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Rebecca, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 15560
Experience:  More than 30 years of companion animal practice.
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My cat is almost six, slightly overweight, but very active.

Customer Question

Hi, my cat is almost six, slightly overweight, but very active. Spends hours at a time outdoors. He struggles with hair balls in the spring time and doesn't succeed in vomiting them. We give him hair ball remedy about once a day. Today he seems very lethargic and is drooling and his breathing seems laboured. There is also some discharge around his eyes.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. This sounds like it might be serious. I'll let the Veterinarian know what's going on ASAP. Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about your cat?
Customer: He is neutered and has all of his claws.
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Veterinarian about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.


I am sorry to hear you are worried about your cat. My name is Rebecca. I am a veterinarian and will do my best to help.

This does not sound like a hairball problem to me. Labored breathing can be a sign of heart disease (and we do see heart problems in cats this young, particularly male cats), lung disease like infection or fluid in the lungs, asthma, or fever. If you check his gums, are they pink or pale in color? Can you take his temp with a thermometer?

Drooling can be a sign of nausea, or eating something he shouldn't eat.

If his gums seem pale, or worse, blue/purple, he needs immediate medical attention. If he has to open his mouth or pant to breathe, this could be an emergency.

If his temp is higher than 103 F, he has a fever and may need fluids and medication.

The eye discharge could indication infection or allergies that are also affecting his respiratory infection.

I am pretty worried by your description; let me know about his gums, and if you can get his temp. Do you have an emergency clinic you could go to?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Gums are pale pink with just a slight lavender tinge...he was breathing out of his mouth earlier when I noticed the drooling, but he is now breathing through his nose. How do you take a cat's temperature?
Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

I don't like the lavender tinge; he may be not getting enough air and oxygen into his lungs. Good that he is breathing now with his mouth closed; I consider open mouth breathing an emergency.

You can use a rectal thermometer, but not all cats will let you do this.

Expert:  Rebecca replied 1 year ago.

How is your cat doing? Can I help with anything else?