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Old October 30th, 2007, 03:35 PM
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Question cat coughs while purring - Answered by Dr. Van Lienden

Hi there,

I've got a nine year old cat named Jake who is remarkably good natured (and pleasantly plump at 16.5 lbs). About a month ago, we got a new kitten from a rescue shelter. Jake wasn't too happy about the addition, but aside from not sitting on our laps as much as he used to, he was pretty much the same guy.
Suddenly he stopped eating as much as he usually did, and walked sluggishly around the room. Also, when he purred, he would cough, and as the purring continued, he would make a noise as if he was going to vomit, but wouldn't. (Kind of like a really bad cough).
We took him into the vet, explaining his symptoms, and they put him on an IV saying he had a fatty liver problem. We've got him back home now, where he is eating and moving like he used to, but the cough while he purrs still persists. It only happens when he's purring.
I called back the vet, and they said they didn't treat it, but that I should just wait on it. It breaks my heart to see him like that, and know that by making him purr I could be making him feel bad.
Any idea what this might be, and how to alleviate it? It seems as though the new kitten has ear mites - could this be related somehow?

I'd appreciate any information you might have.

Thanks,

Julia
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Old October 30th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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You might want to ask your vet about the possibility of asthma. Here are a couple of links regarding coughing in cats:

http://www.fritzthebrave.com/asthma/symptoms.html
http://www.felineasthma.org/symptoms/index.htm

Is he overweight at all?
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Old October 30th, 2007, 05:08 PM
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Asthma might be a possibility - he has seemed to lose his voice - it just seems odd that he only coughs when he purrs. He also foams when I give him his liquid medicine for his liver situation.

He is definitely overweight - he has been on light food for a year and has only lost 5 ounces. He should be about 12 lbs - right now he is 16.5. I just read an article about putting him on canned food to lose weight - I might try it once he's better.

Thanks for the thought - I left a message for the vet and am waiting to hear back from him.
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Old October 30th, 2007, 05:54 PM
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Definitely canned food would be much better at helping him lose weight. Diet dry foods are quite possibly the worst foods on the market for cats, and more often than not just make the problem worse. Perhaps this is the article you're talking about, but just in case it isn't: http://www.catinfo.org/feline_obesity.htm

And some more info:
http://www.catinfo.org/
http://www.catnutrition.org/obesity.php
http://www.littlebigcat.com/index.ph...=show&item=016

Let us know what the vet says!
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Old October 30th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Shiloh13 Shiloh13 is offline
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I hope he feels better give him a hug for me
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Old October 31st, 2007, 05:47 PM
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Thanks for the kind thoughts..

The vet finally got back to me, almost a full day later (good thing it wasn't an emergency!) .. Anyway, last night he wasn't coughing as much as he was before, and so the vet said to watch him tonight, but if it continues into tomorrow, I should bring him in and get an x-ray (add another $200 to the $600 I've already paid .. man, I should have been a vet!) .. to see if it might be bronchitis or asthma..

So I'm keeping an eye on him, and hopefully he'll have improved even more tonight than he did last night (he purred a lot and only coughed twice!)..

Crossing my fingers! Julia
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Old October 31st, 2007, 11:48 PM
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for more cough-free purring. Maybe he just had an irritated throat and it's all on the mend now.
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 04:56 PM
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Well, I've got a temporary verdict - finally got Jake back into the vet, and it looks like he's got an upper respiratory infection - most likely caught off of our new addition, our rescue kitten Alley. It's weird, because Jake's shots are pretty much up to date, but so be it.. He'll be on antibiotics for the next couple of weeks (he'll love that - he was just about done his other medicine too - poor guy), but the good news is hopefully he'll be all cleared up after this. We'll get him a booster after that, and maybe this will be the end of it..

Then we're on to weight loss - I picked up some cans of Wellness, so we'll see if he can drop down to a managable weight soon enough - the light food definitely didn't do him any good!
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Old November 2nd, 2007, 05:31 PM
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Well that's a bit of a relief! Hope he gets better soon. You might want to get some L-Lysine to help give his immune system a boost. The usual dose for a URI is a 500mg capsule per day (split between 2 meals). You can mix it in with canned food.

As for the antibiotics, make sure to watch out for any signs of inappetance. Some cats (like mine!) get digestive issues from them and the last thing you need is for Jake to stop eating again and be faced with more fatty liver problems. Call your vet right away if Jake has any diarrhea or vomitting or just loses his appetite.

