Thriving Cat

Home Remedy for Cat Colds

Home Remedy for Cat Colds

What are Cat Colds?

Cats get ‘colds’ which are upper respiratory infections very often. Cats who were strays or ended up for any reason in animal rescue centers or shelters are especially susceptible since they pick it up there from other cats. Cats who come from these backgrounds can end up being prone to get outbreaks of upper respiratory infection throughout the remainder of their lives. They carry the virus and during times of stress or immune weakness, the symptoms come back. This is especially the case for my orange boy.

Orange tabby cat curled up on white and blue sheet.

Rescue cats like my boy are more prone to upper respiratory infection.

If you have cats you have likely been through a bout of upper respiratory disease. Symptoms include sneezing, runny eyes, squinting, redness around eyes or ears and can even include coughing and lethargy as well as lack of appetite. So what can you do? Is there a home remedy for these ‘kitty colds’ or do they need to go to the vet every time?

It is a good idea to get your cat checked out at the vet and make sure an upper respiratory infection is all that is going on. In order to prevent future outbreaks you can use several different remedies. I use both a natural supplement in my cat’s food to boost immunity every day and a home remedy you may have already to treat particularly stubborn outbreaks.

What Can I Use to Help Cure My Cat?

If you are treating your cat with prescriptions from the vet for an upper respiratory infection it can be a non-stop round of one treatment after the other for a long time to get it under control. I use this home remedy to help treat my kitties so they can get well faster. This home remedy is apple cider vinegar. You need a raw apple cider vinegar that has the “mother” in the bottle. This is a cloudy looking. white mass at the bottom of the bottle composed of enzymes, good bacteria and protein. Bragg’s is the brand of vinegar I usually purchase.


Apple cider vinegar is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-microbial and anti-fungal. Whether a cat’s upper respiratory infection is viral or bacterial, apple cider vinegar can help. You mix equal amounts of apple cider vinegar and water and rub some into your cat’s fur and onto their skin on the back of their neck. I also rub it around their ears (never put any liquid IN your cat’s ears), and around their face. You can also rub it on their paws. It will absorb through the skin and they will also lick some of it off while grooming.

Supplement to Prevent Cat and Dog Upper Respiratory Infections

PetAlive Immunity and Liver Support is a great supplement that I put in my cat’s wet food at every meal. It is made from natural ingredients such as dandelion, milk thistle, echinacea and ashwagandha, all of which are used in supplements for humans. It works well to keep most of these outbreaks away and I love that it is all natural with no chemicals or pharmaceuticals. It is called PetAlive Immunity and Liver Support. It is made for cats and dogs alike and I even have a friend who used it for her hamsters!

I give it to my three kitties every day and I can tell you it gets glowing reviews on Amazon and elsewhere by dog and cat owners alike. People credit this with saving pets who had serious health problems and even helping with scary conditions like FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus) and cancer! I highly recommend this for allover health and as a general immune support supplement. Click the link here or in the picture to go to Amazon and you can read the great reviews for yourself!

Immunity and Liver Support contains great ingredients found in human immunity supplements:

Milk Thistle  containing the flavanoid silymarin which is an anti-oxidant and is also the most effective supplement for liver function.

Milk thistle is used in many supplements for humans to help the liver function at full capacity, regenerate liver cells and flush out toxins.

Ashwaganda  is an anti-inflammatory that supports health of kidneys, heart, liver and blood. Ashwaganda also helps the body recover after sickness.

Echinacea which acts as an anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial. Echinacea stimulates the lymphatic system and immune system  and is even used to support AIDS treatment. This is interesting since reviewers have said Immunity and Liver support has treated their cats with FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus)!

You can also get a combo pack with the other PetAlive supplement I give my cats everyday. This is Gumz-n-Teeth which treats and prevents tooth and gum disease. This is the supplement that was the inspiration for Thriving Cat. My cat suffered with bad teeth and needed anesthesia for tooth cleaning and extractions every year before I found Gumz-n-Teeth.

If you want to try the combo pack with both Immunity and Liver Support and Gumz-n-Teeth, here they are:

Gumz-n-Teeth has great ingredients including:

  • Horsetail (herb)
  • Spirulina
  • Silica
  • Dandelion (leaf)

The combo pack saves you about $20-$30 depending on the current price of each!

It is a great feeling to be able to keep our pets healthy. Saving money, time and stress for ourselves and our pets at the vet’s office is a huge benefit also. If you have any questions or comments about these supplements and this home remedy for cat colds, please let me know!


Thriving Cat makes use of affiliate relationships with merchants such as Amazon Associates for monetization. This means when you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in a small commission that is credited to this site.




  1. Marty

    Wow! I never thought of using apple cider vinegar to improve the health of my cats!

    I actually already use Bragg apple cider vinegar for my own health. I mix it with water and honey for a soothing drink that I take twice a day.

    But, now, I can also give it to my cats, too? Are you sure that it won’t make them sick? I am very cautious about giving anything to my cats that I drink or eat. I have always been told that our animals dietary needs are completely different from the dietary needs of humans.

