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Kennel Cough in Cats

Kennel Cough in Cats

Kennel cough is a common respiratory illness in dogs. What people don't know, is the fact that it is not just limited to dogs. It can affect cats as well. In this CatAppy article, we will have an in-depth look at this medical condition with respect to felines.
Batul Nafisa Baxamusa
Animals are a lot like humans when it comes to health problems. Most of us are animal lovers and love to keep a pet or two. The cat is by far the most common house pet; dog lovers may disagree, but let's leave that for some other day.

Cats are gracious and aristocratic. Once you bring home a cat, be sure that your home does not belong to you anymore; but to your cat. They will come in as they wish, go out when they want. When you give it a long lecture on its responsibility as a pet, it will just disdainfully look at you and go back to its usual endeavors. I know, my cat always gives me a bored look when I ask him to behave!

Today, most of the pet owners are working and need to travel for personal and professional meetings. Thus, many leave their pet cats in kennels and cattery. In these places, pets are exposed to many other canines and felines, who might be suffering from various health problems. You never know which animal is sick and suffering from conditions like kennel cough, which is known to be highly contagious.

Do Cats Contract Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough is caused due to a bacterial species called Bordetella bronchiseptica, which infects the back of the mouth and throat of the animal. It is an airborne disease, and is highly contagious in nature. Like we said earlier, the condition doesn't just affect dogs―though it's common in them and hence, the name―but also affects cats. Cats with a weak immune system and kittens can develop very serious complications, which may even result in death. That, however, doesn't mean healthy cats are immune to this condition.


There are many symptoms of kennel cough, but persistent, dry, hacking cough is by far the most obvious symptom of the same. Other symptoms include -:
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Ocular discharge
  • Sneezing
  • Fever
Just as each individual cat is different, symptoms also differ from one cat to another. While some cats exhibit a few of these symptoms, others may exhibit all of them.

Kittens contracting the illness may die within 12 hours of the development of symptoms. In adult cats, this condition is rarely fatal, but it can lead to a secondary illness, such as pneumonia, which may eventually lead to death. As their immune system is weakened, the chances of leukemia or feline immunodeficiency virus cannot be ruled out. The development and severity of symptoms will depend on each individual cat's immune system.


In cats, the treatment of this condition involves administering antibiotics, like Clavamox and Baytril, which have minimal side effects. The vet may recommend antibiotic treatment for 2 to 3 weeks, depending on the severity of the condition. Kennel cough is generally not very problematic, but if the cat shows discomfort, then it is better to consult a vet.


Kennel cough can be prevented by subjecting the cat to vaccination when it's about 4 weeks old. You can consult a vet for more information on the same. You will have to quarantine your cat from other animals for a few days as the illness may spread to them. Cats can contract this illness from both, felines and canines.

Proper care can help your cat develop a healthy immune system and keep various health problems at bay. The cat's health should be a priority for all cat owners. Even though these 'purry' felines have a feisty attitude, they can easily fall prey to various illnesses.

Disclaimer: This CatAppy article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.