Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats: 5 Foods You Need to Keep in Mind

2 comments Nov 18, 2022by Suzie Cyrenne


Upper respiratory infection in cats is a disease that your feline family member could be exposed to at least once in his lifetime. Although it is not as severe compared to most feline health problems, this illness can still be potentially serious in very young cats as well as those already in their senior years.

Here’s the thing, though. A lot of people mistakenly think that steering clear from feline upper respiratory infection is all about reaching for conventional medicines. They seem to overlook the fact that there are actually natural foods you can use to keep this disease at bay.

Make sure you follow along because I’m going to walk you through what these natural foods are in just a few moments. But before we get to the good stuff, let’s start things off by finding out what exactly upper respiratory infection in cats is…


What is Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats?

Upper respiratory infection in cats—also referred to as feline URI—is a disease that can be likened to that of the human cold. While all cats can be prone to this health issue, it is more widespread among young kittens whose immune systems are not that developed yet as well as older felines that have weakened immune responses.

Although feline upper respiratory infection is hardly ever life-threatening, there are some very rare cases where it can set off more serious lung problems like pneumonia. This just goes to show that being prepared plays a key role when it comes to feline URI.

Now we’ve got that covered, let’s check out the possible causes of upper respiratory infection in cats…


What Causes Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats?

Feline URI’s are generally brought about by either a viral or bacterial infection. Statistics show that most cases of upper respiratory infection in cats are caused by the Feline calicivirus (FCV) as well as the Feline herpesvirus (FHV or FHV-1).

However, bacteria such as the Bordetella bronchiseptica, mycoplasma, and the feline chlamydiosis can also trigger upper respiratory infection in cats. It’s even not uncommon that your feline family member could be infected with more than one virus or bacteria that causes cat URI.

Next, I’ll walk you through the symptoms of upper respiratory infection in cats that you need to take note of…


What are the Signs of Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats?

The following are the most common indicators that your feline family member is going through a case of upper respiratory infection in cats:

  • Sudden lethargy
  • Fever
  • Continuous bouts of sneezing
  • Coughing and bad breath
  • Presence of eye and nasal discharge
  • Runny nose
  • Sores in and around the oral area
  • Unexpected loss of appetite
  • Vomiting and diarrhea

For the next part of the discussion, let’s talk about the risk factors to keep an eye on when it comes to feline upper respiratory infection…


Upper Respiratory Infection in Cats Risk Factors to Take Note Of

Like I explained earlier, all cats are prone to acquiring feline URI at some point of their lives. However, the risk of getting the disease is much higher for the following:

  • Very young kittens that still don’t have fully developed immune systems
  • Senior and immunosuppressed cats
  • Felines living in a large group, like that of a feral cat colony or a rescue center
  • Several cats living alongside one another in a single domestic setting

Now let’s determine how long feline URI’s typically last…


How Long Do Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats Usually Last?

Upper respiratory infections in cats normally persist for a minimum of seven (7) days to as much as twenty-one (21) days in some cases. Besides the age of the feline affected, this duration can also depend on factors like if a cat is immunosuppressed or was already down with some other disease before the URI.

Moreover, it is crucial to keep in mind that a cat can easily transmit the disease to other cats this entire time.

What’s really interesting is that the majority of cases involving upper respiratory infections in cats will tend to resolve themselves, particularly when the affected felines are generally of good health and are not going through other wellness problems.

However, it is a different story when the affected cat is either very young or quite old, or perhaps experiencing some other health problem when the URI in felines unexpectedly got in the picture.

But the thing is regardless of your pet’s age or overall health status, a cat experiencing feline URI should still be given proper care and attention since the possibility that this disease will get worse without warning won’t go away.

And speaking of giving your pet the proper care and attention, let me walk you through the natural foods you can use to make your feline family member more resilient against upper respiratory infection in cats…


Are There Foods That Can Make a Cat More Resilient Against Upper Respiratory Infection?

Absolutely! And I’ve made a quick list of what these are so you can add them to your home pet care checklist as soon as possible:


Blueberries help keep oxidative damage at bay.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) highlights that blueberries are so rich in antioxidants called anthocyanins, they have been seen to “protect lung tissue from oxidative damage” in a number of laboratory tests.

Moreover, apart from the respiratory protection that anthocyanins provide, these antioxidants are also deemed as potent anti-inflammatory agents and may help keep heart disease and type 2 diabetes at bay

Adding a maximum of two or three blueberries to your cat’s meals per day will already do the trick.


Fatty fish help lessen the risk of pulmonary disease.

Another NCBI study reveals that there is a link between the consumption of fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and the prevention of pulmonary issues like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD.

The proponents of the study theorize that this may be due to the added antioxidant defenses that Omega-3 fatty acids provide, which help deal with potentially toxic or inflammatory oxidants in the respiratory system.

Examples of fatty fish you can use include trout, herring, cod, mackerel, sardine, and salmon. Make sure you get rid of the bones first and cook the fish plainly without any added flavoring or seasoning before serving it to your feline family member.


Lentils and beans help boost lung function and resilience against inflammations.

In a different study published in the NCBI, it was pointed out that lentils and beans are loaded with very high levels of fiber that not just help promote optimal digestive health, but also keep respiratory wellness in the pink.

