Feline Upper Respiratory Infection

Feline Upper Respiratory Infection or URI as it often simply known is the most common ailment of cats in high-density environments like shelters, catteries or hoarding situations. URI is a broad term that describes a variety of issues that are actually quite different. The best way to understand URI, however, is to simply break it down into two types: bacteria and viral.

Just as the disease progression often does, let’s start with viral URI. Viral URI causes clear nasal discharge and mild congestion. What you will often see is a lot of sneezing, some sniffling but otherwise, your cat is likely acting fine. Additionally, you will see an increase in temperature. This is the place that you are most likely to see an increase in temperature.

There is no reliable treatment at this point, besides supportive care. That means fluids and tasty food. If your cat is significantly congested you can also offer some simply steam treatment by placing your cat in the bathroom with the shower on.

This will either stop here, or it will get worse. Most often worse means a bacterial component. This means that you will green nasal discharge and more congestion. Unfortunately, this means that you may see anorexia as your cat can no longer smell their food and thus loose a lot of their appetite.

At this point, antibiotics are effective and can help decrease the effects of the disease and a shorter the overall time.

The most important thing to do here is to make sure your cat is still eating. If your cat stops eating try the following:

  • If you normally feed dry, try feeding stinkier wet food.
  • If you normally feed wet, try feeding dry.
  • Pet your cat to encourage them to eat.
  • Try warming up the food to enhance the smell.
  • Try novel foods like tuna.

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