You pamper your beloved Persian cat to the best of your ability. He eats the finest foods, goes to the groomer regularly, is up-to-date on all his vaccinations—but a nose job? Relax, it's not cosmetic surgery. He might need feline rhinoplasty to help him breathe better.
Like certain breeds of dogs, such as pugs and bulldogs, Persian cats are brachycephalic. That literally means "short head." In felines, Persian relatives such as the Burmese and Himalayan are also brachycephalic. That short head means a short, pushed-in nose, and therein lies the problem. Kitty might suffer from brachycephalic airway syndrome, affecting his ability to breathe properly. Your vet can perform nose surgery to fix or improve his respiration.
Not every Persian cat has brachycephalic airway syndrome, but if your cat has an especially pushed-in face he's more likely to develop symptoms. While the symptom most indicative of a problem is mouth breathing, if Kitty snores a lot, tires easily, makes noises when he breathes, or frequently suffers from upper respiratory infections, take him to the vet for an examination. Some cats might even pass out after exercise. If Kitty's breathing problems aren't addressed, the extra effort he must put forth simply to breathe can cause heart trouble. Symptoms are often worse in hot, humid weather.
The scientific term for small nostrils is stenotic nares. Your vet might perform a surgery enlarging Kitty's nostrils so he can take in more air and breathe more easily. Before the surgery, your vet gives Kitty a thorough health check. If your cat's deemed good to go, your vet gives Kitty a general anesthetic. The fur around his nose is shaved off. The vet makes two little incisions on either side of the nostrils, removing a piece of skin. How much skin is taken off depends on the tightness of Kitty's nostrils. Your vet then uses small dissolving sutures along the incision. According to Shaughnessy Veterinary Hospital, ''These sutures help to bring the nostrils up and out, opening the airway, making it easier for the cat to breathe." Cats usually recover from this surgery very quickly and the improvement in their breathing is quite noticeable.
Some veterinary hospitals can perform nostril enlargement with laser surgery. The procedure is similar to the standard surgery, except sutures aren't necessary. Kitty might not have to wear an Elizabethan collar after surgery, as there are no sutures to interfere with. No matter which type of surgery you choose, you'll be able to tell immediately that Kitty's nostrils are bigger. Odds are he'll soon also be a much healthier, happier cat.
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.