Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Upper respiratory infection in cats: Popoki's path to health

Popoki is recovering from her upper respiratory infection
Ask shelter managers to name their most vexing issue, and most would probably start talking about upper respiratory infection in cats. This illness, which is a lot like a human cold, is super common in a shelter in which many cats live in close conditions, under a great deal of stress.

While we might think of colds as routine and common, they can have a devastating impact on a cat's outlook on life. Here's how Popoki looked at her dinner on the first day I brought her home, for example.

Cat feels too sick with a cold to eat and she glares at me

Yeah, she's not planning to eat that dinner. And while it's a little funny (look at that pout!), cats that don't eat can become cats with very serious kidney problems or cats that develop weakness and muscle problems. In short, it's pretty darn serious.

So Popoki came here for some rest and relaxation. And she's also been taking some medications in order to treat her cold. She also thinks those medications are playthings.

Popoki the cat plays with her cold medications
"Can I eat it?"
Popoki the cat playing with her medications
"Can I break it?"
While upper respiratory infection in cats moves around a kennel like a virus, there are some bacterial infections that can cause cats to wuffle and sneeze. And some cats with viral colds develop secondary bacterial infections that can make them quite sick. So where a doctor might not treat a human cold with antibiotics, a veterinarian might very well treat a cat cold with antibiotics. It could make all the difference.

And Popoki is proof. Here's how she looked when she first came to me.

Popoki the cat with an upper respiratory infection

Note the watery eyes, the red face, the gloomy look and the pouty mouth. This is a cat that just really feels terrible.

And here's a photo I took of Popoki this morning, when she noticed that her food bowl was empty.

Cat wants food in her food bowl

Her eyes are wide open, her face isn't so crammed with tears and she's perky enough to show a little attitude. A safe, non-shelter place to heal, along with some medications and TLC, have helped her to turn the corner. And boy, am I glad of that!


  1. I didn't know upper respiratory infection was so frequent in shelter cat. Popoki does seems a lot better and I'm sure that with all your love and attention she will completely healed soon!

  2. She’s so cute. When the peeps adopted Autumn, she developed a URI the first week they had her.

    1. I think stress makes these guys a little more susceptible (even when it's stress from something good, like an adoption!)

  3. Yippee! She looks great. XOCK, Lily Olivia, Mauricio, Misty May, Giulietta, Fiona, Astrid, Lisbeth and Calista Jo

  4. I deal with URI all the time, I am glad to hear she is feeling better

    1. I'll bet you do see more than your fair share of URI! Seems to be pretty common among stressed kitties, from what I understand. And the rehoming process is nothing if not stressful!