Dear Dr. Baum —
I recently went to a hardware store where a shelter had two cats in a cat cart. Both cats were three months old and appeared to be healthy. Upon entering the store and going up to them I noticed the male cat had a wheezing sound and it sounded as if it was very hard for him to breath. He also sneezed probably about five times during the time I was there, a period of five minutes. I was wondering what would cause this. Can you help me?
The most common malady that arises from animals that come from group settings, i.e., animal shelters and pet stores, is upper respiratory infections. In cats there are a whole host of viruses that cause cold-like symptoms. Some cats can get quite ill if they become very congested as it impacts their appetite as a result of not being able to smell their food. In dogs, the familiar term kennel cough is used to denote infections of the upper respiratory tract.