Can something be done to help Elliott the sneezing cat who can’t find a new home?

Elliot. Photos in public domain
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Elliott is a tabby cat at a rescue centre with a bad sneeze caused by chronic rhinitis. It is believed that his nasal passages are damaged. He’s nine years of age. His sneezing is putting off potential adopters but he is a very sweet cat and he deserves a new home. Can something be done to help?

Well, it looks like the lining of the nose has been damaged after a viral respiratory infection. There may be other possibilities which are that he has allergic rhinitis due to nasal allergies or a fungal infection.

If the inside of his nose is damaged it would seem that he has a perpetual secondary bacterial infection after a viral infection. Antibiotics should clear this up but I will presume that he is being administered antibiotics and they are not clearing up the infection.

Under these circumstances the book that I have advises that the objectives are to treat and prevent the infection while restoring breathing. Elliott’s nose does not look too bad but he does sneeze mucus. I don’t think anything needs to be done to ensure that his nose is prevented from cracking and drying.

Elliot having his nose cleaned. Photo in public domain

You can shrink swollen nasal membranes by administering Afrin Children’s Strength Nose Drops (an American product). It should be administered cautiously to prevent rebound congestion and excessive drying out of the mucus membranes. A veterinarian needs to be involved.

The fact that he has a purulent discharge, as mentioned, confirms that he has a bacterial infection. A veterinarian might do a culture and sensitivity test to select the most appropriate antibiotic. This is a fine tuning of the treatment and it may not have taken place thus far.

Fungal infection?

It is just possible that Elliott is suffering from a fungal infection. They can be identified by examining with a nasal swab under a microscope. Veterinarians do this for long-term or recurrent cases of rhinitis. Fungal infections require long-term medications.


Nasal allergies can also cause the sort of symptoms that we see in Elliott. The cause is environmental irritants and allergens. These might be cigarette smoke dust and pollen. In fact it could be a whole range of allergens. The treatment is to remove the source of the irritation. If this can’t be done then medications such as steroids and antihistamines can be administered. A veterinarian should be consulted.

P.S. Elliot is in England under the care of Cats Protection which is run by foster carers.

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