But what about preventing it from happening in the first place? Here’s what we know: Most upper respiratory infections in cats are caused by one of two viruses, feline herpesvirus (FRV) and feline calcivirus (FCV). (There are other bacterial causes but they are not very common and more easily treatable.) Once in the cat’s system, even after she recovers from the initial illness, the virus can remain and can reoccur, causing what seems like chronic or sometimes intermittent “colds.”
These viruses are not generally fatal (although in young weak kittens they can be) but they are a nuisance and, as a practical matter, humane organizations have a hard time finding homes for cats that seem to have a chronic condition like this.
The good news is that there are vaccines available against these viruses and they are part of every standard vaccination recommendation. The vaccines don’t prevent 100% of infections, but they are reasonably effective and will, at a minimum, reduce the severity of infections. The incidence of these viral infections has been significantly reduced in the population of well cared for owned cats, and they are found now mostly in cats and kittens rescued from feral colonies where there have never been vaccinations. So two points, really… First, make sure your own cats are kept up to date on their recommended vaccinations. And second, support the efforts of your local humane organization to assist with feral colonies, by trapping, neutering and vaccinating them. They can be healthy, even without real homes.
The Oswego County Humane Society provides spay/neuter services and assistance, fostering and adoption of animals in urgent need, humane education programs, and information and referrals to animal lovers throughout Oswego County. Located at 29 West Seneca Street, Oswego, New York. Phone (315) 207-1070. Email: [email protected] Website: www.oswegohumane.org