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Feline Respiratory Disease Remedies

Last Modified on Nov 13, 2014

Feline respiratory infections can be a common problem in homes with multiple cats, in catteries and especially among animal shelters and pet shops. Because the virus is airborne it can spread very swiftly from one cat to another and before too long the entire population is often infected. There are two main viruses that contribute to feline respiratory diseases, one is feline rhinotracheitus and the other is feline herpes. Symptoms may present themselves slowly in the beginning with the occasional sneeze and then progressing to a loss of appetite. The animal may begin to lose weight, become dehydrated, exhibit signs of excessive sneezing, begin to cough, may present a fever, become depressed and lethargic and produce discharge from the eyes, nose and as a result of coughing.

In homes where there are multiple cats it is wise to segregate the infected cat as soon as possible to prevent the others from contracting it.  The sooner you begin to treat the problem the better the possibility for a speedy recovery and the less chance there is that it will progress to a serious illness or even pneumonia. 

There are two homeopathic treatments that can aid in the recovery of the animal.  Use Peruvian Bark to help the cat bounce back from the weakening effects of the virus and to fight off dehydration.  Phosphate of Iron used in addition to the Peruvian bark will help relieve the cat's symptoms of sinusitis and the general effects of the virus.

Your main priority in the beginning of this virus should be to ensure that your cat does not stop eating and drinking. If necessary, attempt to force feed the animal water with a syringe and mix some sugar or corn syrup in with it to increase the sugar content, which will help to combat dehydration. When an animal is sick it is more likely to eat something that it can smell. For this reason it might be wise to feed the cat some fishy smelling canned food. If your pet is on a regular diet of dry food, the weak scent will not likely be incentive enough for it to want to eat it.

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Most Popular Feline Respiratory Disease Remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar8

User Reviews

Apple Cider Vinegar   8  0   

Posted by Gatitos And Kittens (Barcelona, Spain) on 11/11/2014

I live in spain and I have a colony of 15 cats. With the cold weather they have almost all gotten sick with FRI or URI. I am unable to pay for a vet for these kitties and obviously things like keeping them in a warm room or seperating the sick from the healthy is impossible with a feral colony so I am going to use the ACV approach. Today is going to be day one of the approach and I would like to document it as I go to help others out there. I will be doing it here and on a social network where they have a page and praying the outcome is positive. I am currently with 9 full grown adults, females are spayed, two kittens 9 months old and four kittens about 4 months old. All the sick ones are with runny nose and eyes, laboured breathing and sneezing and coughing fits. I have started treating the kittens with a 50% water to ACV on back of necks, face wash and on their food. I will try update often. Wish me luck!!

Replied by Suseeq
Sydney Australia

I think you need to try colloidial silver and put a little vicks around their nostrils but don't stop them from breathing.
Replied by Diamond

[YEA]   Gatitos; I had once captured many cats and kittens with FIV with me it didn't work out very well because I didn't have any knowledge of FIV or any sick cats/dogs at all. I took them to vets. and it cost me a huge bundle they only lived to be approx. a year but with newer advice I think this issue can be helped out a lot more. You might like to try Wild Harvest/ Goldenseal it's especially for the support of mucous membranes including the sinus's it has helped one of my cats in a great way/ also you might try probiotics such as cats claw or grape seed extract. They are both safe to take but not at the same time/s try to space these out a bit.Stay calm. Good Luck.

Posted by Tim (Jackson,ga.) on 04/01/2014

[YEA]  I just wanted tell the story of Kona, our 15+yro Siamese Bob tail Cat.She has always struggled with the changes from winter to spring, so just 3 weeks ago took her to the vet for what seemed like congestion and bad sounding cough. She received a steroid shot and we got a $70 bill. Brought her home, gave her extra care when she didn't want to be outside and she got better, was eating and drinking again.Then came the last week in March where we could not find her and by the evenings of the 25th &26th she had not did her typical routine of shredding the weather stripping at the front or rear doors after dark to come in for the night, by about 5pm on the 27th I found her sitting in our pasture on a bed of leaves with her nose pressed to the ground, wouldn't respond to being called or making noise to get her to look up, couln't see her breathing at all, I was sure she had passed away, I next climbed over the fence and as I got closer, she looked up and made a pitiful meow, she was in worse shape than in previous weeks. We quickly got her to the Vet before closing where she spent the night and was given iv fluids, antibiotics and a X ray that showed her lungs clear of issues.

