Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with your wee one today.
Does Bella sound congested or stuffed up?
Does she just have no interest in food even if brought to her "safe haven"?
Any retching, vomiting, teeth grinding, drooling, lip licking, or gulping?
Any voice loss, coughing or gagging?
She doesn't sound congested, there is a slight noise as she breathes but it's hard to place if it's from nose/throat or chest.
Nose isn't running, there is a little eye discharge but only slight
She vomited a very small amount of a yellow substance two days ago - nothing found since then.
She isn't grinding teeth or licking
She has gone very docile and doesn't want to move - a little gulping when she gets up to move to a more comfortable position.
I've taken her favourite food to her and the sight of it makes her uncomfortable
No coughing, and she's never been a vocal cat so hard to guage but she did meow a couple of times in the car yesterday
Once that is on board, you will want to try and see if you can get her eating (as I am sure you have been). Favourite foods are allowed or you can tempt her with a light/easily digestible diet. Examples of this would be boiled chicken, scrambled eggs (made with water and not milk), meat baby food (do avoid the ones with garlic powder in the ingredients) or there are also veterinary prescription diets that can be used here (ie Hill’s I/D or Royal Canin’s sensitivity.)
Further to this, if tempting doesn’t work, then we do have to consider initiating syringe feeds to get food into her. In that case, you may want to try Hill's A/D (LINK) or Royal Canin Recovery (LINK) from your local vet. These are critical care diets that is comes as a soft, palatable pate. Both are calorically dense, so a little goes a long way nutrition-wise and this could just help get some more calories into her even if we can’t get a huge volume of food in. As well, for syringing food, you can use the animal version of Ensure (balanced for animals dietary requirements) called Clinicare Canine/Feline Liquid Diet (LINK). It is actually by the same people who make Ensure, but is formulated to meet out pet's dietary needs. Your vet should be able to order it for you but it is available without a prescription. They also make one specifically for older cats with kidney troubles, and this could be an alternative for an older cat. This way it would a means of getting food, staving off hepatic lipidosis (which is a concern when cats are off their food for extended periods of time), and buying you time to uncover the reason for her anorexia and lethargy.
On top off all of this, you do need to keep an eye on her water intake and hydration. To check her hydration status to make sure she is not becoming dehydrated there are a few things we can test at home. One is whether the eyes appear sunken, if the gums are tacky instead of wet/moist, and whether she has a "skin tent" when you lift the skin. To see how to check these parameters for dehydration, you can find a wee video on this HERE. ( They use a big dog but it makes it easier to see and the principles are exactly the same) If you are seeing any signs of dehydration already, then you do want to have your kitty seen by her vet before this gets out of control for her.
In regards ***** ***** you can do to help stave off dehydration at home (though do note that if she is already then she will likely need more the oral rehydration), encourage her to drink but offering fresh water or even low-sodium chicken broth. As well, wet foods (as mentioned above) are 35% water, so getting her to eat will help us deal with water intake as well. If she isn't amenable to drinking, you may wish to offer unflavored pedialyte via syringe feeding. While we cannot do this if they are vomiting, it may be an option here. A typical maintenance rate for hydration in an animal 48mls per kilogram of her body weight a day. If you do give syringe pedialyte, this should obviously be divided up into multiple offerings through the day rather then all at once. This value will give you the total she needs for the day and is a good starting point to give you an idea of her daily requirement. If she does vomits if you give pedialyte, I would discontinue this as a therapy. (since we don’t want her vomiting because of our intervention).
Finally, I do just want to note some steps you can take to make sure there isn't a bit of congestion with this wheezing blocking her sense of smell and making her feel rough. To start, we can steam treat her to try and open her nasal passages. To do so, you can take her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower. The steam will help loosen and clear some of the snot congesting her. You can also use a baby nebulizer/humidifier, but often cats don’t like things held up to their faces. That said, you can alternatively make a little ‘steam tent’ with Bella in her carrier and the nebulizer under a thin bed sheet.
You can also use saline nasal drops (like Ocean Mist) though do avoid anything medicated. Tilt the head back and drop two to three drops in one nostril. Cats hate this, but it helps. After the drops go down, you can let the head up and wipe away any discharge that gets loosened. Then repeat with the other nostril.
I hope this information is helpful.
If you need any additional information, do not hesitate to ask!
All the best,
Thanks for the comprehensive reply, lots of useful information there and to take in - let me read through carefully and follow your instruction, I'll leave a rating a little later in case I need to clarify anything with you this morning. Thanks - Darren