The said study showed that the rich amounts of fiber in beans and lentils “attenuate systemic inflammation significantly, which has previously been linked to susceptibility to COPD and lung cancer.”

Boiling the beans and lentils in plain water for at least fifteen (15) minutes or until they take on a soft consistency is highly recommended. A teaspoon of these legumes will already be sufficient for the whole day.


Olive oil helps maintain the elasticity of lung airways.

The Wiley Online Library emphasizes that the regular consumption of olive oil is seen to have a correlation with a reduced risk of asthma as well as other respiratory diseases. It is hypothesized that this may be due to its rich amounts of Vitamin E and polyphenols, which are known anti-inflammatory antioxidants.

Integrating half a tablespoon of olive oil per day to your feline family member’s meals will already do the trick. However, make sure you mix it as thoroughly as possible with his food so it won’t end up at the bottom of the bowl.


Yogurt helps prevent decline in lung function.

As reported by the NCBI, a study conducted in Japan shows that adults who regularly had high calcium intake had a lesser risk of becoming prone to respiratory problems like COPD. One of the foods pinpointed in the study was yogurt.

Adding in no more than one teaspoon of yogurt a day to your feline family member’s meals will already give him the amount of calcium he needs to keep upper respiratory infection in cats at bay.

And while we’re on the subject of natural options to deal with feline URI, here’s a product you should consider including in your home pet care checklist:


A Natural Product You Should Consider When Keeping Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats at Bay


Zumalka’s Breathe-EZ (Clear) - Advanced provides a three-fold approach when it comes to upper respiratory infection in cats: support respiratory health, increase oxygen supply in the airways, as well as promote balanced hydration of the body and tissues.

Breathe-EZ (Clear) - Advanced is also designed to reduce sneezing, alleviate breathing difficulties, ease irritated nostrils, and relieve nasal secretions that could be prevalent when feline URI’s such as coryza in cats unexpectedly get in the picture.


Now we’ve got that covered, how about we tackle some frequently asked questions about upper respiratory infection in cats?



Is my cat sick if he keeps sneezing?

The short answer is it depends.

Besides being an indicator of upper respiratory infection in cats, sneezing is also an involuntary action your feline family member does when he gets in contact with substances and particles that may irritate his nose. Chances are your precious pet has a case of feline URI if he is continuously sneezing for days or displays other symptoms of the disease.

How did my indoor cat get an upper respiratory infection?

Notwithstanding the fact that your feline family member always stays indoors, he could still be prone to upper respiratory infection in cats by being in contact with contaminated items such as beddings, collars, toys, litter boxes, and food bowls.

Are upper respiratory infections contagious in cats?

The short answer is yes.

I just can’t emphasize this enough. Feline URI’s are extremely contagious and can be easily passed on from one cat to another in just a short span of time. It is crucial that you give your pet the proper care and attention he needs when you notice the indicators of this health problem.

Are upper respiratory infections in cats fatal?

The short answer is no.

Upper respiratory infection in cats is not fatal. This disease can be easily resolved if the affected feline is given proper care and attention immediately. Although there are cases where cats afflicted with the Feline calicivirus (FCV) can end up getting pneumonia, these are still very rare.

Can upper respiratory infection in cats be passed on to humans?

The short answer is no.

Feline URI’s are “species specific,” which basically means that they can only be transmitted from one cat to another and cannot be passed on to humans. However, it is still highly recommended to practice safe hygiene and cleaning when you notice your feline family member going through upper respiratory infection to keep the whole thing in check.


A Final Word

Although there’s a chance that your feline family member could be at risk of upper respiratory infection in cats at some point in his life, having an idea of the natural foods to help him become more resilient against this disease is definitely an advantage.

Looking to learn more about how homeopathy can help you give your beloved pet the quality of life you’ve always wanted? Make sure you check out our Online Homeopathic Consultation right now.

Besides being specific to your pet and helps you get to the root of the problem instead of just treating the symptoms, our Online Homeopathic Consultation also works well for all types of conditions—especially for pets dealing with multiple, chronic or behavioral issues.




About the author

Suzie Cyrenne
Suzie Cyrenne


Suzie Cyrenne has dedicated more than 20 years of her life in making and improving natural animal health solutions in the global setting.

Being the co-founder of Zumalka, Suzie is a forerunner in enhancing the lives of pets through natural and homeopathic options using the knowledge she has gained from the Classical Homeopathy School in Quebec.

Through the guidance of her mother-in-law and fellow natural health expert, Denyse Lessard, Suzie constantly devotes herself to create premium pet products that are aimed at dealing with the root causes of wellness problems and not just their symptoms.

Besides immersing herself in books, personal development and visiting new places, Suzie also enjoys keeping herself in tiptop shape by snowboarding and taking daily hikes with her husband and Zumalka co-founder, Matt Lessard, and their Golden-Doodle, Westin.

Find out more about Suzie when you click HERE.


  • Zumalka January 26, 2024 at 4:09 pm

    Hi Martha,
    You can contact us at support@zumalka.com or 1 (855) 999-7609

    Hope to hear from you soon !

  • Martha January 26, 2024 at 4:08 pm
    Do you have an email and/or website for your homeopathic care?

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