Veterinary using a stethoscope on cat.

Feline Upper Respiratory Disease (URD)

At least six infectious agents are responsible for upper respiratory disease in cats, including Bordetella, the same bacterium that causes kennel cough in dogs. The primary agents in the majority of cases include the feline herpes virus (rhinotracheitis) and the feline calicivirus.

Vaccinations against these two organisms are routinely administered to cats at the time of their yearly checkup. In many parts of the country, veterinarians also routinely vaccinate for Chlamydophila felis, a bacterial agent that causes a condition known as feline pneumonitis.

However, because many other less common organisms can cause feline respiratory problems, vaccination is not a guarantee against a cat coming down with respiratory disease.