Upper respiratory infections can wreak havoc on your cat’s fragile immune system. These airborne viruses are contagious and can present with a plethora of distressing symptoms. With some basic care from you and your vet, your cat will generally fully recover from a URI within one to two weeks.
Uncomplicated upper respiratory infections are typically treated at home according to their symptoms. Cats with URIs may present with congestion, sneezing, runny nose, cough, fever and discharge from the eyes or nose. Due to the green, yellow or clear discharge from one or both eyes, your cat’s peepers may be held shut or partially shut. Your virus-stricken feline may also experience mental changes, such as depression.
Nutrition is more important than ever when your feline friend is ill. Until you’re sure your cat has a normal appetite, offer him food every four hours. If your cat has little or no appetite, you may need to tempt him with something a little tastier than his everyday cat chow. Bribe your pet with cooked pureed chicken livers or offer his favorite treat. You may need to assist in feeding if your cat refuses food.
Upper respiratory infections are notorious for clogging up the senses. Help your cat breathe easy by gently wiping his eyes, nose and mouth with a warm, wet washcloth. This will not only relieve your cat’s congestion, but also stimulate the release of soothing endorphins in his brain. It may be helpful to keep the air moist with a humidifier to keep Kitty comfortable. If you don’t have a humidifier, bring your cat into a steamy bathroom for 10 to 15 minutes.
Sick cats can get chilled easily, especially young kittens who are unable to properly regulate their body temperatures. Keep your home warm and avoid letting your cat outdoors as he recovers from his URI. Provide him with plenty of warm blankets or towels. Snuggling with Kitty will also help to keep him warm while building a bond between you and your favorite furry feline.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Based in northern New York, Brandy Burgess has been writing on pets, technical documentation and health resources since 2007. She also writes on personal development for YourFreelanceWritingCareer.com. Burgess' work also has appeared on various online publications, including eHow.com. Burgess holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer information systems from DeVry University and her certified nurses aid certification.