    My cats are my family. And, I just want to be absolutely certain that rubbing a Bragg vinegar and water mixture on them will not in any way negatively affect their health.

    I look forward to your response.

    Thanks, for the article! It was very informative!


    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Marty,

      Yes, I am sure. I have been using it on my cats (only when they are sick) for years. My orange tabby boy is the most susceptible to these outbreaks. Many people use a very diluted mixture added to their cat’s water so they drink it. I have not done this since I don’t want them to be turned off from their water and drink less. People have been using it this way for a long time though and it is good for their cat’s health. 

      I prefer to just rub the mixture on their fur. This is something that works for cats well. It is not harmful. When I am using prescription medications from the vet and they just aren’t working and then I use apple cider vinegar and my cats get better, it is such a great feeling! There are of course many different causes for kitty colds. Some respond better to prescriptions than others and it is always hard to know since vets don’t usually test to determine if a sickness is caused by a virus or bacteria. They usually give a medicine for one and if it doesn’t work, then try another. This means your kitty can be sick for weeks before they get the proper treatment and of course you end up making multiple trips to the vet. 

      I am glad to have the option to try apple cider vinegar as well as prescriptions.

      Thank you for your comment,


  2. tom

    very helpful article.
    we adopted a kitten about 8 months ago (she looks exactly like the one in your picture) and we were told by the vet that she has a an upper respiratory infection. I will definitely try your apple cider recipe,
    thank you, tom

    side note- I’ve noticed when she get really bad if I start petting her and she goes into her purr mode that it really helps her to calm down and start breathing more easily.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Tom,

      I am glad this is useful for you! I feel like it doesn’t hurt to at least give it a try. There are some strains out there that apple cider vinegar doesn’t work well on I guess because sometimes it isn’t enough. In most cases it works for us though. 

      Yes, stress can bring on the symptoms so anything that helps calm them will help. We baby ours and my husband wraps them up in blankets when they are sick!



  3. Tufanua Iata

    I wonder if respiratory infection in animals can spread to humans and cause severe reactions on them.
    What health elements present in the apple cider that helps cold in cats?
    Why rub it on the skin and not apply straight to its mouth?
    I love a feed back on this.
    Thank you

    1. Jessica (Post author)


      Some infections can be spread between cats and people but most do not. The common upper respiratory infections that cats get do not spread to people. There are some strains of flu like swine flu which cats can get in rare cases.

      Apple cider vinegar is naturally anti viral and anti bacterial. That is how it helps cure cat colds and infections.

      Some people do give apple cider vinegar to their cats in their water or food. I prefer not to since I know they don’t like the smell and probably don’t like the taste. I don’t want to put it in their water and make them avoid it. It it works on the fur and skin they just feel like they are cleaning themselves when they lick it off instead of me forcing it in their mouth.

      I hope that helps.
      Thank you for your questions,

  4. Noa

    I’ve just adopted a stray cat in our new home in the mountains, she’s nursing and very thin. I think I can hear her cough sometimes… I’ve learned a lot from this article and am certainly going to use these tips to make her feel better! I bet the winters get pretty cold up here, so now I have a solution to her future colds:) thanks!

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hi Noa,

      That is great you have adopted a stray kitty! I am glad this information can help you keep her healthy. I always had adult cats not kittens so I don’t know if she could have something else causing the cough. If you can take her to the vet that would be good. I hope the apple cider vinegar works well for her too!

      Thanks for your comment,


  5. jesse

    That explains what’s wrong with my cat! I’ve used Braggs vinegar for myself, so makes sense it would work for cats too. I was interested to read about the Gums n Teeth product, how would I know if my cat needs this?

    Thank you!

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Does your cat have bad breath? Does your cat have red gums or dirty looking teeth? Any of these are signs of tooth and gum disease. It would be very smart to start and use this preventatively even if your cat doesn’t have any of these symptoms yet since most cats end up getting it with age. It is very, very common. Sometimes Amazon doesn’t have just the Gumz-n-Teeth supplement available but they offer it in a two pack with another supplement we use called Immunity and Liver Support. Other places like Only Natural Pet offer the supplement as well. I need to set up my affiliate links for them.

      Thanks for your comment. Yes, the apple cider vinegar is a very easy step to take and helps with keeping the teeth clean too! When they lick it off their fur they ingest some of it and some people put a little in their cat’s water as well. I don’t do that since I am afraid it would turn them off from their water and they may not drink enough which is dangerous for cats.

  6. Lisa Simone

    Will the apple cider vinegar work for cats with seasonal allergies as well? One of my cats has problems every spring .My veterinarian says he is most likely allergic to pollen. He usually does not cough. His main symptoms are sneezing and watery eyes .I would love to find something natural to prevent this from happening every season.

    1. Jessica (Post author)

      Hello Lisa, 

      I did not know the answer to this but looked it up. It appears that apple cider vinegar should indeed help your cat with his allergies. It helps humans with allergies as well since it helps reduce mucus and cleans the lymphatic system. It is also good for repelling fleas and other pests that can bother cats and good for topical allergies of the skin. 

      It certainly wouldn’t hurt (and most likely will help your cat’s health) to try it.

      Thanks for your question,



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