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Dr.Fiona, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 6273
Experience:  16 years experience as a companion animal veterinarian in British Columbia, California and Ontario
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What can I give my cat for a sinus cold. He has been sneezeing

Resolved Question:

What can I give my cat for a sinus cold. He has been sneezeing a lot and when he breaths you can her his clogged sinues.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi there barbi leonne,
Welcome to Just Answer! I would like to help you and your cat with this question, but need a bit more information in order to better assist you.

When he sneezes, is there a wet, watery spray?

Does he have discharge at his nostrils or at his eyes?

Is he eating and drinking normallyl?

How long ago did you give the aspirin, and how much does he weigh?

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Yes when he sneezes it is a little watery spray.

Nose isn't runny constantly and eyes are ok.

When he breaths it sounds almost like nose is clogged.

He seems to be eating and drinking ok.

Asprin was a 81mg and it was about 4hrs ago.

Right now he is laying on couch and I put a Vicks Vaporizer on.

He weighs about 14 pounds.
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Ok! Thanks for that further information, I will be back shortly with your answer...
Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi againCustomer

I just want to start by mentioning that you should NOT give any more aspirin to your cat! There are NO safe medications in your own medicine cabinet that can be given to a cat. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen are even more toxic than aspirin, and one tablet of either of those could be lethal. The amount of aspirin you have given is concerning, even though it was just 81mg. That is not much for us, but it is for a cat. At this amount, it could cause gastric irritation, vomiting, stomach ulcers and even kidney damage, especially if your boy is dehydrated at all from his cold. Ideally, you should see a vet for treatment tonight. If I saw your cat, I would give him activated charcoal and fluids under the skin.

If you absolutely cannot get him to a vet, you be be able to give activated charcoal. In Canada you can buy it in the local pharmacy and I expect you can in the USA as well. It is widely used in human and veterinary medicine to bind up any toxins that have been ingested. The dosage for activated charcoal (all forms whether capsule or suspension) is 1-3 grams per kilogram of body weight. This would work out to about 10g for your cat.

Here are some links about activated charcoal:

Unfortunately, since we are many hours now after ingestion, it is getting to the point where it is almost too late to give this, but you could try. It binds with the drug in the intestines to prevent absorption... but by 4 hours after ingestion, he has probably absorbed whatever he ingested and didn't vomit up. However, you could try! You could mix the product in a little bit of human baby food (check the ingredients to be sure there are no onions or garlic),

I will give you a link to more about aspirin toxicity in cats:

Now, you were actually asking about what you could do to help your cat with his congestion. One of the most common things to cause sneezing and congestion in a cat is an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection.

URTI's are caused by a virus (usually Rhinotracheitis which is a Herpes virus, or by Calici virus). Since antibiotics do not kill viruses, only bacteria, they will not help your cat get over this viral infection. Antibiotics are only helpful if she gets a secondary bacterial infection on top of this viral infection.

Rhinotracheitis typically has a very watery sneeze - in fact if the kitty sneezes on a tabletop, you can often see 1-2 feet of wet spray on the table! Because it is a Herpes virus, if a cat has it, he has it for life. The cat will mount an immune response to the infection, but this will just let the symptoms resolve, while the infection lies in wait. It is NOT contagious to humans. But, similar to human herpes virus infections, it can reappear later in life at times of stress. This is similar to human herpes virus infections that cause cold sores (which are not contagious to cats!).

Rhinotracheitis is highly contagious, and you could even bring it home on your shoes or pants. If you cat *is* fully vaccinated, but he still broke with sneezing, it suggests that he had this as a kitten and it is now latent in his body. Some stress in his world of which you may be unaware (thunder? a dog barking while you were out at work?) may have been enough to drop his immune system to a point where he started sneezing and showing symptoms again. Alternatively, if he is due for his vaccines, he may just not have sufficiently protective levels of antibiodies and you may have brought it home by accident.

So, what can you do to help him?

Lots of things!

1. Encourage him to eat. Good nutrition will give his body the energy it needs to fight this infection. As with us when we have a cold, when the nose gets stuffed up food loses its flavour.

So, you can offer some canned food (particuarly the fish flavours as they are particularly strong smelling) which has much more smell than dry. Also, you can warm the food up a little in the microwave as warm food smells more than cold.   

You could try getting some human baby food in meat flavours (check that there are no onions or garlic in the ingredients) and mix that with warm water and offer that, or syringe it in little bits into your cat's mouth. Beech Nut makes a line of baby food that has nothing but meat (beef, chicken, turkey or veal) in it. Here's a link:
If you cannot find this, you could find another meat baby food - just read the label carefully to be sure there are no onions, onion powder, garlic, or garlic powder in it.

Here is another link to ways to encourage cats to eat:
It has some good suggestions.

Boil a chicken breast and then put it in the blender with water to make a baby-food consistency gruel to offer.

Offer some canned cat food, and mix it with water to make a slurry if he won't eat it.

2. Encourage him to drink. What you can do is try to get some calories into him in a liquid form - that way she is getting nutrition at the same time as fluids.

I suggest opening a can of tuna *in water* and offering the liquid.

Also, you can pick up Clam Juice in most grocery stores (sold in with the V8 or the canned tuna) and mix that with some water.

You could try Lactose Free milk (Lactaid is the Canadian brand). It is similar to the Whiskas tetra pack of "Kitty Milk" that is lactose free milk with flavouring added.

3. Clean his nose. You can put a bit of warm water on a washcloth, wring it out, then hold it on his nose (if he'll let you) to soften any dried mucus so it comes off.

4. Steam him. Take your kitty into the bathroom while you run a hot shower for 15 minutes. The hot, steamy air will help to loosen any nasal secretions so she can sneeze the mucus out and clear the airways. Doing this twice a day would be great! Alternatively, you could use a humidifier in the room that he is in.

5. Put drops in his nose. Just go to the pharmacy and ask for ophthalmic saline, or have a look in the contact lens section. What you want it just sterile saline drops to relieve dry eyes - NO medication in it. The pharmacist should be able to point it out to you. Put one drop in each nostril twice daily. The idea is that you are helping to moisten the area so your cat can sneeze out any congestion in there. Continue for a week.

Depending on which virus your cat has (Herpes or calici) this infection could take 1 - 4 weeks to clear up. If you can do nothing else, giving him the canned food is going to make the biggest difference in how well he does with this. His body just needs that extra energy to fight this. Also, the first ingredient in canned food is water, so it is a way of making sure she is getting a bit more fluid.

I'll give you some links to further information:

Good luck with him! He is lucky to have someone looking out for him!
If you feel that this has been helpful, please hit the green "Accept" button. I will still be here to provide more information if you need it.

The above is given for information only. Although I am a licensed veterinarian, I cannot legally prescribe medicines or diagnose your pet's condition without performing a physical exam. If you have concerns about your pet I would strongly advise contacting your regular veterinarian.

Best wishes to you and your cat!

Expert:  Dr.Fiona replied 8 years ago.
Hi again,
It is 11:21pm here in Ontario, and I am off to bed now. I will be back in about 8.5 hours to provide more information if you have any follow- up questions!

Dr.Fiona and 5 other Cat Specialists are ready to help you