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Lethargic, sneezing, breathing thru mouth, help!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I am in need of some advice. Last night I got in late. I noticed my 11 year old kitty, Angus, did not come to greet me at the door. He did not come when I called. I found him & forced him out from under the bed. He was not walking much, had no interest in food or water, & simply wasn't acting right. I called my vet at 11pm, as Angus has been blocked before & just got over a bladder infection.

The vet said to bring him in the morning. When I got up, I found my 5 month old kitten, Pierre, coughing. My 1 year old, Jacko, & 8 year old, Mattie, were too, but aside from the sneezing/coughing, they were all behaving normally. Rushed Angus to the vet. He had a fever of 105. All his bloodwork came back fine, no organ issues. The vet gave him a shot to help bring his fever down & a baytril shot.

Due to the fever & sudden onset on everyone, the vet recommended I treat all the cats. The 3 acting normally got amoxicillan. Angus has Baytril pills as he usually throws up or spits out liquid meds.

Angus acted a little better when he got home. I got a minute of purring out of him & he ate a small amount of kitten food. His eyes were watering so badly it looked like he was crying. He has started breathing exclusively through his mouth. He has eaten another small bit of kitten food, & has drank nothing as far as I know. He's lethargic & avoidant again.

He's in the room with us tonight where we are running a vaporizer (it blows hot steam, like a shower) but he doesn't seem to be breathing better. When should I be expecting to see some improvement? What in the world has come into my home & so quickly infected all my babies? I am very scared right now. It was like they were fine one day & not the next, but there may have been subtle signs I missed. Angus is definitely the sickest, and the oldest. What do I have to do to try to pull him through this? Is this normal? Has anyone else experienced this?

I usually keep my apartment at 72 degrees or so in winter. Would turning up the heat help? It is still pretty drafty, no matter what, which is why I keep it low. I keep fleece blankets around for them to curl up on. I am just grasping at straws here. frown.gif I just haven't seen Angus look this sick since Thanksgiving 2 years ago when I found him blocked & unmoving in the litter box. He is so very important to me!
post #2 of 8

Did the vet say it was a URI?


My Rosie and Jack both had URI's at the same time this year so the vet gave them a shot and said it's basically like our common colds?.


Jack seemed worse because he was breathing through his mouth like yours and it was worrying. He hid under the duvet for 2-3 days but after that started getting back to his normal self.


The main thing is to make sure they eat and drink, because he wasn't so l had to feed him mushed up food with my fingers and give him water several times a day with a droplet.


Keep on doing what your doing, especially with the vaporizer and keep them warm.


I asked my vet how they could catch a URI when they were indoor cats, but he said it could be in the air

post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the response, Rosiemac. The vet does believe it's a URI. The only thing that was off in any of his blood work was his sugar levels, they were slightly elevated, and the vet attributes that to stress and not eating and drinking. Well, that and the high fever.


I've kept the vaporizer around him at all times trying to break up the congestion but it is not getting any better. I let him out of the bedroom today and he went straight to the bathtub to drink from the faucet, so I did at least see him drink once. He turned his nose up at all dry food, so I did as you suggested and force fed him some canned food. After a couple of force fed bites, he began licking it off my fingers voluntarily but did not eat much overall. Probably about a tablespoon. He ate about 20 pieces of kitten kibble yesterday total. He's a 13 pound cat.


I called the vet and they suggested something smellier like tuna, but he is not interested in tuna. He doesn't like to eat meat, and not even canned food actually. He likes dry food and cheese (shredded only), and that's about it. It's taken me 11 years to even find a cat treat that he likes (Temptations). He is so finicky.


I've read a few mouth breathing posts and tried a couple things, like raising his bowl, keeping the water fresh (I don't have a fountain so I use the tub faucet set to a small trickle), warm blankets for comfort, and the vaporizer. He is in the bedroom now with all the other kitties and the vaporizer, but earlier I had just him alone in the bathroom with it (a much smaller room), water, food, litter, and a fleece blanket.


I am probably taking him back to the vet today. I asked about anything to help with congestion or better food to try or anything, and I really was just told that mouth-breathing is bad in cats. They've called to check up on him several times today. I feel a little comforted knowing you went through this with your kitty, and he behaved strangely for a couple of days. I'm just not seeing much improvement, and I am worried that the amount of water and food he is getting is simply not enough to maintain and fuel his body to fight this infection.


I can only assume his recent bladder infection weakened his immune system. He has never been this sick before. Even when he was blocked, he had a fairly poor prognosis but pulled through. His kidneys were barely functioning and I have no idea how long he'd been blocked before I found him. But after 3 days with the emergency vet (who sent him home without bothering to check if he could pee on his own) and a week at my regular vet, his system got all flushed out, he eventually was able to pee again on his own, and his kidneys regained all or almost all of their function back.

post #4 of 8
How is he today?.

What a lot of members here use, and l also use is a paste called lysine. It boosts their immune system up. You can also buy it in power form to mix in their food but l just smear it down their front paws to lick off. If you do a search in this forum there's threads you can read about it.

When Jack was breathing through his mouth he was giving off little cough like sounds as well.
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

Thankfully today Angus seems slightly better. When I woke up, I called out his name and he answered me, which is a good sign. He went for a drink of water, and as long as I hand feed it, he is eating from a can of a/c food the vet gave me.


However, Pierre is getting worse, and he's been on antibiotics now for 2 days. Very congested and sneezy, but still eating and drinking water. I guess these 2 are just the weakest of my bunch, the oldest and the youngest.


I am feeling more and more certain I brought something in from one of the houses I work at. I am a case manager, so I go visit people in their homes. One person had a sick cat, so I washed my hands before going home. I got to thinking about it last night though, and they had a healthy cat too that slept on my lap during the visit. So I wonder if the healthy cat rubbed something off on me and my kitties managed to catch it.


Pierre definitely doesn't feel good, but he is not acting as strangely as Angus was. This is Pierre on a good day, when he's not feeling ill.



post #6 of 8

It's very possible that you have taken something in from the other cat?. I always take my shoes off before l go into the livingroom and wash my hands, yet they still managed to catch it, but it's the first time it's ever happened in the 9 years i've had Rosie.


As my vet said the average human cold can last a week so it's usually the same for cats, but keep an eye on Pierre over the weekend but like Angus he'll probably feel better in the next day or two. The good thing is he's eating and drinking which is important


You should get some Lysine though because it really is good.


Lots of healthy vibes.gifcoming over for them both, and he looks so sweet there!

post #7 of 8

Keep in mind that the URI is a virus, not a bacteria, so an antibiotic will not stop the effects of the virus, just fight any secondary infections.  Just like when we have a cold, there's not much you can do that will really shorten the length of time before the virus is overcome by our immune system.

post #8 of 8

Try adding a bit of water to his food until it's about the consistency of thick oatmeal.  Warm it up in either a water bath (set bowl inside a bigger bowl of water) or for a few seconds in the microwave.  If he's congested, he can't smell the food. Warming it up helps enhance the aroma and helps him smell it better.  Get your bathroom nice and steamy and then take him in there.  Sit with him in the 'sauna' until the steam dissipates.  This intense steam works faster to break up the snot in the nose.  You can also add plain meat baby food (beef, chicken, or turkey--no onions or garlic) to the canned food or try just the baby food.  I sometimes add eucalyptus oil to the vaporizer to help open up the nasal passages. 

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