Primarily a problem for kittens, cats with low immunity, or cats with a weakened respiratory system, serious upper respiratory tract infections can be caused by several infectious organisms. Infections are caused by contact with an infected cat carrying viral Rhinotracheitis (Feline Herpes Virus or FHV), Feline Calicivirus (FCV), Chlamydia psittaci, Mycoplasma, or Bordetella bacterium.
Symptoms of Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections often include eye & nasal discharge that starts clear and becomes increasingly thick from secondary infections, as well as coughing, sneezing, and fever. Kittens usually recover from the infection but may not recover from the cause, as is the case with Feline Herpes Virus.
Natural Treatment of Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections
- Steam or a cool vaporizer
- Natural diet
- Antioxidants, preferably those that are in meat protein. Krill, for example is packed with antioxidants and highly digestible for cats.
- Vitamins C and E
- Homeopathic Nosodes (natural vaccinations)
- Homeopathic or holistic veterinarians often recommend homeopathic remedies, such as Aconitum napellus 30C, Nux vomica 30C, Natrum muriaticum 6C, or Pulsatilla 30C followed by Silicea 30C. For mouth ulcers associated with Feline Calicivirus, Nitricum acidum 30C is often recommended. If the mouth issues include a yellow-coated, swollen tongue, it may require Mercurius solubilis 30C.
- Prepared natural supplements: You can opt for natural remedy combination drops or powder, which are often easier to administer to a cat. A commonly recommended natural respiratory treatment is Lung Gold.
- Herbs & Nutraceuticals that support the immune system and offer anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties, such as:
St. John’s Wort
It’s important to use high quality herbs for full effectiveness. We rely on Starwest Botanicals for most of our dried herbs.
The majority of kittens recover within two to three weeks, but it depends on the root cause of the infection and how healthy the cat was to begin with.
Notes of Caution:
- It’s important to clear any supplements with your veterinarian to prevent complications with existing conditions or drug interactions. Your vet may also prescribe anti-viral medication or antibiotics (depending on the cause of the infection), and eye drops or ointment. Severe cases or infections stemming from Feline Calicivirus may call for forced feeding and/or IV fluids.
- You may see recommendations to add supplements or treatments to your cat’s water, especially if she isn’t eating. It’s critical that you also provide fresh water that has not been supplemented. If your cat doesn’t like the taste and has no other option, it may contribute to dehydration. If you can administer supplements in a different manner, such as direct or mixed into food, we suggest you do so. It’s difficult to administer a consistent dosage in water since the cat will drink it over time.
- Some viral causes of Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infections are transmittable to humans and other animal species, such as dogs.
Have you ever treated a cat with an upper respiratory tract infection? Please share your experience in the comments below.
Pitcairn, Richard H. Dr. Pitcairn’s New Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. 2012.
Messonnier, Shawn DVM. Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats: Your A-Z Guide to Over 200 Conditions, Herbs, Vitamins, and Supplements. 2001.
Tilford, Gregory. Wulff, Mary. Herbs for Pets: The Natural Way to Enhance Your Pet’s Life. 2009.
Cooksley, Valerie Gennari, RN. Seaweed: Nature’s Secret to Balancing Your Metabolism, Fighting Disease, and Revitalizing Body and Soul. 2007.
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