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TB in cats: spotting & treating Tuberculosis in cats

Tuberculosis (TB) in cats is rare, but not impossible.

Let’s look at what tuberculosis is, the signs to watch out for and the common methods of treatment.

What is Tuberculosis?

Tuberculosis is a bacterial infection. It involves the formation of rounded, inflamed nodules known as tubercles.

Tuberculosis is far more common in humans than animals, but cats can still be affected by the bacteria. Affected cats can spread the bacteria to their owners, so it’s important to know the symptoms of tuberculosis and to seek treatment when necessary.

What causes it?

The bacteria may spread as a result of:

Infected cuts or sores – which cats may sustain from fighting or chasing prey.

Your cat eating something they shouldn’t – such as unpasteurised milk.

Inhaling the respiratory expulsion of another affected animal.

Depending on how the cat acquires the bacteria, it could appear first on their skin (usually the head or legs), in their stomach and intestines, or in their lungs or respiratory tract.

tabby cat

Signs of tuberculosis in cats

Your cat may have tuberculosis if they display any of these signs:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Frequent coughing
  • Weight loss
  • Sores on their fur or skin

These symptoms are not exclusive to tuberculosis. It’s important to contact your vet if you’re concerned, they’ll be able to perform tests on your cat, diagnose their condition accurately and prescribe the right treatment.


Although TB is rare in cats, it’s very difficult to cure in those that are affected.

Treatment will likely involve several types of antibiotics, but sadly there’s no go-to cure for Tuberculosis in cats. Your vet will be able to advise further based on your cat’s symptoms and the severity of their condition, along with your specific circumstances.

Need more info?

For more help and advice on tuberculosis in cats, bacterial infections in general or any other aspect of your cat’s welfare, have a chat with your local vet.

Find your nearest vet using our Find a Vet page, or speak to a vet online using Online Vets.

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