Ever woken up and tried singing in the shower but you can barely let out any sound without feeling like you are scratching your throat? It gets worse when you try to eat breakfast and the pain when swallowing makes you lose your appetite. These are but a few symptoms of sore throats in humans but have you ever wondered if any of your fur babies can suffer from such a condition? Well, your feline can and cat sore throat manifests itself in almost similar ways as it does in humans. Let’s tell you everything you need to know about sore throat in cats, including causes, symptoms and treatment.
Causes of Cat Sore Throat
- Constant Meowing – There is a reason why even musicians do not overwork their voices and will continuously hydrate or use humidifiers before a performance. Keeping the throat moist prevents a sore throat from developing. The same case applies to cats who love to constantly meow. While some breeds will never bother you unless they really need your special attention, others expect you to be at their beck and call and indicate this need for attention through excessive meowing. Unfortunately, this habit is detrimental to their health because they can develop a sore throat and lose their meow for days.
- Cancer – According to Wag!, although older cats are at risk of developing different types of cancers, the most common one is lymphoma which affects the throat and larynx. Such tumors are very painful and will change the tone of the meow while making it difficult for the cat to swallow. Throat cancer tends to grow very quickly and can be fatal; therefore, it is advisable to get your cat checked if it develops sore throat.
- Cat Flu – Having the flu can make you feel like a truck ran you over, and since cat flu mimics the symptoms in humans, you can imagine how your pet feels. Besides the runny house, aching muscles and headaches, cats also experience sore throats. The sore throat can continue for the entire time the cat is down with the flu, and the bacterial or viral infection that caused the flu will determine how long the illness will last. In some cases, it can go for only 6 to 10 days while some not so lucky felines remain sick for 6 weeks. Adult cats do not get as severely affected as kittens.
- Irritation – According to AnimalWised, cat sore throat can also be due to irritation. Like humans get irritated by pollutants like smoke and chemicals, cats also have their throats irritated by different substances. Consequently, they develop sore throats but since you cannot tell what exactly is causing the soreness, taking the pet to the veterinarian is the best option.
- Obstruction – In their exploration, cats are likely to eat something that gets stuck in their throat, causing a sore throat. If not removed, the foreign objects can cause asphyxia resulting in death. The foreign object can cause inflammation of the throat leading to abscess formation, which also further obstructs the throat.
- Dental Issues – An abscessed tooth can result in bacteria spreading through the mouth and down the throat leading to a sore throat.
How Do You Tell if Your Cat Has a Sore Throat?
Cuteness describes a few ways in which you can tell if your cat is suffering from a sore throat and here are some:
- Swallowing – If for instance, your cat has a sore throat due to obstruction, it will try and swallow whatever is obstructing the throat. As a result, you will hear loud, gulping sounds and notice frequent swallowing.
- Drooling – Cats drool for a variety of reasons including gastrointestinal infections, chewing houseplants that have insoluble crystals or due to pain in the gum and mouth. A sore throat caused by a tumor could also cause a cat to drool excessively as it fears swallowing the saliva to avoid pain.
- Loss of Appetite – If you have ever had a child sick with tonsils, you must have seen how he avoids food or drinks at all costs due to the pain they feel when swallowing. In cats with sore throats, the reasoning is the same; why bother eating or drinking only to feel pain? Consequently, you will observe that the feline does not have a normal appetite even though all other assessments indicate that the cat is fine.
- Change in Meow – Sore throats can affect the voice box resulting in laryngitis, especially if the soreness is caused by continuous meowing. Vocal cords open and close to form sound through vibration and movement. Once inflammation occurs, the vocal cords can no longer smoothly produce sounds, and you will either hear a hoarse meow or no meow at all.
Treating Cat Sore Throat
Treatment of sore throat in cats is dependent on the cause, and here are the most common treatments available.
- Surgery – Trying to remove an obstruction in the cat’s throat on your own can do more harm than good. Therefore, take the cat to the vet for professional removal of foreign objects. After surgery, allow the cat to recover by avoiding further irritation of the throat. That means feeding the pet with soft foods and following any other recommendations by the vet.
- Draining Abscess – Sometimes, surgery is not necessary, such as in the case of a sore throat by abscess accumulation. Still, the abscess needs to be drained, but the cat has to be put under anesthesia.
- Antibiotics – Cat flu is best treated with antibiotics prescribed by a vet. While we have gotten used to buying over the counter drugs for our own illnesses, you cannot be sure of which drugs to administer to your pets unless you consult a professional. We also are guilty of not finishing the dose as soon as our symptoms start to improve which can cause recurrence. Similarly, in cats, aggressive recurrence can occur if they do not take the recommended dosage, therefore always adhere to the vet’s advice.