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Elderly cat breathing difficulties when purring

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Hi there,

 

I have a lovely ginger elderly cat called Harry who is about 20 years old. He's obviously been slowing down in his retirement, but over the past 2 months, he's developed really bad breathing difficulties, but only when he starts to purr. He has to breath through his mouth and he rasps. It is such a shame as he is a real lap cat and loves cuddles, but he can't do that any more. :( He'll jump up to sit on my lap, start to purr but then has too move away to a quiet place and it takes about 5-10 minutes for him to get back to normal.

 

He's eating and drinking well. I have obviously taken him to the vet. He's had an x-ray which was fine and blood tests - all within the normal range for an old cat with dodgey kidneys. He does have an enlarged thyroid, but his thyroid tablets now seem to have improved that. He's also on diuretics and has had a 2 week course of antibiotics. Poor chap he's positively rattling!

 

I was just wondering if anyone else has had this with their cat? I know we are drawing closer to making a decision, but at the moment he doesn't seem in much pain - only when he starts to purr.

 

Thanks for your help.

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We had something similar with one of ours earlier this year, although not only when she purred. It wasn't good news for us I'm afraid. I can't accurately remember the sequence of events but she did have difficulties breathing which eventually got so bad that she couldn't get her breath even to eat, and so we had her PTS. She was given steroids which helped, but only for the period of treatment. The hope was that it might give her a enough of a boost to overcome the problem, but in hindsight I realise that actually the vet was giving me a final 'good' week with her. I think it took about 6-8 weeks from first noticing her difficulties until the end. The vets thought she either had a tumour/growth, or fluid on/around the lungs or heart- it wasn't worth investigating further by opening her up as the prognosis was never going to be good and I didn't want to put her under the stress.

 

It may not be the same thing at all, and I wish you a better outcome.

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My mother's cat had a similar thing in her later years. It started when she was about 17 and happened when she purred - she would cough like she had something stuck in her throat. She was fine otherwise, it was only a problem if you stroked her and she started purring.

 

The vet could not find anything untoward so everyone just stopped stroking her to minimise the problem. It was hard to do but it seemed to help. She lived about another year and passed away peacefully.

 

I hope you get to the bottom of it. Good luck.

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Thank you Daphne & Lydia for your comments. They are really helpful and I think that we will have to monitor how he is over the coming days / weeks, but also knowing that the inevitable decision could soon be upon us. He has been such a character and great friend to us over all these years - this is the harsh reality of loving our pets so much, in that we know at some point they will be leaving us. So we will savour and appreciate every moment we have left with him.

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