Upper Respiratory Illness in Rescue Cats and Kittens

Thank you for adopting a cat or kitten from Shelter Pet Partners, (SPP).  If your pet was spayed or neutered recently, please follow the post-operative instructions given to you.


It is essential that you isolate your new pet for a minimum of 3 days. That means that it should be in a room by itself, withrequired food, water, litter box, etc., until it becomes used to the new environment. This will reduce stress.  Human contact is essential; however the pet should not be introduced to other animals in the house until after the isolation period.  


Cats and kittens are prone to developing respiratory tract illness under stress. Remember that the animal is going through a tough period. They have spent time in a shelter, gone to a foster home, then had surgery, and then introduced to a new, permanent, but unfamiliar home. With surgery, it is somewhat likely that a cat or kitten may develop a respiratory illness.


In most cases, the illness is a viral infection that will last for approximately 1-2 weeks, depending on the individual cat or kitten. Symptoms include sneezing, discharge from the nose and/or eyes, coughing, fever, lack of appetite, and lethargy. Treatment depends upon the severity of the symptoms and is usually targeted at controlling symptoms to keep your pet comfortable and to maintain a good appetite. Your veterinarian will prescribe an appropriate treatment.


Unfortunately, in foster care, we cannot predict which cats or kittens will develop the illness, or which ones will have severe
symptoms. Prior to surgery and anesthesia, a physical examination is performed by our veterinarians to screen for any evidence of illness.  However, an animal can appear healthy with a normal body temperature on the day of surgery or adoption and can break out with upper respiratory illness the next day.


If your new cat or kitten develops an upper respiratory infection, the best thing that you can do for it is to have it examined
by your veterinarian to begin treatment as soon as possible. Delaying treatment can result in more severe symptoms in some cats.


At home with you, most cats or kittens will recover in a week or so, and will become healthy, loving pets.


If you have any questions, we can be reached at:

Phone: (619) 866-6035

Email:  shelterpetpartners@gmail.com   

Web:   http://www.shelterpetpartners.org

Mail:   Shelter Pet Partners, PO Box 2054, El Cajon, CA  92021  


Congratulations on the newest member of your family!