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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 17686
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My female cat aged 8yo had been sneezing about 10 days ago,

Customer Question

my female cat aged 8yo had been sneezing about 10 days ago, now she has a rasping cough, is there anything I can give her to aliviate her condition
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.

Does she have any nasal discharge?

If so, what color? From one or both nostrils?

Any breathing difficulties or loss of appetite?

Customer: replied 6 months ago.
Does she have any nasal discharge? - Yes.
If so, what color? - Clear.
If so, what color? From one or both nostrils? - Both
Any breathing difficulties or loss of appetite? - Yes
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 6 months ago.

Thank you,

Now as I am sure you can appreciate, we can see sneezing caused by a range of issues. In regards ***** ***** concerns for these signs, we can see this with allergies, nasal foreign bodies (which sounds less likely here), secondary to polyps or tumors in the nose and most often related to “cat flu.”

With all this in mind, I have to say that if you meant that Sweetypie is struggling to breathe then we'd want her seen by her vet now. Though if her signs are mild and you meant she has appetite loss, then you can choose to monitor her and provide supportive care at this stage. Of course, if she does develop any snotty nasal discharge (a sign of bacterial infection), then that would be our cue to have her checked by her vet.

Now there are a few steps you can take at home to relieve the sneezing and associated congestion (the reason we sneeze). To do so, you can take her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the snot congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer, but often cats don’t like things held up to their faces. Therefore, we can often make little ‘steam tents’ with the kitty in their carrier, a humidifier, and a light bed sheet over both to make a little steam room for her.

If she sounds congested and is potentially building up mucus within her nostrils that the steam isn't shifting, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus. You can also use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist or Little Noses) but not anything medicated. Tilt the head back and drop 2-3 drops in one nostril. Cats hate this, but it helps. After the drops go down, you can let the head up and wipe away any discharge that gets loosened. Then repeat with the other nostril.

As well, if you suspect that she could have an allergy to something in the environment, then you can consider a trial for a few days on an anti-histamine. In cats, we can use Cetirizine (5mg once daily). We do like to keep the dose low in kitties, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your kitty has any pre-existing conditions or are on any other medication without speaking to your vet.

Furthermore, keeping our kitties eating is important, as congested cats who can’t smell their food often won’t eat as well as they should. Therefore, if she is seeming less keen to eat , do try tempting her with smelly wet foods (since they are high in water). It may help to warm it up a bit in the microwave to help her be able to smell it. If she were to refuse food all together, then we may need to consider syringe feeding her.

Overall, there are a few causes of sneezing in the cat that we need to be aware of for her but cat flu (a viral one like herpes in particular) would be our top suspect here. So, as long as she only has clear discharge and is breathing comfortably, do consider taking the above steps to relieve sneezing/congestion to see if this aids her signs. And if you suspect an allergy, then you can try her with an antihistamine to rule out/address this for her. Otherwise, if she doesn't settle, has breathing issues, or develop a snotty discharge, then we'd want her to be checked by her vet and antibiotics dispensed.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.

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