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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 21419
Experience:  Small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats, happy to discuss any questions you have.
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Our 17 years old, 'indoor only' cat came down with cold for

Customer Question

Our 17 years old, 'indoor only' cat came down with cold for which we have begun given her 'Baby Noses' and also some medicine for joints, but she does not want to eat or drink. What can we do to keep her hydrated? She is too wek to get out of her bed without help and ends up urinating there or when laying in her 'litter box' because it is hard for her to stand-up.
JA: I'm sorry to hear that. Could be a lot of things that cause lethargy. The Veterinarian will know how to help the cat. What is the cat's name?
Customer: 'Churchhill.' We have two cats, the female one that's ill, Churchill, and a male cat, Winston, who is the same age but not sick at the moments. Churhill does not ride well without getting upset in a car and given her age and condition, we dare not take her in to a vet or hospital a the stress could be dangerous and life threatening.
JA: Is there anything else the Veterinarian should be aware of about Winston?
Customer: It's Churchill who is sick. Her eyes are runny and she is drooling 'a lite orange' color discharge, and her gums are apparently sore preventing her from wanting to drink liquid. We realize that she must remain hydrated and need to know what we can and should do for her at home. Her ears are clear and we see no signs of a temp.
Submitted: 5 months ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

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

What joint medication do you have her on?

Any gagging, retching, lip licking, drooling or vomiting?

Any change to her breathing, sneezing or coughing?

Are her gums pink or pale/white? Moist or sticky?

Customer: replied 5 months ago.
1. OTC Joint 'health supplement' for cats we are giving her is 'COSEQUIN.'
2. No gagging, retching or vomiting. She was previously licking her lips, but no longer doing so. She does drool and the color
of the drool/saliva (expelled) is orangish in color.
3. It is hard for her to breath because of her cold; we are using a saline spray for infants ('Little Remedies') to help her along with frequent cleaning with a soft Q-tip to clear the passages in her nose.
4. The color of her gums are black on the outside and pink on the inside.
Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

Hello again,

Now we need to tread with care here for Churchill. Especially as elderly cats have little in the way of body resources and her appetite loss does carry the risk of triggering secondary liver issues. That aside, I agree that her signs sound like an upper respiratory tract issue and if she has this discolored drool there is concern that she has oral lesions in her mouth and throat (herpes virus or kidney disease being the usual cause for those) which may be what is making her less then keen to eat for us. Of course, with your wee one being an older lass, we do have the extra consideration that we can see cat flu signs arise because older cats have weaker immune systems at this age. But we can also see geriatric cats more prone to falling prey to upper respiratory infection when they are fighting another health issue (ie organ troubles, tumors, other infectious diseases). Therefore, we do have to consider that while this is the most visible issue, it might not be the only issue that Churchill is facing.

Now in regards ***** ***** this situation, we'd want to keep up on the current treatments but take this further for her. So, on top of those saline nasal drops,to reduce her congestion do consider steam treating her. To do so, you can take her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear any of the snot congesting her and reduce sneezing. 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 her in her carrier, a humidifier or nebulizer, and a bed sheet over both.

You noted that she isn't eating and this is quite a common issue with respiratory infections. This is because congested cats who can’t smell their food often won’t eat as well as they should. So, we do want to try to tempt her with her 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. Furthermore, there are also OTC calorically dense critical care diets (ie kitten food, Hill's A/D, Clinicare, Royal Canin Recovery diet) available from the vets that can be useful in hand feeding or syringe feeding cats who are not eating properly. They allow you to get more nutrition into her, even if you cannot get a large volume of food in. And that way we can counter anorexia related risks.

As well, if she isn't keen to drink, try tempting her with cat mil or low salt broths. If she cannot be tempted, then again we'd want to syringe feed her those fluids. She will get some from the watered down foods, but generally we'd aim to be getting in ~48ml per kilogram of her weight ever 24 hours.

Overall, it sounds like poor wee lass has caught one of the cat flu agents and the above supportive care measures would be indicated on top of what you are using. Though if we cannot break her fast and get her more settled with the above, then we would want her checked. And since she is in such a delicate state, you can ring her vet about a home visit (some do offer these) or check for your local mobile vet. That way we can avoid any unnecessary stress for her. They will be able to examine her (and just rule out any other health issues) and dispense cat safe decongestants, appetite stimulants. antibiotics +/- cat safe pain relief to get her back on track and settle these signs for her.

Kind regards,

Dr. B.


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Expert:  Dr. B. replied 5 months ago.

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

Dr. B.