If your cat begins to sneeze or has a runny nose or eyes within 7 days after you get him/her home, chances are that the cat has come down with URI. The virus is quite contagious to other cats, so if you have any resident cats, keep them separate. You can expect symptoms to continue for 7-10 days and they may vary in intensity (just like a cold!). The cat may sneeze, have discharge from eyes and nose, drool and breathe with difficulty through his or her mouth. The cat may lose its appetite and even stop drinking. If the discharge from your cat’s eyes and nose is watery and the cat’s temperature is normal, you are dealing with “simple” URI virus. Mucous and fever are indicators that a secondary bacterial infection is complicating the picture. With these conditions the cat most likely will need antibiotics. It is imperative that you seek veterinary treatment for the cat exhibiting any signs of a URI as soon as possible. Kittens with underdeveloped immune systems are especially vulnerable to contracting URI's. With rest, care and veterinary intervention, many cats will recover from mild URI in one or two weeks.
Can my other pets get URI?
URI is contagious to other cats. Vaccinating against URI is not 100% effective, so it is a good idea to isolate cats that are showing signs of URI, and wash hands after handling sick cats. We recommend isolating all new arrivals in your household for 8-10 days after adoption to give them a chance to settle in and make sure they are not coming down with anything. URI is not contagious to people or to animals other than cats.
What should I do if my new cat has a URI?
When should I contact my veterinarian?
If your cat has any of the following symptoms, contact your veterinarian immediately: