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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 20928
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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I have two cats one 7 and one 5. They are indoor cats. The

Customer Question

I have two cats one 7 and one 5. They are indoor cats. The seven year old cat appears to have a cold. I can hear when he is sleeping sometimes that he sounds congested. Like a human when a human is sleeping and you can hear the sinuses bubbling for instance. He is eating also seems to be drinking a lot of water.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Did Mickey's thirst increase at the same time he sounded congested?
Have you seen any discharge in his eyes or from his nose?
What color? From one of both nostrils?
Any coughing, sneezing, voice change or snoring?
Any appetite gain or loss?
Any weight loss?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
No discharge from eyes or nose. I've noticed the increase in water intake has been longer than the congestion (I think). Yes it sounds like snoring to me and what prompted my contact today is that in the past week or so it seems to be more prominent and also he coughed three or four times just now when he was sleeping which caught my attention. Appetite is great. No weight loss in my opinion.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
Now if the thirst has been present longer, we do need to be wary that Mickey may have an underlying health issue that is weakening his immune system such that he is developing a secondary respiratory tract infection. In regards ***** ***** for increased thirst, we can see this as an early stage sign in cats with inflammatory diseases, organ disease (ie kidney, liver, heart), and metabolic disease (ie diabetes, thyroid disease) all cause this with little other signs of anything amiss. So, we need to be wary of this and you may want to consider having a check up with his vet so that they can check his heart, and potentially test a or blood sample to make sure nothing sinister is afoot.
Otherwise, I would note that if you have any doubts on the significance of his thirst, you could first consider isolating him to measure his water intake. To do this, you only need to measure what you put in a bowl and then what is left after 24 hours. He should drink around (less is fine if he is on wet food) ~48ml per kilogram of his body weight per day. As well, at the same time you can consider collecting a urine sample for your vet to analyse (cats do tend to donate urine samples if we leave them with an empty litterbox in a non-carpeted room overnight). The vet will be able to analyze the sample, determine if there are bacteria and white blood cells present (signs of infection, often secondary to diabetes), rule out urine glucose (a marker of diabetes), bilirubin (a marker of liver disease) and will be able to check the urine's specific gravity to make sure he is concentrating his urine appropriately (since not doing so is a hint of kidney issues). This can be a non-invasive and inexpensive means of ruling out some of our concerns for increased thirst in the cat.
Otherwise, we need to consider these other more noticeable respiratory signs. Now the most common cause for the signs you have noted would be a flare up of an upper respiratory tract infection (aka cat flu). Cat flu is very common in cats and flare-ups can be seen quite commonly in older cats. That said, with your wee one being an older lad with congestion/snoring, we do have to also consider other issues like obstruction by foreign bodies (ie grass seeds, awns, etc), polyps, fungal infections, growths and some bacterial infections. With all of this in mind and the drinking, we do have to consider that while his signs are all subtle, we may have a serious or more then one issue present here.
Now in regards ***** ***** relieve congestion and get him breathing easier, to start I would suggest taking him in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear any of the snot congesting him and hopefully get him breathing easier. You can also use a baby nebulizer/humidifier, but often cats don’t like things held up to their faces. That said, you can alternatively make a little ‘steam tent’ with him in a carrier, a humidifier or nebulizer, and a bed sheet over both.
Otherwise, if he is building up mucus that the steam isn't shifting, use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus you can reach. As well, you can also use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist but not anything medicated) to relieve congestion. To do so, take one at a time and tilt their head back and drop two to three 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.
Now I am glad that he is eating since congested cats who can’t smell their food often won’t eat as well as they should. So, if that changes at all, then we'd want to try to tempt him with his favorites but also with smelly wet foods (since they are high in water). It may also help to warm it up a bit in the microwave to help them be able to smell it.
Overall, we do have a few concerns for Mickey. So, I would advise starting the above supportive care to reduce congestion and try to get him breathing more quietly. While doing so, consider measuring his water intake and having a urine sample tested. Depending on his response to treatment and the results of those 2 tests, you may want to follow up with his vet to rule out those other airway concerns and to pinpoint the cause of increased thirst so we can address them both for him.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Dr. B.
If you have any other questions, please ask me – I’ll be happy to respond. Please remember to rate my service once you have all the information you need. Thank you and hope to see you again soon! : )