Sneezing, coughing, watering eyes and a stuffy nose -- sounds like the common cold, but it's not just a human malady. Your cat can't catch a cold from you, but she can acquire the feline form of the illness that will leave her feeling under the weather.
Entice Her To Eat
You know what it's like to have a cold: you can't breathe, you can't smell and your appetite is non-existent. If your kitty can't smell her food she probably won't feel much like eating either, but it's important to keep her strength up so her body can fight the cold that is making her feel horrible. Try pouring water you've drained from a can of tuna over her kibble to encourage her to eat. You can even mix a few flakes of tuna meat in for good measure. Even through inflamed nasal passages your cat should be able to smell the unmistakable odor of tuna and it should stimulate her appetite.
Help Keep Your Cat Hydrated
The advice to drink plenty of fluids also applies to your cat when she has a cold, but there's not a lot you can do to force her to drink water. Always having a bowl of clean water available might not be enough, so doctoring it up may be necessary to tempt your kitty to drink. Drain the water from a can of tuna into an ice cube tray and freeze the tuna broth. Drop a tuna-cube into your cat's water dish to convince her to drink a little more than she might be inclined to.
Don't Let Her Become Addicted
While your kitty is convalescing it can be easy for her to get used to the extra special treatment you're giving her. That includes expecting her daily ration of tuna and tuna water. As much as she loves it, tuna doesn't have the nutrients your cat needs to stay healthy and it can even deplete vitamin E from her body, which can lead to a whole other host of health issues. If your cat continues to demand her "fair share" of tuna even after recovering from her cold, you may have to gradually wean her until she is entirely off of fish, saving it for occasional extra special treats.
Additional Ways To Comfort Kitty
If your cat comes down with a cold, the first thing you should do is get her into the clinic so the vet can prescribe medication, like antihistamines, corticosteroids, antibiotics and possibly a cough suppressant, if he feels it is necessary. Talk to the doctor about giving your kitty echinacea and a fatty acid supplement to help her immune system and get his recommendations on dosages. At home, in addition to giving your cat her medicine as directed, run a humidifier to keep the air moist and easy to breathe. Saline nose drops will dilute the mucus in your cat's nose and will also help her breathe. And a little chicken soup is always comforting to someone with a cold. You don't have to open a can with noodles and all, just mix up a mug of low sodium chicken broth and offer it to your kitty after it's cooled down enough to drink without hurting her mouth and throat.
- The Doctors Book of Home Remedies for Dogs and Cats; Editors of Prevention Health Books
- VetInfo: Home Remedies for Sneezing Cat Treatment
- PetPlace.com: Commonly Asked Questions About Cat Nutrition
- The Natural Remedy Book for Dogs and Cats; Diane Stein
- Michael Blann/Lifesize/Getty Images