How to Get Rid of Kennel Cough in Cats: A Comprehensive Guide

What is Kennel Cough?

Kennel cough, also known as infectious tracheobronchitis, is a highly contagious respiratory infection that affects cats. It is caused by a combination of viruses and bacteria, including the feline herpesvirus, feline calicivirus, and Bordetella bronchiseptica. Kennel cough spreads easily in environments where cats are in close proximity, such as shelters, boarding facilities, and multi-cat households.

Common symptoms of kennel cough in cats include:

  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Fever
  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite

How to Diagnose Kennel Cough in Cats

If you suspect your cat has kennel cough, it is important to consult with a veterinarian for a proper diagnosis. The vet will perform a physical examination and may recommend additional tests, such as a complete blood count, chest X-rays, or a PCR test to identify the specific pathogens causing the infection.

How to Treat Kennel Cough in Cats

The treatment for kennel cough in cats primarily focuses on alleviating symptoms and supporting the cat’s immune system to fight off the infection. Here are some common treatment options:

1. Antibiotics

If the kennel cough is caused by a bacterial infection, the veterinarian may prescribe antibiotics to target the specific bacteria involved. It is important to complete the full course of antibiotics as prescribed to ensure the infection is fully eradicated.

2. Antiviral Medications

In cases where the kennel cough is caused by a viral infection, antiviral medications may be prescribed to help control the symptoms and reduce the duration of the illness.

3. Cough Suppressants

To provide relief from the persistent cough, the veterinarian may recommend cough suppressants. These medications help reduce the frequency and severity of coughing episodes, allowing the cat to rest and recover.

4. Supportive Care

Supportive care plays a crucial role in the treatment of kennel cough. It includes providing a comfortable and stress-free environment for the cat, ensuring they have access to fresh water and nutritious food, and closely monitoring their condition for any signs of deterioration.

Preventing Kennel Cough in Cats

Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to kennel cough. Here are some measures you can take to reduce the risk of your cat contracting the infection:

  • Vaccination: Ensure your cat is up to date on their vaccinations, including the feline herpesvirus and calicivirus vaccines. These vaccines can significantly reduce the severity of the infection if your cat is exposed to the pathogens.
  • Isolation: If you have multiple cats, consider isolating any sick cats from the healthy ones to prevent the spread of the infection.
  • Hygiene: Practice good hygiene by regularly cleaning and disinfecting your cat’s bedding, litter box, and food and water bowls.
  • Avoidance: Avoid taking your cat to crowded places where they may come into contact with infected cats, such as boarding facilities or shelters.


Q: Can kennel cough in cats be transmitted to humans?

A: No, kennel cough in cats is not zoonotic, meaning it cannot be transmitted to humans. However, it can be transmitted to other cats, so it is important to take precautions to prevent the spread of the infection.

Q: How long does it take for a cat to recover from kennel cough?

A: The recovery time for kennel cough in cats varies depending on the severity of the infection and the overall health of the cat. In most cases, cats recover within 1-3 weeks with appropriate treatment and supportive care.

Q: Are there any home remedies for kennel cough in cats?

A: While there are no specific home remedies for kennel cough, you can help alleviate your cat’s symptoms by providing a warm and humid environment, ensuring they stay hydrated, and offering soft and easily digestible food.

Q: Can my cat get kennel cough even if they have been vaccinated?

A: Vaccination greatly reduces the risk and severity of kennel cough in cats, but it does not provide 100% protection. There are multiple pathogens that can cause kennel cough, and the vaccines may not cover all of them. However, vaccinated cats are generally more resistant to the infection.

Q: When should I take my cat to the vet for kennel cough?

A: It is recommended to take your cat to the vet if they exhibit symptoms of kennel cough, especially if the symptoms persist for more than a few days or if they worsen over time. The vet will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Q: How can I help boost my cat’s immune system to fight off kennel cough?

A: You can support your cat’s immune system by providing a balanced and nutritious diet, ensuring they get regular exercise, and minimizing stress in their environment. Additionally, you can consult with your vet about supplements or immune-boosting medications that may be beneficial for your cat.


Kennel cough in cats can be a distressing condition, but with proper treatment and preventive measures, you can help your cat recover and minimize the risk of future infections. By staying vigilant and ensuring your cat receives the necessary vaccinations and care, you can keep them healthy and happy.

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