Feline Cold

"Feline cold symptoms set in between 2 to 17 days after exposure to an infected cat. Two groups of viruses are responsible for the majority of upper respiratory infections (herpesvirus/FVR or calicivirus). Treatment includes a room with a vaporizer, disinfection of your cat's environment, nose drops, eye drops if needed and possibly an antibiotic if warranted."

Cats are prone to catch a variety of respiratory illnesses that resemble the common cold, but they can't get the cold virus that affects humans. Respiratory problems prevent a cat from getting enough oxygen which causes what appears to be labored breathing where you see the cat working the abdominal muscles aid the breathing process.

Cold symptoms begin 2 to 17 days after exposure to an infected cat. Colds are most often caused by herpesvirus which lasts from 2 to 4 weeks while calicivirus lats 1 to 2 weeks. Sneezing tends to indicate herpesvirus.

Symptoms of Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

The first signs of a "cold" begin with sneezing that occurs throughout the day. This is followed by conjunctivitis and discharge that comes from the eyes and nose. If congestion is severe then your cat might breath through its mouth.

Coughing as a symptom tends to be associated with herpesvirus. Drooling and ulcers in the mouth are associated with calicivirus.

Treatment of Feline Cold

It is important to disinfect all items that your cat uses and to disinfect any bedding. Clean items in diluted bleach.

Your cat will need a room with a cool steam vaporizer to aide breathing. If you don't have a vaporizer, then use the steam from a shower in the bathroom.

Make sure your cat eats and drinks. They may be reluctant since smell is a big part of a cats eating process. Consider switching to foods with a strong smell such as tuna.

If your cat has watery eyes, you can use cotton balls to keep them clean.

If your cats nose is congested ask your veterinarian about nose drops such as Afrin Children's Strength (1 drop in 1 nostril each day, on the second day switch to the 2nd nostril. Do not continue for more than 5 days).

Feline Cold with Cough

Coughing is an indication that there is a problem in your cat's bronchial tubes. Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex is indicated if cough is accompanied by sneezing and watery eyes.

If these symptoms are accompanied by a mucus discharge and a straining of the neck then your cat could have bronchitis.

Feline Cold with Cough Treatment

Consult with your veterinarian on how to treat minor coughs. They often recommend Robitussin-DM which as the effect of liquefying the mucus and suppressing the cough (contains dextromethorphan and guaifenesen). Dosage is 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight every 6 hours.

If only mucus is the problem then use Plain Robitussin (contains guaifenesen). Dosage is 1/2 teaspoon per 10 pounds every 4 hours.

DO NOT give your cat anything that contains acetaminophen (Tylenol). Again do not give your cat any medication without consulting your veterinarian.

If your cat is not eating well, try feeding her moist food instead of dry kibble. Cats need to smell their food in order to eat it, and they can�t smell very well with a stuffy nose. Moist food is smellier, plus the moisture will help prevent dehydration.

Cat Wheezing

If it sounds like your cat is having difficulty breathing it means that their is probably fluid building up in the chest. Wheezing could indicate heart problems, cancer, tumor, lungworms or heartworms. These ailments are usually accompanied from breathing that sounds like wheezing (your cat is working hard to breath).

Natural Approach to Respiratory Support

If your cat is prone to feline colds or frequently has other respiratory problems you might want to consider a dietary supplement designed to help with these problems. Several herbs are associated with respiratory health including:

* Calcium Sulphate: promotes health of throat and nasal passages.
* Ferrum phosphate: helps with oxygen and iron absorption.
* Hepar. sulphate: helps the throat and lungs.
* Verbascum thapsus (Mullein leaves): helps clear and soothe the nose, chest and easy breathing.
* Sambucus nigra (Elder flowers) helps with body temperature.

One remedy to research is PetAlive Respo-K which is a proven herbal cat respiratory condition solution. It combines these ingredients and is made specifically for this purpose. Discuss this option with your veterinarian so that they can track progress.


Feline Upper Respiratory Disease Complex
Nash, Holly DVM

Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook, Fully Revised and Updated (Cat Owner's Home Veterinary Handbook)


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