Good luck, and let me know how he does on the Wellness.
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Old November 6th, 2007, 04:00 PM
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Well, here's an update. Jakers is on URI meds and isn't doing any better - still coughing when he purrs. He also doesn't like the Wellness much - he likes Friskies wet a bit better, but for the most part, he'll only lick the goo off of the wet food and then move on. Not good for a large kitty who should be eating at least a full can of Wellness or 2 of the Friskies.
Plus, to make matters worse, we now have fleas. I'm covered in flea bites and Alley (the kitten who brought joy and sickness into our lives) as well as Jake are scratching like crazy.
Jake's got a date with the vet tomorrow morning to find out why the meds aren't doing their thing - the vet mentioned a brand new antibiotic drug that just came out last Friday that they might try, and said that the meds might be why he's not eating properly.

I love my new kitten, and am happy that I rescued her, but I just wish that I was given a heads up when I adopted her that she had these afflictions so I could have been better prepared before bringing her into my home and infecting my other guy.

I'll pass along an update after I bring Jake in tomorrow.

Julia
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Old November 6th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Jim Hall Jim Hall is offline
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a uri will do that cats are so driven by smell try warming up her food
and yeah fiskeys and that type are very addictive i have found, cause they taste like candy to cats
i feel its better to feed em what they will eat and try to sneak in some good stuff i try to give Du some merrick in the morning when she is really hungry and then fancy feast the rest of the day or a little mix of the two
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Old November 7th, 2007, 02:48 PM
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Well, here's the update - yet again..

Looks like the vet missed a heart murmer the first time, but definitely caught it today - he's got some fluid in his heart and a touch of bronchitis as well, which is causing the coughing.. We've got him on heart meds and others to decrease the fluids.. plus he's sticking to the antibiotics as well - I'm going to monitor his eating to see if the heart meds make him want to chow down - if not, the vet and i agreed that he should come off the antibiotics - we don't need to throw fatty liver into the mix.

The cost is rising, but there is of course no price on my Jake and I want him to get better.. I don't appreciate some of the sneaking costs though - for example, he needed xrays, which was fine, but they said the technicians were backed up for a while, so it would take them a couple of hours to get it done. I left him there at 9 AM and came back at noon, and they charged me a $50 boarding fee for those hours. I wasn't impressed with that. Plus I asked if I could return some of his completely unused medicine that he was misdiagnosed with, and they looked at me like I was nuts.. Not cool.

Oh well, we'll see what this new day will bring..
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Old November 7th, 2007, 03:25 PM
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I hope the new meds will give him some relief.
Charging you for 2 hours in a cage is a bit outrageous. Is it 50$ for the day and over a certain number of hours you have to pay the full amount? 50$ is a whopping daily rate to begin with unless they serve caviar for lunch. My clinic has taken meds back in the past but they are not especially enthusiastic about it and would never think of offering. They could probably fall back legitimately on the legal implications of buying back drugs they had already dispensed.

By the way, those drugs the vet wouldn't take bake don't expire for a couple of years so label them well and store them properly. Next time he prescribes 20 Clamavox or whatever, you'll be able to reduce your bill.

Did the vet say what level of heart murmur he detected?

Last edited by badger; November 7th, 2007 at 03:27 PM.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 04:09 PM
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Sorry you've been having such a time. I hope that the new meds help him get better quickly. And as for the fleas, I imagine the new one brought those, it is always a good idea to treat all your pets before the new one comes home. But now that they are there don't forget to treat your house as well, as the topical treatments only treat the cat, and the eggs can lay dormant for months and months and then you get another attack later (learned that the hard way last xmas, after moving in Nov.).

Best of luck to you all.
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Old November 7th, 2007, 04:50 PM
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I'm totally blanking on the name of his heart condition - Heart Myopia maybe? I know he has fluid in his heart, but it hasn't enlarged, so she said she couldn't fully identify what he has. We agreed that we'd treat him first and then do the investigative work a bit later.

The costs are frustrating, plus the anxiety of having to take him back and forth every few days - I wouldn't mind the $1000 price tag if it was all diagnosed in one shot, but I guess it rarely works that way.

I'm with you on the fleas - now that I'm covered in bites, I'm as motivated as the kitties to get them outta my house! I wanted to get both kitties dosed before I tackled the house - otherwise it seemed pointless, and I wanted to make sure that Advantage wouldn't mess with Jake's medicine. He got the greenlight today, so it's Operation Flea Destruction at my house tonight when I get home from work!

I've introduced new cats into the household before, but never ones from a rescue home, so I never had to worry about them bringing in colds and pests before, but now, lesson learned!
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Old November 7th, 2007, 07:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phoozles View Post
I'm totally blanking on the name of his heart condition - Heart Myopia maybe?
Cardiomyopathy? There are a few different kinds. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM, the most common), which is a thickening of the heart wall, and Dilated cardiomypathy (DCM), thinning of the heart wall, are the two main ones. A definitive diagnosis can only be made with an echocardiogram (ultrasound with Doppler imaging of the heart in action). Not to be confused with electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG), which may be used along with X-rays to determine if there is a heart problem initially, but won't tell you which type of cardiomyopathy is present. Echocardiograms are also very expensive and must be done (or at least interpreted) by a veterinary cardiologist.

Here is some more info if you feel like doing a bit of reading:

http://www.holisticat.com/hcm.html
http://www.fabcats.org/owners/heart/cardiomyopathy.html


Do you know what heart meds they have him on?
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Old November 8th, 2007, 06:00 PM
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Yes, it was HCM she suspected, thanks sugarcatmom. Right now there is a lot of fluid around his heart and lungs, so it's hard to tell. I know that the ultrasound will be crazy expensive, especially since she mentioned that he would have to be sent away to do it.

I'm strongly considering changing vets - the excessive charging of money isn't the only problem - she also completely ignored me when I said I thought Jake had fleas - didn't even check him out to see. She also didn't seem to have any answers when it came to his eating problems - she seemed to think that an almost 17 pound cat should be fine eating a quarter of a can of Friskies a day (which was about all he would get down over the past couple of days) - he should be having two cans a day!

Anyway, I'm asking around to see if anyone knows of a better one in the area - I want Jake to have the best care possible, and I'm very frustrated and overwhelmed right now.

He's on a diuretic for the fluids, and a heart pill called.. dang, Fankor? I know that's not it, but I'm pretty sure it ends in 'kor'. Man, I sound horrible, but I'm at work right now and his pills are at home. I guess I wouldn't win any memory games when it comes to what's wrong with my cat lately. lol I think I've just been a little too overwhelmed with the whole thing.

Thanks for the links, sugarcatmom, I'll definitely give them a read, and give you some more updates when I get them.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Lightbulb Looks like everything was much more simple than I thought

My saga continues, this time with a somewhat happier situation..

Well, Jake's still going through his ordeal, and our 3 month old kitten Alley started coughing, so, since she was due for her final booster, we decided to bring her back to the vet, but to a NEW one (after the ridiculous boarding fee, I wanted to see if we could find one that was a little bit more reasonable).

My boyfriend brought Alley in on Friday and they took a look at her. He didn't mention Jake or his problems at all, and all of a sudden, the vet, from looking at Alley, started asking if she was exhibiting the same symptoms Jake has (i.e. a loss of appetite, coughing, slight depression) and she noticed that Alley has a slight heart murmur - just like Jake does! After she mentioned this, my boyfriend told her all about Jake, and the vet said it's likely that they both have Feline Herpes, or a similar virus. Apparently it's extremely common in cats, especially those from rescue shelters, and stress and new environments can cause an outbreak.

She said we could treat the symptoms (which we opted to do), but there is no 'cure' and it will pretty much clear up on its own. She then gave some L-Lysine (no cost for some extra for Jake), and Alley will be back in this week for a checkup to get her final booster, if she's up to it.

That's it.. A simple virus that is ridiculously common in cats, and my other vet never even considered it. I spent $1000 and tons of anxiety on something that should have cost at the most $100.

In any case, I've still got my eye on Jake, who's not eating what he should, and really doesn't like the taste of the L-Lysine. His cough and breathing does seem a little better, and I'm hoping that they'll both be back to their old ways in a couple of weeks or so. If Jake's eating doesn't pick up, back to the NEW vet he'll go for some solutions.

this has been a frustrating few weeks, but I'm glad that we have a possible answer that actually makes sense for once. I'll keep you posted on developments as they come, and thanks to this forum for letting me vent!
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Old November 12th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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well is ounds like you found a good vet congrats
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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:00 PM
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diet

Quote:
Originally Posted by phoozles View Post
Hi there,

I've got a nine year old cat named Jake who is remarkably good natured (and pleasantly plump at 16.5 lbs). About a month ago, we got a new kitten from a rescue shelter. Jake wasn't too happy about the addition, but aside from not sitting on our laps as much as he used to, he was pretty much the same guy.
Suddenly he stopped eating as much as he usually did, and walked sluggishly around the room. Also, when he purred, he would cough, and as the purring continued, he would make a noise as if he was going to vomit, but wouldn't. (Kind of like a really bad cough).
We took him into the vet, explaining his symptoms, and they put him on an IV saying he had a fatty liver problem. We've got him back home now, where he is eating and moving like he used to, but the cough while he purrs still persists. It only happens when he's purring.
I called back the vet, and they said they didn't treat it, but that I should just wait on it. It breaks my heart to see him like that, and know that by making him purr I could be making him feel bad.
Any idea what this might be, and how to alleviate it? It seems as though the new kitten has ear mites - could this be related somehow?

I'd appreciate any information you might have.

Thanks,

Julia
maybe you should put the cat on a diet
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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:38 PM
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maybe you should put the cat on a diet
Maybe you should read the whole thread.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Originally Posted by phoozles View Post
My saga continues, this time with a somewhat happier situation..

Well, Jake's still going through his ordeal, and our 3 month old kitten Alley started coughing, so, since she was due for her final booster, we decided to bring her back to the vet, but to a NEW one (after the ridiculous boarding fee, I wanted to see if we could find one that was a little bit more reasonable).

My boyfriend brought Alley in on Friday and they took a look at her. He didn't mention Jake or his problems at all, and all of a sudden, the vet, from looking at Alley, started asking if she was exhibiting the same symptoms Jake has (i.e. a loss of appetite, coughing, slight depression) and she noticed that Alley has a slight heart murmur - just like Jake does! After she mentioned this, my boyfriend told her all about Jake, and the vet said it's likely that they both have Feline Herpes, or a similar virus. Apparently it's extremely common in cats, especially those from rescue shelters, and stress and new environments can cause an outbreak.

She said we could treat the symptoms (which we opted to do), but there is no 'cure' and it will pretty much clear up on its own. She then gave some L-Lysine (no cost for some extra for Jake), and Alley will be back in this week for a checkup to get her final booster, if she's up to it.

That's it.. A simple virus that is ridiculously common in cats, and my other vet never even considered it. I spent $1000 and tons of anxiety on something that should have cost at the most $100.

In any case, I've still got my eye on Jake, who's not eating what he should, and really doesn't like the taste of the L-Lysine. His cough and breathing does seem a little better, and I'm hoping that they'll both be back to their old ways in a couple of weeks or so. If Jake's eating doesn't pick up, back to the NEW vet he'll go for some solutions.

this has been a frustrating few weeks, but I'm glad that we have a possible answer that actually makes sense for once. I'll keep you posted on developments as they come, and thanks to this forum for letting me vent!

Phew, you've had quite the ordeal! Hopefully NOW things will start looking up. What about Jake's heart? Is that issue still on the table or was it a misdiagnosis?

As for Jake's appetite, is he just being finicky with the new foods or does he not show much interest in his old diet either? Some tricks I've used to stimulate my guy's appetite is to give him plain chicken baby food (only intermittently - obviously it's not balanced for continuous feeding), crumble dry food on top of his wet food, sprinkle powdered freeze-dried chicken or beef on his food (Real Food Toppers are his favourite), or a dusting of parmesan cheese. If none of that works, an appetite stimulant like cryproheptadine (you can get that from your vet) might be necessary for a bit. It's the whole hepatic lipidosis thing that's worrisome in his case.
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Old November 12th, 2007, 06:08 PM
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Looks like Jake's heart situation was just par for the course for this virus - Alley has it too, and it's just caused by the agitation. That's why I was confused when the vet said she thought it was HCM, but that would cause an enlarged heart, which he didn't have. Of course, she also thought he had hyper-thyroidism, which again was unlikely (which she even admitted), since he's such a big guy. Sigh - I'm so glad I'm not going back to that vet - I just wish I had moved on a bit sooner.

I think it's mostly the food that he doesn't like - I've even been feeding him kitty crack (ahem, Fancy Feast) just to get him to eat something - he'll eat some, but not nearly as much as I'd like. He has been pushing around his old dry dish (his hint to me that he'd like something in it), so lately I've been relenting and giving him about a 1/4 cup of dry just so he'll eat something. He does seem to be reverting back to how he was when he wasn't eating beforehand - but I still have a bit of the appetite stimulant left that the doctor gave me before, so I might give that to him tonight just to get him back in action.

It's probably hard for him because his sense of smell is off, due to the sickness, and he's still not a fan of Alley, but he'll tolerate her - mostly.

Alley, who has the same thing, is a typical nutball kitten - running all over the place, eating quite a bit (although she's still on the thin side) and doing those annoying kitten things that we love so much. It's like night and day with those two!
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Old November 12th, 2007, 07:15 PM
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Fancy Feast ain't so bad, but even the best food in the universe is useless if he won't eat it. Do try crushing up some of his old favourite dry and sprinkling it on top, that one works every time in my house. I know all about the dry food addict: when Aztec is hungry, he still opens the pantry door where I used to store his big bag of Science Diet Light (ugh). Thing is, there hasn't been a kernel of that garbage anywhere on the premises since he was diagnosed with diabetes 4+ years ago.

Try some super-stinky foods like the Fancy Feast fish flavours (I think the cod and/or shrimp ones are really potent, if memory serves me). Also, warming them up a bit in the microwave can bring out even more smelliness.

Quote:
and doing those annoying kitten things that we love so much
Awww, are you trying to make me jealous??
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Old November 13th, 2007, 01:16 AM
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glad to hear you've got yourself a great vet AND a proper diagnosis

You can also try adding a little warm water to the canned food & see if that will help him to smell it better good luck

Also you can try Tuna Water:

From http://www.felinecrf.org/which_foods.htm

Quote:
Whilst tuna itself is not appropriate for cats (see Which Foods to Feed), one possible compromise is to add the water in which tuna is packed to your cat's prescription or other diet in order to moisten it and make it more palatable. Tuna packed in water may actually be packed in a type of broth, which may contain onion; and other brands may contain high levels of sodium, so you need to be very sure the brand you use is acceptable. Starkist Low Sodium Tuna contains only tuna and water and is popular with Feline CRF Information listmembers in the USA.
& Yes Hepatic Lipidosis is a concern

from the same site as above
This also applies to cat who do not eat on a regular basis
Quote:
If you feed a cat any fish diet exclusively, the cat can develop a condition called steatitis (yellow fat disease) http://www.vetcentric.com/reference/...ON=1&MODE=full, which is caused by a Vitamin E deficiency resulting from the imbalanced diet. Firstly the cat becomes very nervous, and then becomes hypersensitive in all the nerve endings of its skin, so it is very painful for the cat to be touched. The treatment is massive doses of vitamin E under a vet's supervision, and discontinuing any food containing vegetable oil or mineral oil because this will deplete the body's stores of vitamin E even more. Armed Forces Institute of Pathology discusses a case of steatitis in a cat - this cat was put to sleep.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 04:52 PM
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phoozles phoozles is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southwestern Ontario
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Well, the good news is I gave Jake half of his appetite stimulant pill, and he wolfed down everything I put in front of him (which wasn't an excessive amount as I want him to continue to be hungry and eat) and I'm hoping he can go pill free from now on. He even ate the food with the L-Lysine in it, which he wasn't too happy to do the day before. His breathing does sound a lot better, and I got him to purr for quite a while last night with nary a cough, so that's comforting. He's also shown signs of his voice coming back. I hate to jinx myself, but it does seem as though he's on the mend!

Those are some great tips for getting him to chow down - thanks to both of you! Hopefully when his sniffer is back in action, he'll eat whatever I give him - he'd never been a picky eater before, so I really think it was just the cold and the antibiotics that have been bringing him down.
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Old November 13th, 2007, 05:33 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Yay for good appetites!! Hope he keeps it up, and that both your kitties are feeling tip-top in no time.
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Old November 14th, 2007, 12:47 AM
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growler~GateKeeper growler~GateKeeper is offline
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WOOHOO great job Jake keep it up
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Old November 14th, 2007, 09:05 PM
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phoozles phoozles is offline
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Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Southwestern Ontario
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I'm so (slightly tentatively) happy! This morning when I was eating my cereal, Jake came up and waited to have some of the milk - he hasn't done that in weeks! (I gave him a little - he's not lactose intolerant, but a little was all he got). Plus when I got home from work he woke up and came to the door to see me - again, that hasn't happened since this all began! He's almost back to his old self again, and when I put down the food he went right up to it and ate it with no hesitation! I know I'm not out of the woods yet, but so far so good! Thanks to those of you who have given support And sorry for this message being so cramped - my home computer keyboard's enter key doesn't work Anyway, I thought you might like to see some pics of the two kitties that have caused all this stress.. The grey guy is Jake - he's big but loveable.. and the little one is Alley. If only I can stop getting her to jump on Jake's head - I wish I could get a picture of that - but she's too dang fast!
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Old November 15th, 2007, 07:28 AM
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Love4himies Love4himies is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2007
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They are adorable. I am so glad that they are doing better.
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