Alleviating the symptoms of cat upper respiratory infections

Why are there very few medicines to alleviate the symptoms of upper respiratory infections (URIs) in cats? I can’t find any with which we are familiar. The advice is to wipe the eyes with most cotton balls as often as required, and keep your cat hydrated and warm. Is there much else we can do? Yes, we can use a steam vaporizer to alleviate breathing problems but I don’t know how effective that is. We put our cat in the bathroom when we shower but that might upset him.

Shelter cat had severe uri
Shelter cat had severe URI. He is Buttermilk and was adopted. Photo: Rocky Mountain Feline Rescue
Two useful tags. Click either to see the articles:- Toxic to cats | Dangers to cats

Cat URIs can be nasty and cause a lot of discomfort. Wouldn’t it be nice to make our cat feel a bit better? When people get colds we head for the medicine cabinet and pain killers, drying up medicines to stop the flow of water from our nose and eyes, medicines to alleviate sinus pain. There are a myriad of medicines to make us feel a bit better while our body attacks the virus and returns us to good health again.

It is possible to give pain killing pills to cats but it has to be done under veterinary supervision and with extreme care. I sense it is too dangerous to administer pain killers over quite a long period which you’ll have to do for a cat with a nasty URI. The only over-the-counter analgesic that a cat owner can buy and administer themselves is aspirin but the dosage is vitally important to avoid hurting a cat and it can only administered every three days as I understand it.

People can buy over-the-counter medicines for colds for their own use. Why can’t we do the same thing for cats? Is it only because the cat is sensitive to medicines or is it at least partly because the drug companies work with veterinarians to encourage cat owners to take their cat to the vet?

There is one “medicine” that might help alleviate the symptoms of a cat cold: L-lysine. It is an amino acid which reduces the amount of arginine in the cat. Arginine is used by the feline herpes virus to replicate.

I have just noticed that swollen nasal membranes can be shrunk using (in the US) Afrin Children’s Strength Nose Drops.

There are homeopathic medicines which may do something but I don’t believe they are much good which is why I have not included them as a viable solution.

The reason why I wrote this is because my cat is very ill and it is possibly a viral infection and I’d like to make him feel better. We are going to the vet for the fourth time this afternoon.

33 thoughts on “Alleviating the symptoms of cat upper respiratory infections”

      • IDK if there is a delay in responses appearing or if links may not be allowed. I just posted a reply and included a link to info at 1 800 petmeds. I was going to add to that comment but it is not here. So, forgive me if I am repeating myself.

        I have used chlorpheniramine for 30 years for my own sinus problems. My Los Angeles vets routinely prescribed it for my cats. We share a bottle. They get 1-2 mg every 12 hours; it takes about an hour to kick in. The comment I was going to add references the fact that the web site I mentioned gives the same dosage but says don’t crush or open the capsules. Hard to give the appropriate dosage with a capsule since it’s 4mg. Get the tablets.

        Every pharmacy has a generic version. Walgreen’s is Walfinate.

  1. when i had a mother cat with herpes virus give birth to her baby, they both were struggling to breathe. i went to the e.r. and they gave both cats oxygen therapy. the difference was night and day. not sure if it was a chamber or mask, or if it’s generally available at a standard vet’s office, but you might call around to see who provides this treatment.


Leave a Comment

follow it link and logo