Question: Hello I am a four year old cat, it seems that every now and then I get the sniffles. Nothing too bad, but it is annoying. What is the matter?
Signed All Stuffed Up and No Place to Go
Answer: Dear Stuffed Up
Hi there, it sounds like you may be suffering from seasonal allergies, these are common in people, and can be a problem for cats too. Snow mold is a problem in the spring, and later plant pollens can be an allergy irritant. Even ragweed, which is so commonly associated with people's allergies, can be an allergy causing problem for cats. Most seasonal allergies only last a few weeks. You can also be allergic to everyday things, such as dust in the home, or chemicals used around the house.
It might be best for you to stay inside when you find you have seasonal problems, or have your owner talk to your veterinarian about getting you some medication to relieve your symptoms. If you do have allergies to such things your owner can buy special wipes to clean your fur as this will remove the pollens from your fur. If the medication does not help your symptoms you might have a reoccurring upper respiratory tract infection. It would be best if you stay inside if this is the case too, because you do not want to spread it to other cats.
Question: Help I am a young kitten. My friend is typing this because my eyes are so crusted over they are glued shut. I keep sneezing all the time, my nose is plugged, and I feel terrible, what can I do?
Signed Little Snuffles
Answer: Dear Little Snuffles
This definitely sounds like an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection, or URTI. This can be caused by either bacteria, or virus. If it is bacterial a veterinarian can give you some medication to help clear it up. Viruses pretty much have to pass on their own, you can help by keeping your body strong.
Your owner may try to wipe the mucous from your eyes very gently with a warm, wet, cloth. They should keep you inside, in a warm room, possibly even with a humidifier. Sick kittens need to be kept comfortably warm, and given plenty to eat and drink. Your owner should feed you a small amount of canned kitten food (chicken mush) and mix it with water, sort of like a chicken soup. This should be done at least 4 times a day, with unlimited dry kitten food. Feeding should not be done in a plastic bowl as plastic bowls cannot be disinfected correctly.
Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, especially in kittens, should not be ignored. Sometimes called "Cat Sniffles", this can get worse (I don't want to alarm you but they can develop into pneumonia), and can spread to other cats very quickly. With a little rest your problem should pass much like a cold in people, but if you get worse, start panting like a dog, have blood in the mucous, or are lethargic and stop eating, you really should get proper veterinarian attention.
Links to Help Owners with Sick Cats