If your cat begins to show symptoms such as runny nose, sneezing, eye discharge and possibly a slight fever then there is a good chance your cat is suffering from what we call a cold/upper respiratory infection. Do not panic and think that you have to run straight to the vet. In some cases it is possible to provide treatment for your cat at home. However, if for some reason your cat does not show a significant improvement or if his condition worsens then it would be a good idea to go ahead and call your vet to make an appointment.
Use Steam to Loosen Congestion
Just as humans benefit from being in a room with a vaporizer so will your cat. If you do not have access to a vaporizer then using a hot shower in the same way will be fine. To do this you simply turn the shower on to the hottest setting and place your cat in the bathroom with the door closed. It would be a good idea to have the cat in a carrier for his safety as the hot water could scald if he comes in contact with it. You will want to keep your cat in the steamy environment for a minimum of 15 minutes. This is a very effective method of loosening chest and nasal congestion and will almost always help to improve your cat’s breathing.
Treating Your Cat’s Nose
If you cat has a cold then he will probably have a runny nose that will be bothersome to him. In order to treat his nose you should use a piece of soft tissue or a cotton ball to keep his nose wiped and free of excrement. If you notice that the mucus has dried and crusted then you can take a tiny bit of warm water and moisten a towel with it. Use the towel to ever so gently wipe your cat’s nose. If your cat’s nose has become chapped then you can take a little bit of Neosporin or Vaseline and apply a very small amount on his nose. There are some nasal sprays that are safe to use on cats. One nasal spray that may be used in moderation is Children’s Afrin. However, before using any over the counter medication on your cat always ask your vet first to be sure.
Your Cat’s Appetite May Suffer
Have you ever noticed that when you have a cold and your nose is stuffed up you cannot taste anything? The same goes for cats. If your cat is having trouble with his nose then he is probably going to decline food. Unlike humans who understand that we must eat something to sustain life, cats must be able to smell their food in order to eat it. In order to help your cat continue eating you may have to resort to using canned fish that is a bit stronger in terms of odor. Chunk light tuna in a can is quite strong smelling and will usually do the trick. Your cat should also be drinking plenty of fluids while he is sick as dehydration is a risk. If you cannot get your cat to even drink water then you will have to get him to a vet.
If you are having trouble getting your cat to eat then you may have to hand feed him baby food. You can do this by using a small spoon, either one that you get from Baskin Robins for tasting ice cream or even a newborn baby spoon. Holding your cat in your arms, take a small bit of baby food onto the spoon and gently pry your cats mouth open with two fingers and then place just a bit of the baby food on the roof of his mouth. At first he will probably protest but in some cases he will begin licking the food off the spoon as soon as he has tasted it. The chicken or lamb variety of baby foods for very young babies usually works the best.
What to Do About Your Cats Fever
Let us first focus on what you are never to do under any circumstances. Never give your cat a fever reducer made for humans such as Tylenol, Advil, Aspirin or Naproxen. Even vets will rarely give a cat anything to reduce fever. Typically a veterinarian will focus primarily on treating whatever illness it is that is causing your cats fever. A fever, contrary to what people believe is actually the body’s way of defending itself from illness. When your body sense that there is some kind of intruder such as a foreign bacteria present it will automatically raise its temperature in an effort to kill whatever bacteria is there. The same happens in cats. Your cat’s temperature should be around 100.0 to 102.5 normally. Anything higher than this is considered a fever. Do not be alarmed unless it rises to 106.5 or higher. At this point you will need to take your cat to the vet immediately.
Vitamin C Drops or Paste
There are many types of vitamin drops and pastes that are made specifically for cats. If your cat is sick he will need extra vitamin C. Try giving your cat at least 250 to 500 mg every day in order to help boost his immune system and help promote a speedy recovery. One thing to keep your eye on when giving your cat any type of vitamin supplements is loose stool or diarrhea. If your cat should develop these symptoms while using vitamins you can either lower the amount you are giving and evaluate the cat or discontinue use. If the symptoms persist then take him to the vet as soon as possible.
Cats are usually pretty resilient when it comes to overcoming things like colds and viruses. There are some more serious illness which are not quite as easily treated but for the most part you should not be concerned over a slight cold. If you cat has any of the above symptoms and does not see to respond from treatment within about a week then it will be a good idea to take him to the vet to have tests run in order to rule out any serious conditions.