Cats suffer from many of the same respiratory ailments as humans. The vast majority of maladies will resolve, even if left untreated, in seven to 10 days. As with humans, home remedies for cats with congestion can ease their discomfort dramatically. Symptoms of feline upper respiratory infections may include sneezing, runny eyes, nasal discharge, heavy shedding and nasal and oral or nasal ulcers. Check with your veterinarian before using home remedies.
Causes of Congestion in Cats
Ninety per cent of upper respiratory infections stem from two sources: feline herpes, also known as rhinotracheitis, and feline calicivirus. Neither can be spread from cats to humans. These viruses tend to recur in cats and can spread to other cats, so it is wise to have them vaccinated.
Persian cats are particularly susceptible to these viruses because of their flattened facial features. Kittens are highly susceptible because their immunity systems are not fully developed. If they can get through those early months without an infection, they typically outgrow the risk. Outdoor cats, cats from shelters and cats that share a food dish are also susceptible.
These viruses are often triggered by stressful events such as spaying, neutering, declawing or the introduction of a new animal into his environment. The symptoms typically materialise one week after the stressful event.
Humidity will help to ease your cat's congestion, so put him in the bathroom while you shower. Wipe away crusty discharges from her eyes and nose with a warm damp cloth and try to remove any visible blockages. Suctioning is helpful.
Without adequate hydration, your cat can lose electrolytes and even suffer kidney damage. Keep him drinking, giving him broth or water from canned tuna if he needs encouragement.
You can help your cat boost her immunity with vitamin C. The dose is 250 milligrams per day, but decrease the amount if diarrhoea develops. Another immunity booster is echinacea. Give your cat one to two drops per pound of weight three times daily. Do not continue this treatment longer than two weeks. Paediatric nose drops may be helpful in relieving severe congestion in your cat. Put one drop in each of her nostrils three times daily for three to five days. Do not give aspirin to cats.
Standard Medical Treatment
Veterinarians typically treat cats with congestion by prescribing tetracycline. The drug is not effective against viruses, but helps to prevent secondary bacterial infections.
When to Seek Medical Treatment
If your cat is so congested that she can breathe only with her mouth open, loses her appetite or is listless, take her to a veterinarian immediately. These are signs of high fever and bacterial infections, and she could die without medical care.
- "Veterinary Secrets Revealed"; Andrew Jones, DVM; 2009
- Mar Vista Animal Medical Center: Feline Upper Respiratory Infection