Our cat has breathing difficulties!


Does your cat wheeze or struggle to breathe? Here are a couple of conditions which might be affecting him.

Q We took on our cat when he was 14 months old. He had such a personality and loved to play. However, he now no longer plays - he gets out of breath just walking upstairs! He has very laboured, noisy breathing. He snorts and coughs and seems to have difficulty swallowing (he throws his head back when trying to eat). His eyes also need to be cleaned several times a day. He is just over two years old now and acts like an old cat. Can anything be done to help him?

Vet Andrea Harvey replies: It's difficult to know, without seeing your cat, how much can be done, but it would be worthwhile having him assessed by a specialist.

The sort of things that can be done include, controlling any nasal infections - if he has any nasal discharge that is further obstructing his airways, clearing this can help. Surgical therapy may include widening of the nostrils and shortening of the soft palate in the throat.

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There are also other conditions that cats can develop such as polyps (a benign lump) and a narrowing at the back of the nose (nasopharyngeal stenosis); these can both be successfully treated.

He could also have a secondary inflammation or infection in the lower airways in his lungs. Again, treating that would also help.

While it is unlikely that all his problems can be cured, it is likely that there are things that can be done to help to improve your cat's quality of life. I suggest you visit your vet and discuss referring your cat to a feline specialist for assessment.