After a $300 vet bill she came home that Friday the 28th. She still looked horrible, wouldn't eat or drink.Though the Vet said he thought she would be ok, everyone at home thought she was in her last days if not hours. By mid day Saturday I looked at EC's pet section, read about Apple Cider Vinegar and all of the positive stories of how it helped others pets, but I could not wrap my head around on how to treat Kono with this. Vapor? wasn't sure how to do that and She wasn't about to eat or drink anything and she wasn't going to let me force it on her, already tried getting mashed food from a baby bottle to only have it spit out.Then Sunday evening came and a plan had come to me.

First I filled a tea kettle with 1 cup water 1/2cup raw (w/mother) ACV, brought to a boil, poured a mug full and placed it in front of the pet carrier and covered all with a heavy towel to trap the vapor. I tried this a couple of times and decided it was not effective enough with little vapor and it cooling off to quickly. So next I brought the kettle back up to boil then turned down to a low simmer, placed the cat carrier with towel over it onto the counter next to the stove. Found a empty paper towel tube, then I placed over the spout of the Kettle that allowed me to direct the steam into the carrier but the cardboard will become soggy and fall apart after awhile, a heavier cardboard are a tube made of plastic would work better. I decided to offset the kettle from the eye on the (glass cook top stove) toward the carrier, carefully covering the the kettle and carrier under the towel but take caution from getting burned from steam or from the burner eye, I Do NOT Recommend trying this with a gas top stove or even a stove with a electric coiled eyes, this would be a fire hazard and possible injury to pet and owner, Please use COMMON SENSE. Leaving a opening on back of carrier to allow vapor to flow through or letting out some vapor several times in a treatment, this proved to be very effective. Did this method for less than 20minutes at a time...

Monday morning she was standing and stretching in the kennel but still had green goo coming from her eyes and still not eating or drinking. Proceeded with another vapor treatment that morning in which afterwards the green goo started to come out of her nostrils, I thought Progress, then treated again that evening, slowly but surley she started to improve to the point that she decided to drink a good bit of water and finally wanted outside, then walked around the house and went straight to the food bowl on the back deck.She chose to stay outside for the night, she didn't like the kennel thing, went to find her with a flashlight around 9:30 but she hides well.This morning about 7:30 am, April 1st she walked up the back steps into the kitchen, then went right into eating dry food.Took a nap then wanted back out again. She seems much better and more like her normal self again. Thanks to all who contribute to this site.

Posted by Zabrina (Cape Breton, NS) on 02/21/2014

I REALLY NEED HELP!!!!!! I don't have apple cider vinegar in the bottle yet but I do have the pills and they are 500mg. My 1 and a 1/2 yr.old male Maine Coon cat Rocky, has a respiratory infection. What would be the safe dose to give him? He's about 10 lbs could be a little more but only by a pound or 2. I don't have the money for a vet and what I've been seeing and hearing, antibiotics don't cure this anyway. Does aanyone out there know the dose for the pill form and if that will work till I can get him the bottle AVC?

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey Zabrina!

Sorry to hear about Rocky's URI.

Couple things for you.

Its hard to know just what Rocky has - virus or bacteria - without a qualified veterinary opinion. And, since that is not an option right now, ADV certainly applies in this case.

And, the ACV capsules, tablets or pills vary widely in efficacy as the labeling appears to be very inconsistent; hands down, the real deal is ideal and the pills do not measure up. I am not aware of any lethal dose of ACV; side effects would be upset stomach from acidity - so if using a liquid a pinch of baking soda would help with that.

That said if this were my cat and the pills were all I had, I would try dosing 1 pill at each feeding, morning and night. I would also alkalize his water by adding baking soda to the water - start with 1/2 teaspoon into 1 liter of pure non-chlorinated water and see how he takes that. If he avoids it like the plague, change the water out and try 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to the water. Once he accepts the water you can gradually increase the dose to 1/2 teaspoon per liter. Do this for 7 days, and then cut back to the 1/4 teaspoon dose.

If the symptoms you are seeing are snotty nose and discharge, keep his nostrils clear. If he is coughing consider OTC children's homeopathic cough syrup. You might also consider putting him in the bathroom and shutting it up tight and steaming him with a few drops of Tea Tree Oil in the steam water - consider more ideas for steaming options here:

Posted by Lauralea (West Memphis, Ar) on 10/24/2013

I need to know how much ACV to put on my kitty's neck for a Upper Respiratory Infection (URI). I used a cotton ball but not sure if that got enough on his neck. Cotton ball, syringe? Thank you for any help!

Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey Lauralea!

You want to first make sure you get the most effective ACV - the raw, unfiltered type with an active culture [mother] in it.

I would take a small amount - 1/2 cup say, and dilute that with 1/2 cup distilled or filtered tap water; this will cut some of the harshness on the tongue.

