Cold Symptoms in Kittens

    Colds in kittens are usually caused by a virus.  Calicivirus and Feline Herpes Virus 1 are usually the culprits.  The most common clinical signs are sneezing, runny eyes, loss of appetite and a runny nose. Ulcers on the nose and lips are also seen with calicivirus.  These symptoms last 7 – 10 days.   Sometimes, the ocular discharge is so bad that it actually glues the eyelids together.  Without treatment, the eye might rupture leaving the kitten blind.   
    The good news is that it is easy to prevent viral infections with a few precautions.  First, vaccinate the queen before she becomes pregnant and immunity will pass from her to the kittens through her milk.  Second, vaccinate kittens against these viruses.  Depending upon the situation, I start kittens on their boosters at 6-8 weeks.  Third, do not expose kittens to other cats until they have received all of their boosters.  Wash hands thoroughly before working with young kittens and make sure you are wearing clean clothes.  When I raise orphan kittens, I wash my hands for ten minutes and put on a protective gown before working with them.  

Here is a link to a video I did for on this topic. 

Published by kristennelsondvm

Dr. Kristen Nelson grew up on a farm in Watertown, Minn., where she developed a deep love for animals of all kinds. She received a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree from the University of Minnesota, College of Veterinary Medicine. Kris then completed a small-animal internship at the prestigious Animal Medical Center in New York City. In addition to writing and speaking, she cares for small and exotic animals in Scottsdale, Az. Dr. Nelson is widely quoted in the media. Her credits include Ladies’ Home Journal, USA TODAY, the Los Angeles Times and numerous radio and television interviews. Dr. Nelson has written two books, Coated With Fur: A Vet’s Life and Coated With Fur: A Blind Cat’s Love. Kris and her husband Steve share their home with rescued cats, birds and a dog.