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Mr_M's avatar

Kitten sneezing. When should I worry?

Asked by Mr_M (7596points) August 15th, 2008

My 3 month old kitten is sneezing. Not regularly, but every day. Once when I picked her up and held her close to my shirt. Once when she was playing on the floor. Every day she sneezes. Not all day, but on occasion. She was at the vet for a checkup just this past Saturday and all was fine (this was before the sneezing started). Do I need to bring her back to the vet?

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13 Answers

poofandmook's avatar

I would call the vet first and just see what they say. Some cats just sneeze and nothing is wrong… but in a kitten? I wouldn’t take the chance. Call and see if they think you should bring her back.

Mr_M's avatar

Would they EVER say don’t bring her in? Too much of a liability.

poofandmook's avatar

Well, my vet knows me, my pets, my financial situation in paying for their visits, etc. My vet has been treating my family’s pets for years and years also. I forget sometimes that not everyone is that lucky. So if you don’t feel like you can trust them to be straight with you, just take her back.

Mr_M's avatar

That’s why I’m posting here. I think it’s just dust and I’m hoping someone could tell me the signs that I need to worry about. Sure, I could always take her to the vet.

poofandmook's avatar

Well, then I can tell you that my babies sneezed all the freakin time… and now they’re two healthy 3 year old beasts that barely even puke (in three years and 2 cats I’ve only had to clean it up 5 times)... with no vet visits except getting shots, spayed, and stitches removed. I wouldn’t worry. Is she drooling or her nose running? If no, I wouldn’t be too concerned.

syz's avatar

You don’t need to take her to the vet unless she has ocular or nasal discharge (usually yellowish or greenish) or if she becomes lethargic or stops eating. Kittens are very prone to upper respiratory illnesses. They are caused by a virus, and just like a cold for us, there’s not much to do but supply supportive care until the body can fight off the virus.

A mild case will probably only involve sneezing or a clear discharge. Kittens with severe upper respiratory disease are the most pathetic sight you will ever see. They come in open mouth breathing because their nasal passages are so clogged, their eyes are crusted shut, and they’ve precipitously lost weight because they don’t eat (cats don’t eat if they can’t smell the food).

If you do see any of those signs, though, you should go to the vet – even though you can’t fight the virus, it’s usually as good idea to use an antibiotic to prevent a secondary bacterial infection that can lead to pneumonia. Kittens also sometimes need subcutaneous fluids to treat dehydration and sometimes even a feeding tube if they’re unable to eat because of the illness.

These viruses are extremely infectious. Older cats with a healthy immune system will often have no or very mild signs (if you’re lucky).

delirium's avatar

My vet has told me to not take the cat to the vet before..

Mr_M's avatar

I’m surprised. With all the lawsuits going around.

Anyway, the kitten was frisky from day one. Then she’d sleep for a few hours, then get frisky again. Eating is better than good (she eats her dry food plus the adult cats’) and she drinks and goes to the bathroom.

I read about upper respiratory infection in kittens. Yesterday she was frisky in the morning and, for the first time since I got her Saturday, she slept ALL DAY. Then she got up at dinner time, ate well, was frisky, then went back to sleep for hours. What bothered me more is that she chose to go into her cat carrier to sleep. Usually she sleeps close to a human.

paulc's avatar

syz most likely has this pegged (who, incidentally, gets my vote for fluther MVP) but I’m reminded of my old cat Ruben who we got from the SPCA. After having him home for a day we thought he was sneezing but later we noticed that there were specks of blood in his sputum. Turns out he had caught kennel cough while at the SPCA. Though it can be very serious, we got him treated and he was fine afterwards.

Mr_M's avatar

Well, I called the vet for advice. His “office staff” said it wasn’t anything to concern myself with. I told them although I appreciated what they had to say, I really would like to ask the vet. A few hours later I got a callback – they told me to bring the kitten in and gave me an appointment for tomorrow.

What I’ll do is see how the kitten is in the next 24 hours and decide tomorrow if I need to go.

redsgirl4eva's avatar

Thank you for posting this question I have also been wondering this.

Mr_M's avatar

You’re very welcomed!

Mr_M's avatar

Update: Saturday the kitten was fine so I canceled the Vet. Saturday night, one of her eyes started to tear. The next morning (Sunday) the eye was swollen! The vet was off so we went to an Animal Hospital. They feel it’s a cold and gave us antibiotics and eye medicine and also gave her fluids while she was there. The eye thing was so sudden! Her eating and playfulness is fine, I’m happy to say. She gets up on her hind legs to see her older cat “brother” eye-to-eye, and then swats him in his head!

So I’ll wait and see.

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