Kitty sneezing. What to do?
December 17, 2007 9:43 PM   Subscribe

My FIV+ cat is sneezing. A lot. We have a humidifier on, but aren't sure how serious the situation is.

We adopted a formerly feral FIV+ (the feline equivalent of HIV) cat a few months ago. He sneezes now and again- probably once a week until the last week and a half. It is dry and colder in our area right now, and I'M sneezing more right now, too, but he's sneezing a lot. Like 36x daily, and a few fits of sneezing with three or four sneezes piled on each other.

We've read the previous posts about pneumonia in kitties and sneezing cats, but our situation seems a little different. Our kitty is eating and drinking plenty, still breathing fine through his nose, and doing all of his normal activities: attacking our ankles, sleeping, biting our hands, napping, lunging at our legs, drowsing, and the like.

So far, we've gotten a humidifier and turned it on (as of 2 hours ago) and fed him some honey with extra-stinky salmon, which he wolfed down in three seconds flat (under the recommendation of a friend whose logic was: honey is good for human immune systems, it can't be bad for cats)

Any suggestions? We are prone to worrying because FIV cats, when they get sick, often get very, very sick and sometimes die, and we love ol' stinkybutt.
posted by stewiethegreat to Pets & Animals (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'll be the first to say what many people here will echo: take him to the vet. It could be nothing to worry about, but why take the chance?
posted by phaded at 11:00 PM on December 17, 2007

Seconding phaded. Sneezes may indicate the onset of an upper respiratory tract infection and in an FIV+ cat this can escalate rapidly. The sneezing could just be a response to air changes/extra dust that's been disturbed by the humidifier, but only an examination by the vet will be able to establish what is wrong, if anything.

Stewie, is this the biting cat you posted about on December 1 ? My answer to that was posted a couple of days later.

If it's the same cat, then it's very important for you to find a feline specialist vet who understands feline behaviour and can explain to you some methods for ensuring that this cat isn't allowed to get badly stressed (as described in your previous question)

Your vet needs to be up to speed on managing FIV+ cats with particular emphasis on environment setting and humane behavioural training for the cat and humans.

Stress in FIV+ felines is to be avoided. Stress will compromise his immune system like nothing else and leave him very vulnerable to infections.

Good luck to you and 'ol stinkybutt
posted by Arqa at 2:24 AM on December 18, 2007

Chocolate is very tasty and healthy for humans. My understanding is that it's very, very bad for pets (most chocolate treats for pets are actually made from carob). Honey is probably safe for pets, but may not have the same health benefits. Don't use human ideas on your beloved cat; go see the vet.
posted by Deathalicious at 5:24 AM on December 18, 2007

I believe the red flag sign is the wheezing and rasping through the nose, but given the FIV+ aspect, placing at least a call to the vet is a good idea.

You can also make a sauna out of the bathroom by bringing the cat in the room and shutting the door while you shower.
posted by rainbaby at 6:47 AM on December 18, 2007

Both of my cats recently got the sneezes, and it passed quickly. My vet said that unless they stop eating, or their nasal discharge goes from clear to colored and sticky, don't worry about it. I don't know if this is different for an FIV+ cat, but it couldn't hurt to call your vet and ask.
posted by blueskiesinside at 11:50 AM on December 18, 2007

Response by poster: Hey guys,

I know honey isn't bad for cats- it is an ingredient on several vet-approved kitty snacks. Whether or not it helps is up in the air, so I know it doesn't hurt. Vis a vie chocolate- yes, that and anything with caffeine in it, anything alcoholic, baby food, dog food, citris oil, macademia nuts, anything with lactose in it, mushrooms, onions, persimmions- I could go on.

Our kitty gets fed Evo, which is made of human-grade ingredients, supplemented by wet Evo food- the best stuff on the market for pets. We're very responsible pet owners.

Thanks for the advice, Arqa. This is the same cat, and he's definitely not being stressed. We're the best living situation he's ever had and he's gained weight and become much more of a lounge-kitty since coming to live with us.

If it is a URI, it is a virus- until it goes fungal, there doesn't seem to be much we can do. The antibiotics won't work. So I was hoping for either anecdotes or other suggestions as to how to take care of the cat. The vet says, "Meh." and is waiting for colored or thick mucous, watery eyes, swollen lymph nodes, open mouth, or anything else
posted by stewiethegreat at 11:55 AM on December 18, 2007

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