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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21458
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Our 2 year old, otherwise healthy cat makes a sneezing type

Customer Question

our 2 year old, otherwise healthy cat makes a sneezing type sound and is very lethargic…eating and drinking a little, but definitely not himself…this has been going on about 20 hours...note: he is outside, with supervision, about an hour a day
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
when he makes this sneezing-type noise (don't think it's actually a sneeze), he often kind of jerks his head upwards for a moment
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.
Have you seen any nasal discharge?
If so, what color? Is it from one or both nostrils?
Any coughing or hard swallowing?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
a bit of discharge…light colored…not much…couldn't tell for sure, but would guess both nostrilsthe sound is borderline strange, but I don't think it's a cough…great question about swallowing…I know he was munching on a bit of dry food a few hours ago, but didn't pay close enough attention….. thanks - Brent Larkin…I will stand by
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
cat is only about 2 and a bundle of energy…..he's moving around today, but very very little
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you,
Now when cats have sneezing or odd upper respiratory sounds, this tells us that we have irritation and inflammation in the upper airway. This can be caused by a few different issues like allergies, polyps, grass stuck in the nostril, or cat flu. That said, if he is subdued and not really eating or drinking properly; I would be most suspicious of an upper respiratory tract infection since the others often don't make them feel under the weather.
You noted the discharge was light, and hopefully you meant clear as opposed to snotty. If it were snotty, that would tell us bacteria are present and antibiotics from his vet would be indicated.
Yet if that is not the case, then we can use some supportive care to reduce his signs and try to make him more comfortable. To start, since he is sneezing/snorting/reverse sneezing, you can take him in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the snot congesting him. It also will help reduce irritation in the upper airway. You can also use a baby nebulizer/humidifier, but often cats don’t like things held up to their faces (but you can often make little ‘steam tents’ with the kitty in their carrier with these and a sheet).
If he is building up mucus that the steam isn't shifting, you can use a cotton ball moistened with warm water to wipe away crust and mucus. Furthermore, you can use saline nasal drops like Ocean Mist (but not anything medicated) to further reduce discharge build up. To do so, just tilt his 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.
Furthermore, if allergies are suspect for him, we can potentially trial him on an antihistamine. Most commonly we use Benadryl/Diphenhydramine for these cases (More Info/Dose @ A low dose (ie. 0.25mg per pound of his body weight twice daily) can just be enough to reduce any allergic irritation for him. We like to keep the dose low in cats, as they can have drowsiness with this medication (just like people). And of course, this medication shouldn't be used if your lad has any pre-existing conditions or is on any other medication without speaking to your vet.
As well, making sure he is getting food and water is important, as congested cats who can’t smell their food often won’t eat as well as they should. Therefore, with this wee decline in his normal appetite, do consider tempting him with smelly wet foods (since they are high in water). It may help to warm it up a bit in the microwave to help him be able to smell it.
Finally, since feline herpes virus is a common infection that can cause flu flare ups, you can consider trying him with L-lysine. This is a nutritional supplement that can help them recover quicker if this virus is present. This is available over the counter at pet stores, vets, online, and heath food stores. They tend to come as powders, gels, or crushable tablets that can be mixed into food. An average cat dose is 500mg a day.
Overall, we do have a few concerns for your lad's signs. Since his signs are not severe and he is still eating some, I would note that the above supportive care will be the core to helping soothe his signs. Of course, if you use this and he doesn't settle over the next few days or you see any snotty discharge, then we'd want consider following up with his vet for examination +/- antibiotics to clear this 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 as this is how I am credited for assisting you today. Thank you! : )
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?

Dr. B.