I have written up this page as U.R.I.‘s are the single thing I get the most amount of people asking for help with, and from all over the world. Firstly, please understand that I am not a professional and I always recommend that you obtain professional advice if there is a health problem … and preferably from a Holistic type of Veterinarian. Below is my own understanding and thoughts only, on Cat Flu – URI’s in cats:
Upper Respiratory Infections in cats are really, really common nowadays. My personal belief is that multi-generational vaccinations, poor & inappropriate commercial cat food, and generations of highly pesticide treating our cats have taken it’s toll, and as a result our poor kitties have a much weaker immune system than they had just 30 or 40 years ago. And as we over-treat again and again, each generation becomes weaker as a result.
There are many different types and different strains of URI, these include Calici virus, Feline Herpes, Feline Infectious Enteritis/Panleucopenia, and Feline Chlamydia. Most are usually diagnosed by a vet as simply “Cat Flu“. Symptoms for the one disease can appear differently in each individual. URI’s are highly contagious, and as well as being passed on by contact – they are airborne too (e.g. it just takes a sneeze!).
That’s the reason I keep my kittens that have just been to the vet for de-sexing in a separate little cattery away from the house & younger kittens and the other cats. A passing neighborhood cat with an upper respiratory infection may have a sneeze, which is just enough to infect your kitty. Cat Shows and visits to the Vet’s are also playing Russian roulette.
So, at best Cat Flu is something that most breeders and cat owners will have to deal with at some stage. A lot of breeders heavily supplement with an essential amino acid – L Lysine, as a prevention and/or treatment for URI’s. My understanding is that L Lysine is only of any help if the virus is Feline Herpes, although it may somewhat lessen symptoms in other forms of URI. L Lysine prevents the Herpes virus from replicating, therefore decreasing symptoms. However, it does not cure the disease itself or remove it from the cat’s system.
As L Lysine competes with L Argenine in the body, which is also an essential amino acid, I am hesitant to use it myself especially on a permanent basis. I prefer to just feed the best food I can, which supplies a wide range of nutrients. I reckon that supplementation of any form can present it’s own problems – unless you are a rocket scientist!
Usually the first sign a cat is getting an upper respiratory infection or URI is a quite obvious pink or reddish rim on their eye(s), then a swollen-weepy eye(s), runny nose etc. Sometimes you will only notice a very slight coloration to the rim of the eye but no symptoms develop further – this is good as it means your kitty’s immune system is handling the Cat Flu very well.
Sneezing usually occurs, in a mild case of Cat Flu this may be only once or twice an hour or so, or it may be frequent and violent. Some cats will have temperature, and this will need to be managed. I have found that if Homeopathic Aconite 200C (aqueous) is given at the very first sign of any temperature, usually the temperature (and often the disease) will not progress. I have also found that Kali Bi (also a Homeopathic Remedy) can be of great help if used early in the infection period of a URI.
What I have noticed is that vaccinated cats who develop upper respiratory infection‘s tend to have worse symptoms and seem to be more prone to go on to become carriers. A carrier is when symptoms will tend to flare up regularly for the rest of their lives. Especially if they are treated with anti-biotics; the anti-biotic will stop the symptoms initially, but also knocks the cat’s immune system around a little, the symptoms come back a couple of weeks later and it can become a vicious circle.
Well, as I see it there are two choices of action:
Let nature run it’s course, and provide supportive care – which is what I do. My kittens are all given the Homeopathic Nosode URI 30c as a prophylactic (preventative) starting at 5 weeks old. Nosodes will probably not prevent them getting a URI, but it will help prepare their body to respond in the best possible way. If any kitten does catch an upper respiratory infection or URI, I also use the Nosodes for treatment of the disease itself.
Kittens that are raised naturally should have a good immune system forming and without any drugs/vaccines or other nasties which depress their immune systems, they can normally can handle these URI symptoms quite well. Symptoms will be mild to almost non-existent, although I have found that an occasional odd sneeze may persist for a month or two. Just keep feeding good raw food, and deal with any symptoms as naturally as possible – allowing and encouraging the body to defend and heal itself.
Swollen, runny, weepy eyes can be just gently bathed with warm water and a little colloidal silver added, an eye Herbal such as Eyebright made into a weak tea, or even just a weak, plain black tea solution. If sneezing is bad, and the nose is becoming blocked – I would place the kitten in a warm room with lots of humidity. If the nose is quite blocked, the cat may be unable to smell food and then you need to make sure it is eating and getting plenty of fluids so as not to become dehydrated. Remember to always seek advice if your cat’s symptoms are bad.
A vet would prescribe antibiotics which will stop the symptoms only – but being virus’s antibiotics will not remove the disease itself – so there is no actual cure here. And it will most probably come back at some stage. This is why your new kitten may suddenly develop an upper respiratory infection after you have had her home for a couple of weeks and she has had no exposure to other cats since you got her. In my personal opinion, antibiotic treatment often leads to URI’s becoming chronic rather than acute.
However, if your kitten develops very bad symptoms, and URI’s can be nasty and even life threatening in some individuals, please do get professional advice and preferably from a Holistic type of Veterinarian.
Often, Homeopathic treatment will be a better choice than the URI Nosode.
With cat viruses, vaccines are not really all that effective.
However, there are a number of homeopathic remedies available that help to strengthen the immune system, and are specific to viral diseases.
KittyHealth.com editor much prefers this holistic approach to health in cats.
Please leave your experience with Cat Flu below: