The Alternative Veterinary Services LLC website lists nasal discharge, soft stools and gas on its list of common cat disease symptoms. Each symptom can have its own cause, or they could be interconnected. A vet can help determine whether symptoms are related or whether varying factors are contributing to each symptom.
It is normal for cats to occasionally sneeze or have some nasal discharge. However, if it becomes chronic or severe, it could be a sign of infection, virus, allergy, cancer or other illness. It could also be the result of a swallowing disorder or digestive tract disease that forces intestinal secretions into the nasal cavity. In that case, you may see your cat exhibiting all three symptoms at the same time.
Gastrointestinal disorders like irritable bowel syndrome, malabsorption, food sensitivity, pancreatic insufficiency and other condition can contribute to gas and soft stools. Irritable bowel syndrome, which has no known cause yet, causes intestinal distress like diarrhea, gas and bloating. Malabsorption occurs when the body has difficulty absorbing nutrients from food, causing intestinal unease. Causes include certain medications, cancer, or surgeries, liver disease or parasites. Pancreatic insufficiency also affects absorption, leading to intestinal symptoms including gas and soft stools.
Feline Leukemia Virus
Feline leukemia virus is the second leading cause of death in cats. Symptoms are diverse, and include respiratory infections, weight loss, lack of appetite, diarrhea and difficulty breathing. However, affected cats are also vulnerable to infections, as the disease compromises their immune systems. This compromised state is a platform for an array of illnesses that can cause nasal discharge, soft stools, gas or all of the above.
Determining the Cause
Because these symptoms may originate from different bodily systems, it's important to determine whether they are connected to or independent of each other. For example, it's possible a cat has a respiratory infection or allergies and an intestinal irritation at the same time. However, because digestive disorders and other illnesses can cause pain and suffering, and considering that feline leukemia virus is a leading cause of death in cats, visiting a vet for testing is the first step in determining the cause of a cat's symptoms.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Sarah Whitman's work has been featured in newspapers, magazines, websites and informational booklets. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in nutrition, and her projects feature nutrition and cooking, whole foods, supplements and organics. She also specializes in companion animal health, encouraging the use of whole foods, supplements and other holistic approaches to pet care.