An Introduction to Cat Pneumonia

Cats get Pneumonia just as we humans do. It is always a serious disease for cats and can threaten their lives. Here are some of the most important things you need to know about cat Pneumonia:

The Disease

Pneumonia is a lung infection. This is typically a bacterial inflammation which begins with one of a number of viral infections such as; feline calicivirus and parainfluenza virus. Some infections arise from introduction of a foreign substance into the lungs, (aspiration) but viruses are a much more common cause.


Feline Pneumonia presents symptoms similar to those seen in humans. Your cat will have difficulty breathing and become clearly very sick. You may also see a fever. Cyanosis often appears. (Tongue and gums have a bluish color) The illness is progressive, and as it worsens your cat may refuse food and water. This can cause dangerous dehydration.


If you see these symptoms you should get your cat to the vet quickly because early diagnosis is very important for successful treatment. The vet will take chest x-rays or ultrasounds. If your cat has a build-up of fluid in the lungs, the vet may take some of it from the chest for tests which will identify bacteria that is causing the infection.

Treating Cat Pneumonia

The most widely used medications for treating these infections are antibiotics such as Baytril, (Enrofloxacin) or Amoxicillin; a penicillin-like medicine. These come in liquid and tablet forms and are usually dosed once daily, but more doses are sometimes prescribed. In the most serious cases oxygen treatments may be necessary. Vets also sometimes prescribe diuretics like furosemide. These medicines clear the lungs of fluid.

It is most important that you give your cat antibiotics strictly according to your vet's instructions. You must give the antibiotics for the full course prescribed by your vet. If your cat's symptoms seem to disappear very quickly, you must continue to give the medicine for the full period your vet prescribed. Contact your vet for further instructions if you miss a dosage. If you stop treating your cat with antibiotics too soon or miss a dose; the infection could return, and this time it might be resistant to antibiotics.

Managing Treatment at Home

You can speed your pet's recovery and make it more comfortable by taking some of these measures:

  • Use a nebulizer. This is an aerosol machine used to administer pre-measured doses of medication to a cat with severe symptoms.
  • Use a vaporizer. This machine can relieve your cat's breathing difficulty by delivering moisture to the sinus cavities.
  • Coupage or Chest percussion: This is a method of loosening accumulated liquid in the lungs by tapping rhythmically on the chest. This will help your cat cough up the excess liquid. Your vet can teach you this procedure.
  • Try to keep your cat from engaging in any strenuous exercise during treatment.
  • Use a Bulb Syringe. This device will be useful for draining mucus from your cat's nasal passages.
  • Hand feeding your cat. If the cat looses it's appetite you may need to feed it by hand with a hand feeding syringe.