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Feline upper respiratory infection, or Feline URI as it is commonly known, is a highly contagious disease affecting the nasal passages and sinuses of cats and kittens. It is common in shelters, catteries, multiple cat households, and free-roaming cat populations. The viruses causing URIs are “species specific,” meaning they infect only cats and kittens, not dogs or humans.
Feline URI is transferred between cats by fluid discharged from the mouths and noses of infected cats. Cats can spread the virus through the air by sneezing, coughing, or breathing; or by direct physical contact with cages, toys, food bowls, and even the hands and clothes of people handling them.
Symptoms of feline URI include sneezing, fever, runny nose or red watery eyes; nasal congestion; ulcers on tongue, gums, lips or roof of mouth; mild to severe depression; and lack of appetite or thirst. The Symptoms of feline URI are generally mild at first and worsen within one to three days. The incubation period lasts from 2 to 17 days.
*Humane Society of the United States