characterized by coughing and difficulty breathing.


Kittens and older cats should see a veterinarian for cat cold treatment if symptoms last an entire day and if your cat can't eliminate the mucus from it's respiratory system through sneezing or coughing. Adult cats that are in good general health can be treated at home as long as symptoms are not too severe.

Veterinarian's will check your cat's vaccination record, take a history and do a physical examination. If needed they will take a chest x-ray to determine if your cat has pneumonia.


Antibiotic are prescribed if your veterinarian believes your cat is suffering from a bacterial infection or if they believe your cat is at risk for infection as a byproduct of a viral infection.

You can provide help to treat the symptoms at home starting with keeping your cat warm, dry and hydrated. Limit time outdoors as cold weather will dry out the nose allowing in bacteria and constricting the nasal passages. Running a vaporizer can also help to keep the bronchial tubes moistened. You can also run a vaporizer near your cat's sleeping area to keep her bronchial tubes moistened.

Cats rely on their sense of smell through the nose in order to stimulate their appetite. When the nose is irritated or congested, their ability to smell is impaired causing them to avoid eating. Serving moist food instead of dry kibble will help or fish based foods since it has a stronger odor. Also moist food helps to avoid dehydration.

If your cat frequently gets colds you might want to consider a dietary supplement that contains ingredients such as Calc. sulph. (promotes health of nasal passages), Ferrum phos. (anti inflammatory) and Hepar. Sulph.(for throat health). Respo-K from PetAlive is made specifically for this purpose and is worth exploring.


Merck/Merial Manual for Pet Health
Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex
Nash, Holly DVM