Pet Talk: Feline Upper Respiratory Infections

By the Texas A&M University College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

If your cat has irritated eyes, nasal discharge, and is sneezing and feeling lethargic, they may have an upper respiratory infection (URI). Feline URIs are commonly caused by certain viruses and spread by exposure to infected cats and their secretions.

Though the viruses that cause feline URIs are present within cat populations, Dr. Christine Rutter, clinical assistant professor at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, said many feline URIs are preventable through vaccinations and other health precautions.

“Avoiding a URI infection includes avoiding contact with infected or carrier cats,” Rutter said. “Keeping cats indoors, boosting immunity with vaccination, and avoiding dense cat populations such as shelters are key.”

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