Sick Kitty
February 12, 2005 5:18 PM   Subscribe

I have a friend who's cat is sick. What can he do to help make it more comfortable?

The cat has gone from sneezing to the nasal equivalent of dry-heaving (including snot flinging) over 7 days or so. My friend can't make it to a vet until monday. The cat is eating and drinking, but not much. Obviously miserable. Is there something he can do to alleviate the upper respiratory issues until he can get to the vet?
posted by daver to Pets & Animals (8 answers total)
If the cat's "obviously miserable" enough to need to go to the vet, find a vet who works weekends. If your friend can't take it, maybe you can.
posted by pracowity at 5:29 PM on February 12, 2005

Cats don't have the luxury of breathing out of their mouths, so if their noses are plugged, this is not good. That said, run a humidifier in the room that cat is in ASAP. If your friend doesn't have one on hand, s/he can run out and get one cheaply at a Sears/Home Depot/Bed, Bath & Beyond kind of store. This helps keep everything moist and sneezable, especially if the cat is not drinking.
posted by naxosaxur at 5:57 PM on February 12, 2005

If the cat's misery = respiratory distress and/or shock, then this is an emergency and the cat needs serious medical help, with fluids and whatnot. If the cat's just shnorking and lethargic, I've been there, done that.

I think enticing the cat to eat and drink is the best thing he can do -- the tried-and-true trick in my house is the nectar of the kitty gods: tuna juice. I fill a saucer with the gooey juice from a can of water-packed tuna, throw a few chunks of tuna in there for good measure, add a splash of tap water, microwave it so that it's a little warm -- and therefore a little stinkier and a little more intriguing to a sniffly kitty -- and voila. Dinner is served.

Sitting in a steamy bathroom for a little while might help with the congestion. Dehydration is really dangerous, as renal failure can develop pretty quickly. This link has some good dehydration information.

He might also try a few different forms of water presentation... my cat hates plastic, and prefers to drink out of cups and little bowls. And it's all about fresh, cold water. I'd try putting a few bowls and mugs throughout the cat's space to make it even more available.
posted by kittyb at 6:29 PM on February 12, 2005

Respiratory illness in a cat is no joke. We almost lost our tomcat to a respiratory infection, and the vet told us it is a very common cause of death among felines.

Not trying to scare you, but: just about every community of any size has an after-hours veterinary clinic, and I would be heading for one pronto. Running humidifiers, steam, and trying to entice the cat to eat and drink are all fine ideas, but if the cat has a respiratory infection, he or she may need strong antibiotics, and soon.
posted by enrevanche at 6:49 PM on February 12, 2005

Yeah I don't want to avoid your question, but I don't think "making the cat more comfortable" is the right idea. It could be a flu, or it could be an esophogeal tumor. It could be nothing, or it could be leukemia. The "more comfortable" option could turn out to be euthenasia. If someone's there to run a humidifier, someone's there to take "it" (gender not provided) to the vet now.
posted by scarabic at 7:24 PM on February 12, 2005

Yeah, not to be a pedantic pile-on-er, but if one of my kids was that sick, I would move heaven and earth to get it to the doctor. Your friend needs to get the cat seen ASAP. Sooner. As has already been said, respritory illness in cats is not the equivalent of the common human cold.
posted by Medieval Maven at 8:27 PM on February 12, 2005

Agreed - sorry if this is piling on, but I have to chime in. My beloved cat died of an upper respiratory tract infection because I didn't realise how serious it was that he had the sniffles, and by the time I did, it was too late and he died at the vet's :( Please take the cat to the vet as a matter of urgency. I'll have my fingers crossed for you and I hope it's not serious.
posted by different at 6:12 AM on February 13, 2005

So how'd today go? I've been hoping that all turned out well for this kitty.
posted by kittyb at 3:17 PM on February 14, 2005

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