I then just dip my cats paws in it, or pour it on their leg and really saturate it so they have to really lick it up to work it dry. Do this twice a day, am and pm.

You can also put a few drops of ACV into your cat's water bowl; my cats will NOT touch if its more than a few drops and you for sure want your kitty to want to drink especially with an infection.

Posted by Lilahkat (Duffield, Ab) on 08/08/2013

[YEA]  Finding a stray kitten, I took him in and was raising him until I could find a new home for him. Recently he came down with an upper respiratory infection that had me worried for his life. He was having a hard time breathing, mucus was covering his nose and drying making it hard for him to breath or eat.

I knew steaming could be helpful, but I thought perhaps the 'cure-all' of apple cider vinegar would help as well. I added about a cup of pure Apple Cider Vinegar (with the mother) to a liter of boiling hot water and steamed him for approximately 20 mins in the cat carrier. Immediately afterwards, he went and drank a lot of water (which was an improvement as he was refusing to eat or drink previously). This morning when I went to look to see if I should steam him again - his nose was encrusted, so I cleaned it but after that, there is no more mucus and he's eating.

I've steamed kittens in the past with just plain water but have never had the fast turn around that I've had with little Frankie. He's resting now, more social with my other cats.

EC: Please, of course use special care in using steam treatment on pets and children. It's not always clear when they are in pain, and even adults burn themselves with steaming much too often!

Replied by Bengalmom
Nb, Texas

[YEA]   Instead of steam, which sounded effective, I tried my nebulizer. Same idea, put my cat in her carrier and approximated a 1/8th dilution in the medicine cup of raw apple cider vinegar and distilled water. I affixed the "pipe" mouthpiece and med cup with twist ties to the door and gave her a 20-25 minute treatment. I put tape over the opposite side of the mouthpiece to direct all the mist to her side. She looked better after the first treatment this morning, but her eyes were still looking junky. Repeated this afternoon and she is already acting more energetic immediately after the second treatment. This was just easier for me because I wasn't sure how to go about "steaming" her and this way no worries about burns.
Replied by Bengalmom
Nb, Tex

[YEA]   Just wanted to add an update: I would guesstimate the strength I used was closer to a 1/4 dilution the first time and used probably a 1/2 dilution the 2nd time not realizing at the moment. It was effective and caused no distress on my pet's part. All better after second treatment.

Posted by Diamond (Merrimac, Ma.) on 02/18/2011

Isn't borax used like as in ajax? also washing powder? I used the apple cider vinegar with a very sick kitten, she had upper respiratory problems, with diarrhea, vomiting leaky eyes, one eye was completely closed, I used a few drops of the cider for a week and every sign of illness is gone even the closed eye is completely open, my only worry now is her organs? plus she is no longer urinating or moving bowels?I am trying a mild herb which is my own daily fiber caps.

I just love this site it's awsome & very informative. Thank you.

EC: Read much more about borax here:

Replied by Tom
Forestville, Ny

I never would have believed that something I use in salad and on french fries would have a medicinal purpose. Our little boy has had a ruff few days and scared us a couple of times. If this works , I would need to know who to thank.

Posted by Lisa (Canton, Maine) on 03/09/2009

[YEA]  I read the comments about ACV, I have 4 very sick cats and 2 of the worst on amoxicillin (not helping at all). I gave an eyedropper full of the ACV to my worst one (Samantha) last night and it took a while, but this morning I don't see or hear her coughing and hacking, or sneezing hardly at all. She's actually sleeping right now (whew). I gave her .75- 1.0 ML in the eyedropper and had to forcefeed it. I lost my oldest cat to this sickness last Monday and all of the others caught it very quickly. Thank you for the ACV advice, I don't know yet if it's curing whatever this is, if not it's sure as hell helping alot. Thanks

Posted by Patricia (Pittsburgh, PA) on 10/13/2008

Apple Cider Vinegar & Upper Respiratory Infections in Cats

This is my third day giving my cat ACV. Although this seems to be helping just a bit, he throws up every time I give it to him & then he is nauseous for a couple hours afterward. I don't know whether I should keep giving it to him or not.. Because him throwing up twice a day is not good for him. After he throws up, I give him another dose ( which always stays down) But, still he looks sick as hell afterwards! He hates me for it. I'll keep it up for another few days or so. Hopefully it will help out more than it hurts. My cat is 16 years old & has been since for months now. Vet visits have done nearly nothing to help... I'm hoping for a miracle. I will update with the status of ACV & Figuro in one week.

