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Help and advice if your pet suffers from cat flu, cat colds or other ailments

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You can't give your cat too much attention and care when it is suffering from the unpleasant symptoms of flu.

Unfortunately, there are no effective antiviral drugs available for the condition, but antibiotics can be helpful in warding off bacterial infections such as pneumonia once the lining of the nose and airways have been damaged by the virus.

Symptoms of cat flu, such as mouth ulcers and blocked nose, can dramatically reduce your pet's desire to eat and drink, creating obvious risks of dehydration - particularly in kittens.

So steps must be taken to encourage your cat or kitten to eat and drink.  Your cat's sense of smell may have gone altogether so you will need to offer it strong smelling foods such as roast chicken, cooked liver or sardines.

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If your cat has developed mouth ulcers or seems to have difficulty swallowing you should consider giving it cream or ice cream. You could also try mashing or liquidising its food. If it refuses to eat at all consult your vet immediately - it may need to be hospitalised and if necessary fed intravenously.

Steam can be beneficial in loosening catarrh so one suggestion is to allow your cat into your bathroom when you're having a shower or bath.

Another suggestion is to put a few drops of olbas oil into a bowl of warm water and place it in a room with your cat, while ensuring your pet doesn't drink from a bowl.

Oil of eucalyptus can also help to ease nasal congestion. You should pour a small amount on a piece of cloth and carefully hold it under your pet’s nose.

If your cat has developed conjunctivitis as a result of cat flu your vet will likely recommend ointments or eyedrops, and you should bathe your pet’s nose and eyes regularly with warm, salty water if it is suffering from eye discharge.

If you do not keep your cat’s eyes clean you may start to see a buildup of pus which will eventually form into bands of fibrin between the eyelids.

This can prove very difficult to remove, even with surgery. After bathing, an antibiotic eye ointment can be applied in order to kill off bacterial infection.

Natural remedies and products are becoming very popular these days in the battle against cat flu. A wide range of choices are available and many are considered to be effective in combating coughing, sneezing and other respiratory problems.

Two very popular products are FCV Protect and Respo-K from Native Remedies and more and more cat and kitten owners are opting for do-it-yourself home vaccination kits, such as those offered by Entirely Pets. These will protect your cat or kitten from many of the viruses associated with cat flu and colds, as well as other diseases including leukaemia and distemper.

More information on medication for cat flu and colds

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