Pneumonia in Cats

There are many possible causes of pneumonia in cats, and if left untreated, this illness can lead to more serious issues. Today, our Grenada vets discuss. the causes, signs, treatment, and types of pneumonia in cats.

Common Causes of Pneumonia in Cats

If viruses, bacteria, or fungal organisms invade your cat’s airways and nostrils, an infection or inflammation can develop, which may lead to pneumonia. This condition can result in breathing challenges and oxygen deficiency in the blood, which can weaken your cat’s immune system.

Though cats of any age can be diagnosed with pneumonia, it’s most often seen in very young kittens, cats with underlying health conditions, or senior cats. Cats can contract pneumonia in several ways:

Infectious Pneumonia

The most common form of pneumonia seen in cats is infectious pneumonia can be caused by a bacterial or viral infection in the airways and lungs.

Aspiration Pneumonia

If your cat inhales foreign material, this can lead to the sensitive lining of the lungs becoming irritated. The improper administration of liquid medications or inhalation of vomit (if your cat is sick) are common causes of aspiration pneumonia.

Fungal Pneumonia (also called mycotic pneumonia)

A fungal infection can progress to develop into fungal pneumonia. The source of most fungal infections in cats is believed to be the inhalation of spores from the soil.


In some cases, parasites such as lung flukes and lungworms may invade the cat’s air passages and cause pneumonia.

Signs of Pneumonia in Cats

Pneumonia is not always easily detectable in cats as many of the symptoms are also associated with other illnesses, including other respiratory infections such as cat colds.

Nonetheless, your cat may exhibit one or more of these symptoms if they are suffering from pneumonia:

  • Fever
  • Bluish mouth
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lack of appetite
  • Coughing up blood or mucus
  • Rattling or gurgling respiratory sounds
  • Lethargy
  • Weight loss
  • Untidy appearance
  • Persistent coughing
  • Labored or shallow breathing
  • Unusually fast rate of breathing

Other symptoms such as vomiting, increased heart rate, and difficulty swallowing may also appear with aspiration pneumonia. Cats with fungal pneumonia may also display symptoms such as problems with their skin or eyes, such as skin lesions, runny eyes, and lameness.

Transmissibility of Pneumonia in Cats

Cats suffering from bacterial or viral pneumonia can pass the infection on to other cats, small animals, and dogs they come into close contact with.

To help prevent pneumonia from spreading, keep your sick cat separated from other pets in your home by containing them in a separate but comfortable room. Offer your sick cat a comfortable place to rest, plenty of food and water, and a clean, fresh litter box.

Your cat’s litter box, in addition to their toys, water, and food bowls, should be cleaned frequently. You should also wash your hands thoroughly after handling or petting your ill cat.

Cats Recovering From Pneumonia

If your cat is diagnosed with pneumonia, your vet will start treatment to stabilize your cat’s condition and begin to fight the infection.

Based on how severe your cat’s symptoms are, treatment can potentially include hospitalization for close monitoring, a nebulizer treatment to help ease respiratory symptoms, oxygen therapy, and intravenous fluids to treat dehydration. They may also receive antifungal medications or broad-spectrum antibiotics to help fight the infection.

The prognosis is generally good for cats that receive treatment for pneumonia early enough. However, aspiration pneumonia is particularly challenging to treat and may lead to further complications later in life. Your cat’s general health, age and the underlying cause of the illness will all factor into how well your cat recovers from pneumonia.

Sadly, cats that are immunocompromised, very old, or very young may not be strong enough to defeat a severe case of pneumonia.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet. 

Is your cat showing signs of pneumonia? Contact our Grenada vets to have them diagnosed and treated.