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Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms

Updated on February 27, 2015

I have volunteered for an animal shelter by fostering kittens in my home. I have also volunteered for animal rescue organizations, so I have seen many sick animals. Unfortunately, some animal shelters are very overcrowded and upper respiratory tract infections are highly contagious in cats, so it is hard to keep the infection from spreading. When I fostered a litter of kittens in my home, all of them were sick. They all had upper respiratory tract infections.

If you notice that a kitten or cat you took home from a shelter or pet shop has any signs of an upper respiratory tract infection, then you may want to take the cat to a vet. You could either bring the cat back to the shelter to have it examined or to a veterinarian. Here are some signs and symptoms of a feline upper respiratory tract infection.


♦ Yellow or green nasal discharge
♦ Eye discharge that is yellowish or green
♦ Trouble with breathing or wheezing
♦ Breathing out of the mouth
♦ Frequent sneezing, especially with yellow nasal discharge
♦ Watery eyes
♦ Excessive diarrhea
♦ Decrease in appetite
♦ Lethargy

A feline respiratory infection may be similar to that of a human's cold symptoms. If you take the cat to a veterinarian and it is diagnosed with an upper respiratory tract infection, then you will most likely be given an antibiotic to give to the cat. The veterinarian at the animal shelter gave me Amoxicillin to treat the kittens I was fostering who all had upper respiratory tract infections. I gave them the Amoxicillin until it was finished. Eventually, the kittens recovered and their infections cleared up.

The veterinarian at the animal shelter also recommended that I bring the kittens into my bathroom, shut the door and run a hot steamy shower to help break up the kitten's congestion. The steam from the hot running water seemed to help them breathe better as it loosened up some of the congestion. If your cat is experiencing signs of congestion, you may want to put the cat in the bathroom and run hot water with the door closed so that the steam may help the cat to breathe better.



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    • Sunshine Days profile imageAUTHOR

      Sunshine Days 

      3 years ago

      Thank you for your comment and for the extra bit of information about feline herpes.

    • girlgamers profile image

      Amber Davis 

      3 years ago from Texas

      Great information. I would add on there that a respiratory tract infection could be a sign of something worse. If the eyes start clouding over, and the cat refuses to eat as well as has a sour smell coming from the mouth, it could be feline herpes. It's manageable, but contagious!


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