Cat Cold Symptoms

A cat cold also known as a feline upper respiratory infection may occur due to different viruses, fungi and bacteria. The most frequent cat colds are caused by the herpes virus and the calicivirus. The symptoms experienced by your pet may prompt you to suspect a diagnosis such as feline cold.


Frequent sneezing is a clear indication that the cat has a feline cold. The sneezing may be accompanied by a runny nose. Ocular discharges will also be present.

The type of the discharge depends on the causing factor of the respiratory infection. The discharge may be transparent if the infection is caused by bacteria, or it may be thicker and yellow or greenish if the infection is caused by viruses; if the nasal discharge has a pinkish color, the infection is caused by fungi.


Coughing may occur if the cat has a cold, but it may also be absent. Typically, the coughing occurs if the respiratory infection is extended to the lungs.

Lack of Appetite

Lack of appetite may signal numerous diseases, including feline cold. If your cat doesn’t eat, you should feed him. The cat may refuse to eat due to an irritated throat; you may get wet food to stimulate the cat to eat. If you fail to feed your cat and he hasn’t eaten in over 2 days, you should go to the vet to get some transfusions.

Make sure you also provide fresh water, as cats with a cold may often get dehydrated.

Breathing Problems

The air passages may be congested and this may lead to breathing problems. These are more severe when the cat is sleeping or when direct pressure is applied on the chest.

Wheezing is also common in cats with a respiratory infection.


Conjunctivitis or the inflammation of the conjunctiva may occur in cats with an upper respiratory infection.

The eyes of the cat will appear irritated, red and there will also be an ocular clear discharge.

Conjunctivitis can be treated with topical ointments and eye drops. The eyes must be cleaned at least twice per day with a saline solution, so as to speed up the recovery.

Secondary Bacterial Infections

When the cat has a cold, secondary bacterial infections are not uncommon. The secondary infections can occur in felines with a weaker immune system and may be very severe. The secondary infections may cause itchy skin, rashes, lack of appetite and lethargy.

Typically, feline colds don’t require medication and the symptoms should subside in 2 to 3 weeks. Some cats may remain carriers of the calicivirus and the herpes virus. If the coughing is serious, the cat should receive some cough suppressants.

Secondary infections should be treated with antibiotics.

The cat should be kept indoors; this is both to keep the cat comfortable and to avoid transmitting the infection to other felines, as the viruses and bacteria are highly contagious. If you have a multi cat household, the infected cat must be isolated and the other cats must also be tested for the presence of viruses or bacteria.