Replied by Jay
New York , Ny

One answer to this is to get either empty gelatine capsules from a health food store. About an inch long. Or empty the capsules from something like acidophilus capsules and use the empty containers(Note: make sure that whatever was in the capsules beforehand is not toxic to your pet. Don't ever use or empty capsules that contained something of a drug or medical nature).

I found I could put almost half of a dropperful or 1/4 tsp of goldenseal, echinicea or ACV into the
long end of the capsule(if you pull it apart there's a short end and a long end-fill the long end and put the short end on as a cap). If, after filling the capsule you put the lid on, it is possible to,holding the capsule end to end between your thumb and index finger squeeze the filled capsule a little and it makes it 3/4" long not one inch. If your cat can swallow something of that size greased with a little butter,it's an excellent way to get ACV,echinicea, goldenseal down them without them tasting the bitter taste.

Note: some cats have a very small mouth and very small throat, or mucus, etc at the back of the throat so check the size of the capsule that it is not large enough to block the throat or can cause added difficulty. Look for a smaller capsule or don't use this approach if that is the case.

Replied by Shelly

I have a 1 yr old /10 lb Male Neutered cat by the name of Max, He's an indoor/outdoor cat, is up to date on his shots. However we noticed this past week he can't hardly meow real loud, and now he is doing a coughing/gaggin noise. I think he has an upper-respiratory infection/virus. What is hard for me, and I am not working at the moment, and I don't have the money for the vet. So if I can figure out a way to help my furbaby in anyway naturally, that would mean the world to me. Well today I gave him L-Lysine 500mg today that was told to me by the rescue group in my county. However I didn't know anything about about giving them Apple Vinegar Cider, or even using it in a steam or nebulizer, I think that is amazing. However instead of all that-Can you use 1/4 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar in a medicine seringe and just shot it to the back of their throat, it would be alot quicker than trying to get them to eat a pill, unless of course you think it might burn. If using Echinacea, how much do you use. Do I need to give him the AVC, Lysine and Echinacea all at the same time, same day, etc. Any suggestions is helpful. Thank, Shelly
Replied by Theresa
Mpls., Mn

Hey Shelly!

The lysine provided to you from the rescue group is a remedy used to treat feline herpes -the symptoms of which *sound* like what your cat has. Continue feeding that, in wet food if you have it, along with the Echinacea - which tastes really awful so you need to disguise the taste.

You should use a warm cloth to clean the gunk from his nose and eyes and keep him comfy.

ACV can be given more directly - syringe - but you want to dilute it as straight ACV is pretty harsh and you cat might just throw it right back up due to the acidity. Try mixing 2-3 teaspoons into 8 ounces of pure water and see if you can get that down via syringe over the course of a couple hours.

Read up on feline herpes to see if this is what your cat may have:

Posted by Regina (Mountain Home, Idaho) on 09/23/2008

[YEA]  Out of my 5 cats, 4 of them came up with Upper Respitory Infection. Since I couldn't afford Vet bills and meds for 4 cats, I searched the internet and found this site with it's testimonies of using ACV to treat URI's. So I began rubbing it into the scruff of the necks of my kitties and putting about a teaspoon into their drinking water. I also rubbed a little on their front paws so that they would lick it out. Within hours, the two with leaky eyes were cleared up and I noticed a change in appetite and energy in all of them. Now, 2 days later they still sneeze a little but no leaky eyes or runny nose, no lethargy or lack of appetite, no wheezing and hacking. I had used the ACV on their necks and paws every 12 hours and changed their water daily, putting new ACV in. This stuff stinks terribly but it truly does work. I plan on keeping some in their water for at least the next few weeks and might continue after that just to keep them healthy.

Replied by Rocky's Mum
Mullumbimby, Nsw

[YEA]   Thank you for your post!

My cornish rex has had a snuffle/sneeze/cough sort of thing for many months now but if I put ACV in their water bowls, all my animals go on a water fast and I've never been able to get it into them!

...until I read your post on simply putting it on their paws...evil...perhaps!

After I applied the ACV and she took her first distainful lick she must have sneezed about 8 times in a row... And then never again! and it's now the end of day three. Miraculous.

Replied by Kim
Ca, US

Thank you for your testimony. It is 9:00 pm Sunday eve. I just rubbed ACV on my 4 mo. old kitten. I will check back in a couple hours. I hope this works.

