Cat Allergy, Asthma, or Cold

by Regina
(Green Bay, Wisconsin)

Reader Question: Is this a cat allergy, asthma or cold?

We have an overweight/obese (17 pound), 10 year old, female Torbie cat that is indoors. She sneezes and wheezes on and off with normal or sometimes a reverse sneeze or cough (inhales instead of exhaling). We always thought she has allergies or some type of cat asthma, but recently are unsure. Last two days she has had a runny nose, sneezing in and out repeatedly for about 1 minute at a time and this has happened only 3-4 times in last two days. Then, afterward, you can hear some slight wheezing and congestion through her nose.

It is dry in our home and she only got out in the cold, on our porch, once recently when door was opened. The mucous or runny discharge from her nose and sometimes eyes is clear (not colored). What could this be and is there OTC remedies we could try. We can't afford a vet bill at this time and haven't had her diagnosed with allergies, asthma, or respiratory illness. The vet, from previous exams and treatments, stated that her obesity can cause respiratory issues.

I am a Licensed Practical Nurse, but of course this is for humans not felines. We also have two other cats, but they have no signs or symptoms of any of this. Thank you for your time and advice in advance.

Thank You,


Vet response to allergy, asthma or cold

Hello Regina,

Of course I can’t diagnose your cat without first performing a physical exam, but a couple of things do come to mind. Allergies are possible, but I more frequently diagnose cats with chronic viral infections when they have symptoms similar to the ones you describe. Both calicivirus and herpes virus can be to blame, and unfortunately they can be difficult to deal with.

You could try a supplement containing lysine like Viralys or a homeopathic preparation in conjunction providing your cat with a stress-free living situation and optimal nutrition to boost her immune system’s ability to keep the viruses in check.

I am a little concerned that some of the symptoms you describe do sound more like asthma than an upper respiratory infection. As an LPN, you know this is a potentially fatal disease, so it is not something that can be ignored. If your cat’s condition deteriorates, you really do need to get her in to see her veterinarian.

Best of luck,

Jennifer Coates, DVM

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