(Birmingham, AL USA)
I have a domestic shorthair seven-month-old kitten. I travel on the weekends to visit family, so my kitten always comes with me. It's about an hour and 15 minute drive. Sometimes, he gets sick. Should I stop making him travel? Is traveling bad for cats?
Also, today we left and I put him in his carrier. It was hot and he was meowing, but I turned the air on full blast as soon as we got in the car. He started crying and panting and eventually threw up. I don't think he had eaten yet that day. It was only bile, I think. It was green and watery, but it bubbled at his mouth.
I gave him water immediately, but he wouldn't drink it. After the hour and 15 minute return trip, I gave him some food and more water, but I had to dip my finger in the water and put it in his mouth. He then started drinking. He's been kind of lethargic, but slowly going back to normal. Should I be worried?
Oh, and this is unrelated, but he often has dark-colored or greenish discharge that comes out of his eyes nearly every day. What could be wrong? He also sometimes makes squeaking noises from his nostrils when he breathes while he sleeps. Is this a sign of feline asthma?
Sorry about all the questions, but this kitten is my baby and I worry constantly about him. Thanks!
It sounds like your kitty gets pretty sick when traveling in the car. While in general traveling is not “bad” for cats, your kitten seems to experience quite a bit of stress with the car ride. Because he is vomiting, crying, and taking days to readjust to his home environment, this puts your kitten at risk for becoming very dehydrated. Some cats travel well and adjust to various environments quite easily, but most do not, and your kitten does not seem to do well from your description.
The general rule of thumb is that cats, if you could ask them, would tell you that they would rather stay home without you than travel with you. Cats, in general, prefer their home environment to their owners because it provides them with the safety and comfort of familiar surroundings and being on their own territory. If you could find a trusted friend or family member to check on your kitten and provide some love and attention while you are away, this would probably be best for your kitten.
The wheezing you described hearing from your cat is not a sign of feline asthma. However, the wheezing symptom coupled with the colored discharge from his eyes could indicate a lingering upper respiratory infection resulting from feline herpes virus. Your kitten could even have a current upper respiratory infection. That said, if you notice any additional discharge from his nose, a change his appetite, or lethargy, you should bring your kitten to a veterinarian for an exam.