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Coughing and not eating.

Species: Cat
Breed: DSH
Age: 3-6 months
I recently adopted Bell (female) and Sid (6 month old male from a local animal shelter. Both were seen last week by the vet the shelter uses. They were both fixed and had received their vaccines. They were both treated for ear mites with Sid being treated for tapeworms as well. Bell has recently started coughing as is she has a hairball but nothing comes of it. I have also noticed that she is sleeping more and eating less than when I first got them a week today. They do have an appointment with our vet Friday but I am not sure if I am just being silly or if I should take her in sooner. I don't want anything to happen to her. We just lost our other 2 cats (one due to old age and the other to we think coyotes). I have read that it can be any number of things. Should I take her in sooner or is it allergies possibly?


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

First of all, congrats on your new family members!

There are a few reasons for cats to cough. I'll describe a few of the reasons and then I'll hopefully help you decide whether Bell needs to be seen sooner than Friday.

My first thought was that this is connected to the recent spay. If she was spayed within the last week or so then she could be coughing because of some slight irritation from the tube that is put in her airway to help her breathe under anesthetic. If that's the cause then there is not much that can be done other than wait. It should resolve itself in a few more days if this is the case.

Some cats can cough because of asthma. This is pretty uncommon in a cat so young though.

There are viruses that can make cats cough. Most kittens with upper respiratory viruses will do more sneezing than coughing but it still is possible. A virus could also explain the decreased appetite.

At this point the vet is not likely to do a whole lot unless the kitten is very unwell. If this is a virus then we don't really do much unless there is an obvious bacterial infection along with the virus.

Here are some criteria that would make me want to see the kitten(s) sooner:

-If there is a yellow or green discharge from the nose or eyes.
-If the appetite is greatly reduced (i.e. not eating at for a whole days or only eating a tiny tiny amount)
-If you feel that Bell is really uncomfortable
-If your gut is just telling you that something is really wrong.

Otherwise I'd keep an eye on her and still see the vet on Friday.

I hope that helps. Hopefully she does well!

Dr. Marie.


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Disclaimer: Although Dr. Marie is a qualified veterinarian, the information found on this site is not meant to replace the advice of your own veterinarian. AskAVetQuestion.com and Dr. Marie do not accept any responsibility for any loss, damage, injury, death, or disease which may arise from reliance on information contained on this site. Do not use information found on this site for diagnosing or treating your pet. Anything you read here is for information only.

Customer reply:

Her eyes are alittle teary but no discharge from either her nose or eyes and she seems fine as far as being comfortable but she has been sleeping more which as a kitten I thought she would be more active. I am not sure about her eating today since I went back to work (work at a school) but when I have been home, I haven't seen her eat as much as when she first got here a week ago. Now that I think about it I think her coughing did start around the time she was spayed. I will keep an eye on her and if she gets worse take her in sooner. Thank you so much for your help. I am just a little paranoid since lossing my other two cats recently.


Online vet, Dr. Marie

Dr. Marie replied:

So sorry for the delay Michele. It sounds like your plan is a good one. Let me know if you have more concerns!

Dr. Marie.



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Dr. MarieDr. Marie is a veterinarian who practices in a busy animal hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. She created Ask A Vet Question as a resource for good, accurate veterinary advice online. Dr. Marie treats dogs, cats, hamsters, guinea pigs, and rats. She has been a vet since 1999.

Is an online vet visit just as good as a trip to your veterinarian? No! But, many times, asking an online veterinarian a question can help save you money. While Dr. Marie can't officially diagnose your pet or prescribe medications, she can often advise you on whether a vet visit is necessary. You can also ask Dr. Marie for a second opinion on your pet's condition.