Feline Pneumonia: What You Need to Know

Recognizing the Signs

Here are some typical signs of pneumonia in cats:

  • Shallow, labored or difficult breathing.
  • Rapid respiratory rate (normal for cats is 2015 to 30 breaths per minute).
  • Loss of appetite.
  • A dry, hacking cough or a wetter cough that may bring up mucus or blood.
  • Lethargy.
  • Green or cloudy yellow discharge from the nose (if the upper respiratory tract is involved).


These can also be signs of other illnesses. Any time your cat exhibits these signs, she needs a visit to the veterinarian.

After your veterinarian performs a physical exam and history, diagnostics for pneumonia may include a full blood panel and chest X-rays. Once a diagnosis is confirmed, additional tests may be recommended to help determine the underlying cause. Multiple medications may be needed to treat the infection. They can include antibiotics, drugs to help open up the airways and a nasal decongestant to help break up mucus.


Treatment can take several weeks to be successful. Cats with severe cases may require hospitalization so they can receive supportive care such as intravenous fluids and oxygen.

A bad case of pneumonia can be difficult for a cat to fight off. If the infection spreads throughout the body, other organs may become inflamed, affecting their ability to function. When things get this bad, it’s hard for these cats to recover, and their survival can be in doubt. That’s why prompt veterinary care is a must if you notice these signs in your cat.


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