Thursday, April 07, 2005

Coughing Cats

Cleo, our oldest and most nervous cat, started coughing last Thursday. Not all the time, and not a painful sort of cough - in fact it was like a cross between a cough and a sneeze. I thought perhaps she had a hairball and didn't worry about it as she didn't seem distressed or unwell in any other way.

On Friday she coughed a bit more, every time I stroked her. First she started gulping a bit as if there was something stuck in her throat, then sneezing, then jumping on the floor and coughing quite violently and half-retching. Cleo's the kind of cat who ignores us much of the time, then suddenly has an affectionate moment when she wants to nuzzle into our clothes - particularly if we're wearing something fleecy! - and purr loudly while kneading with her paws. Poor Cleo, she was abandoned as a kitten so she still has this need to 'suckle'.

But Friday was a public holiday for one of the Cypriot national days, and Cleo still didn't seem to be ill as such - just coughing whenever she started to purr. I checked online and found that coughing in cats can be due to various reasons, none of them particularly serious. So we didn't ring the vet's emergency number. For one thing, taking Cleo in the car would be so traumatic for her that it might make her ill.

On Saturday she was still fine, but still started coughing and sneezing every time she jumped on me. Same on Sunday. Richard suddenly remembered that she did something similar this time last year, and we wondered if it was an allergic reaction... however last year she sneezed when she was outside and there was blossom blowing about. Surely she couldn't have developed an allergy to me?!

By Monday she seemed to be better. She ran away from me rather than wanting a cuddle; perhaps she had realised the connection between me and her coughing fits. On Tuesday she ignored me completely. Then on Wednesday she jumped on me, nuzzled in, purred..... and no coughing. What a relief!

Then I heard another cat coughing in just the same way, and realised it was Tessie, our youngest cat. Tim thinks she might have a hairball, or an allergy of some sort. I wonder if she's caught something from Cleo, although they never actually get close to each other as Cleo's terrified of Tessie.

Ah well, they both seem to be better today. We'll just wait and see if the other two start coughing, but since Cleo is apparently fully recovered, I can't imagine it was anything serious.

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