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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7532
Experience:  Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
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can i give my cat Vitamin C

Resolved Question:

my cat has a cold, shes been sneezing, having a runny nose and watery eyes. Now, I was told that it was alright to give her vitamin C to help her get better, is it? And if not, what can i give her or do to help her get over this cold faster>?
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

No vitamin C for a kitty ok? In fact, recent science has shown it's not that helpful in humans either (it's a good deal 'power of suggestion', which won't work in a cat). Also, please don't put anything in her eyes. Use plain, warm water to wipe them off, or a 1/2 and 1/2 hydrogen peroxide + water solution, or a simple saline wash (not in the eyes, but just to remove the crust and discharge).

Chances are this is an Upper Respiratory Infection. These are usually viral, but they may have secondary infections of bacteria (even fungal or parasites). Since it could spread to other systems, turn into pneumonia or possibly more, it's always the safest suggestion to have a vet evaluation to determine the cause so it can be properly treated. Colored discharge (mucus) from the nose or eyes is often indicative of a bacterial problem.


Now, given that these infections are usually viral, you should know that there are no treatments for viral conditions, just for the possible secondary bacterial infection that may be present.


Look here for more info about what happens


The good news is that if your cat is still eating, using the litter box normally, does not have a fever (how to take the temp and what is normal if there is no labored or difficulty breathing, loss of balance, persistent vomiting (or any vomiting/diarrhea with blood), you can probably wait.

To encourage eating and hydration, use a particularly smelly soft/canned food, preferably with ‘chicken', ‘beef', etc. listed in the first two ingredients rather than some vegetable product or meat ‘by-product'.


If kitty stops eating/drinking completely, vomits bile or foam, has diarrhea, any blood from either end, mucous becomes yellow, green or yellowish-green, or you just ‘know' (trust your instincts) something's not right - make an emergency visit. Most vets have emergency care numbers, will open their office especially for emergencies or direct you to an emergency care clinic.

Also, if this doesn't resolve in 5 to 7 days, kitty needs to be seen.

Setting up a vaporizer without meds in it is often helpful for breathing.

A heat source helps too (I prefer non-electric options).

Use a thick, clean sock and fill it ¾ with plain, raw white rice. Knot the end and microwave it for about 1 ½ minutes. Shake it afterwards to distribute the heat and be sure it's not too hot.

Rice socks can be used on people too for muscle aches and pains.

S. August Abbott, CAS and 2 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
so do you think that it is just a cold if the draining from her eyes is clear?
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

Yes. As long as there's no color (yellow, green) it's probably not bacterial - and "just" viral.

If you notice color, it's likely bacterial and this needs intervention, usually a course of antibiotics. Let's hope it just follows it's own course and resolves on its own very soon.

Let me know ok?


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to TheCaretaker's Post: Thank you!
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

You're welcome. If you need to follow up, any time, just re open this question and you do not have to press "accept" again.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
alright, well thanks again!
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
wow.. sorry to bug you again.. but i have this cloth thing that has aromatherapy stuff on it... do you think that would be beneficial to use by her at all??
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

Don't worry about 'bugging' me - I'm really happy to help. It's apparent you care a lot for this lucky kitty!

It's easy to give them human qualities when we love them so much, but keep it in mind that these are obligate carnivores (strictly meat eaters) and they have a vastly different system from we omnivores (we eat anything).

The aromatherapy is nice for us, but for them, not so much. It's probably just annoying. Now, catnip.... a whole 'nother story :)


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
hahaha alright thanks!!!

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