Goldenseal   1  0   

Posted by Tia (Eugene, Oregon) on 08/09/2008

[YEA]  A long time ago, my parents stumbled across the medicinal properties of Goldenseal. Last year, during the rainy Oregon winter, a 1/2 feral litter of kittens started trying to find shelter on my porch. Not long after they started coming around, the mother left them (went into heat i assume) and came back with a hellish upper respiratory infection. She proceeded to spread it to the whole litter. I had no money to take them to a vet, and they were dying of it. I wasn't sure if the Goldenseal would be poisonous to them, but I figured they were so bad off, it was worth a try. I used the liquid extract, started small, maybe one dropperfull to two cans of wet food, and eventually raised it to 3 droppersfull (between 1 adult and 5 3-4 month old kittens). They improved from even the smaller amounts, and improved drastically from higher dosages. Although for those that couldn't smell the wet food, i had to mix a few drops in canned salmon or tuna juice to get them to eat it. It didn't harm them. I swear by the stuff now, and have used it on my own indoor cats (though I've never gotten them to take it without forcing them.) Everyone should be aware that goldenseal doesn't just work on humans.

Replied by Jay
New York, Ny

Goldenseal cannot be used for longterm use. It's fine for up to five days, no more than 7 days. If giving it again you have to wait a couple of weeks. Echinicea tincture might be a substitute during that time but, again, no more than 7 days for echinicea or it loses its effectiveness so you have to switch to something else. You can switch back after a couple of
weeks. It might not be necessary to even give this more than seven days, echinicea or goldenseal because it works quickly. There's even an echinicea/goldenseal tincture out but with that too, no more than seven days so it might be an idea to start with goldenseal or echinicea and if you have to give it longer than 7 days you can switch from one to the other.

Lysine   1  0   

Posted by Sharron (Mukilteo, Wa) on 03/07/2008

[YEA]  My cat has a chronic repiratory condition. He got it as a kitten and never got over it. The main symptom is sneezing and lots of runny nose and eyes. His appetite his good and he is healthy other wise. I maintain it by adding Lysine to his food. If I don't it gets bad and he has to go in to the vet. Any recommendations for this Sharron.

Replied by Jayjay
New York, Ny

Re upper respiratory infections. There's a medication that is given for pets who have asthma, it will clear outthe nasal passages and mucus accumulations in the chest, bronchial tubes, etc in about four hours. The pet will then be able to cough up if there's anything that remains or starts to accumulate again but if the mucus is too much the pet can't. This medication helps to dispel the mucus and enable the pet to cough up also once it's manageable. One injection lasts 7 days, In combination with an injectable antibiotic that lasts two weeks it gets cats over cat flu and other respiratory problems fast. I can't name the name of products so just ask you vet if the congestion is really bad in chest or nasal passages for the injection for asthma that will clear it( It begins with a C). It will, at least, be able to give you a handle on it until you can get other things in place.
Replied by Dmg
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Just wanted to let people know that lysine is great but I found out it competes with theanine in the cat's body - which is an essential amino acid, without it they will die or get very sick - so make sure you don't give the lysine constantly.

I have found there is a pet safe (made for humans) liquid mineral supplement that really helped my rescue kittens get better quite amazingly when they got very sick. I like it too. The company starts with a ms and is in new mexico.

Replied by Rescuer
Bend, Or

I found the best treatment of a cat severely ill with feline respiratory disease was true colloidal silver and L-Lysine mixed with water I broke open a capsule mixed with a bit of water and administered with an eye dropper or if cat is still eating on their own--mix it in canned cat food or tuna--turkey baby food works well

Marigold Seed Tea   1  0   

Posted by Coko (West Sacramento, Ca) on 05/11/2013

[YEA]  I have an adoptive mommy who has done wild animal recue on multiple species for over 30 yrs. The go-to cure she uses for animals & humans is Marigold. It's a natural antibiotic that animals and humans cannot build a resistance to. The seeds are best, but the leaves & stems will work also. Boil 1/4 cup water and make a tea from the seeds or stems/leaves. Let it steep for a few minutes (it won't get super dark, just a light golden yellow color). Strain out the seeds/stems/leaves. I've dropped in on both my cat and dog's eyes when they get colds. I've used it on myself as well. Eye's clear up within 24 hrs or sooner. I've had them (cat & dog) drink it, and I drink it as well if I'm not feeling well.

I feed & water about 10 stray cats in the neighborhood and put marigold tea in their common water dish once in awhile. I will be trying the ACV in the water tomorrow b/c 2 of the strays sound like they're having respiratory issues. I'm glad I stumbled onto this site. I wanted to share w/everyone about the marigold seed tea.


DISCLAIMER: Our readers offer information and opinions on Earth Clinic, not as a substitute for professional medical prevention, diagnosis, or treatment. Please consult with your physician, pharmacist, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested by anyone on this site. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or pharmacist can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or diagnose your particular medical history.

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