Mama Cat Coughing, Nasal Discharge, and Weakness

by Ben Hester
(Clarksville, TN)


We rescued a mama cat and three small kittens from beneath a church building. We had seen the mama before she got pregnant and she was in good health.

After the kittens were born we noticed that she was very skinny and coughing. We took her and the kittens to a vet. The kittens were healthy we were told. The mama had hook worms. She was treated for them. She had clear lungs. She was given her rabies shot and her other shots and we brought them home.

Her coughing has gotten worse and she has a nasal discharge. If you rub her throat or if she eats, she starts coughing. The vet had noticed this and checked her throat for obstructions. She found none. Also, she was not running a fever.

Now she seems very weak and her cough is worse. The vet gave her amoxicillin which we have given her for 5 days.

We are helping feed her kittens. Please help.


Hi, Ben,

I know how you feel. It is sad to watch any cat sick, but especially one you have rescued and one that has kittens depending on her.

The stress of pregnancy, delivery, nursing kittens and fighting hook worms most likely weakened her immune system and she developed an upper respiratory infection.

I would have put her on antibiotics immediately and would NOT have vaccinated her because that was just another stress on her body. She has gotten worse due to all of the above.

Please have her chest x-rayed immediately so the vet can see if she has pneumonia. Also, she should be tested for Feline Leukemia and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV). You need to know if she has either one of those viruses because that may mean she has very little chance of recovery. You want to know also if the kittens could have one of those viruses.

It sounds like the best thing for her other than that would be to be hospitalized and receive fluids and tube feeding if necessary and stronger antibiotics in which case you would raise the kittens by bottle feeding them. That may be the only way she will make it.

Please write back if you have any questions or if you get any results I can help you with. I am so sorry for your and her misfortune. I hope things improve.


Dr. Neely

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