Upper respiratory infections (URI) in cats are caused by highly contagious viruses. There are vaccines to prevent or minimize this cat illness in felines, and most commonly URIs occur in cats who have not been vaccinated.
The most common clinical signs of a URI include sneezing, coughing, runny nose and/or excess discharge from the eyes. If you notice your cat is displaying any of these signs you should bring your furry friend to your vet to determine what is going on. If the problem is more serious than a passing viral infection, additional treatment may be necessary to keep your cat happy and healthy.
VCA Animal Hospitals reports that most URIs last 7 to 10 days and most are fully resolved within 3 weeks. However, some cats can develop chronic upper respiratory tract infections, which present with similar clinical signs but tend to last longer than a typical URI or recur every few weeks. These infections can be very challenging to treat and often require long term medical therapy to help prevent recurrences.