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Chlamydia in Cats: Its Not An STD

Pink Eye in CatsWhen you think of Chlamydia you might think of STDs and wonder what that has to do with your cat.  Well, it is not an STD is is a bacterial respiratory infection. Human chlamydia, the sexually transmitted disease, is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia trachomatis. The cat Chlamydia is caused by the bacteria Chlamydia psittaci. They are two different types of bacteria.  However, both are highly contagious and highly treatable.


Since we have established this isn’t an illness caused because your cat is catting around, how does your cat catch Chlamydia and how do you know if he has it? Chlamydia is a bacterial infection of the lungs.

Common Symptoms

  • Sneezing
  • Watery eyes
  • Coughing
  • Eye discharge
  • Runny nose
  • Fever
  • Lack of appetite
  • Pneumonia
  • Pink Eye

It is most common in kittens but can affect all cats of any age. Your cat can catch the infection without having direct contact with an infected animal. It can travel through a sneeze or cough. It can be spread by touch or through contact with a contaminated object.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Your vet will take a sample of the eye discharge in order to preform a culture. Because Chlamydia can turn into pneumonia your vet may x-ray your cats lungs to make sure that pneumonia is not present. If your cat tests positive for Chlamydia he will be started on an antibiotic treatment, likely tetracycline or doxycycline.

While your cat is being treated she should be kept away from other animals to prevent further contamination. If you have multiple cats in your house, it is a good idea to get them all treated.


There is a vaccination for Chlamydia. It will not prevent an infection but it will reduce the severity of outbreaks.


If your cat goes out doors, it is a good idea to get the Chlamydia vaccination. Though this is not a life threatening illness, it is highly contagious.  You can come into our daily shot clinic and update your cats vaccines. Make sure to check our promotions for ways to save more on your vaccinations.