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I've noticed mucus issues in both my cats (both elderly....Otis the tabby is about 18, Blue the Siamese is about 15....ages are approximate as they are rescues).

Blue has one runny eye. It isn't constant, but I notice it often enough. The discharge is clear. She doesn't paw at the eye or seem uncomfortable. Sometimes it looks goopy and thick, but never green or yellow or something else alarming. She eats well, is affectionate, acts normal....for an aloof cat who never did like to play.

Otis has had a stuffy nose. He sneezes a lot. His discharge looks like regular snot, whitish, but his nose looks constantly dirty. I can hear the congestion when he breathes. Other than the sneezing and wheezy breaths, he is a very active cat, eats well, and still likes to play at 18 years.

Both cats seem healthy except for the mucus.

Both cats have shown these symptoms for the last 6 months. This is also the same time I switched them from an all wet food diet to dry cat food. (Not my preference, but theirs. We went on vacation and they resisted going back on a wet food diet plan. I gave up.)

I suspect the food may be causing inflammation or allergies. Also, Otis has hyperthyroidism. My understanding is that this is a tumor on his thyroid. I theorize this tumor has spread to cause other problems. He is also deaf. I wonder if it is now affecting his nasal passages.

My cats are vet resistant. Otis becomes feral when he is there. When he was younger, I'd get drugs to sedate him before a visit. I don't feel comfortable doing that now with his advanced age (although last time they tried to draw blood on him, he was flagged as a problem patient. My old man cat gave them quite a fight.) He came home and hid under the bed for two days. He has never been a hide under the bed cat, and I honestly worried he would pass after that visit. With his hyperthyroidism, and his age at the time, the vet told me to prepare myself to "have to make a decision" for him. I decided then I wouldn't bring him to the vet unless necessary, and instead let him live out his senior years with little intervention as long as he was happy and comfortable. And he has outlived their predictions. The vet said I'd have to "make a decision" for him 5 years ago. I think 18 years for a stray tabby cat is pretty awesome.

So, knowing all of that, would you bring these cats in for their runny noses and eye? Part of me is afraid they'd want to put Otis down on the spot. Physically, he is pretty pathetic. Skin and bones. He was 6 pounds the last time he was in (was 14 pounds in his prime). He is probably about 4 pounds now, and not a small cat.
 

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Bring Otis to the vet. I don’t think you want his end of life to be a miserable one. To waste away in pain that he is not telling you. It’s in your hand. Don’t wait until it’s too late. 4lbs is small. It’s your decision.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
No smokers here. Too bad, that would be an easy answer! The only different thing in his environment has been the dry cat food.

Of course today he seems just fine and hasn't sneezed once. Same for my younger kitty's eye.

Otis' hyperthyroidism is being treated and he has been to the vet annually. He is due for a visit now, but I dread them. In spite of his pitiful appearance, I believe he is happy. I hesitate taking him to the vet because I don't want his final days to be traumatic and awful for him. I have the number for a vet who does house calls for when it is time "to make the decision." I have been watching him for clues that it is time for years.
 
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