Even if the only things your cat hunts these days are chicken-flavored kibbles and toy mousies, he still needs clean, sharp teeth and healthy gums. Damage to the tongue, teeth, palate and gums can lead to many health risks for felines, but these can be prevented with regular home check-ups and good old-fashioned tooth brushings.
A discharge from both nostrils, often accompanied by fever, loss of appetite, eye discharge, drooling, coughing, or sores in the mouth suggests a feline viral respiratory disease. When both nostrils are blocked by swollen membranes, the cat sniffles, breathes noisily, and may breathe through his mouth. Because cats avoid mouth breathing whenever possible, you may see this sign only when the cat exercises. Any cat who is breathing through the mouth should be examined by a veterinarian.
Foreign bodies usually cause a discharge from just one nostril. This discharge can range from bloody to purulent. Allergic rhinitis usually affects both nostrils and the discharge is often serous.
Tumors, fungal infections, and chronic bacterial infections erode the nasal membranes producing a blood-tinged or bloody discharge. One or both nostrils may be involved. Cryptococcus is the most common fungal infection in the nose of cats. When there is blood in the discharge, the cat needs to see a veterinarian.
Bacterial infections become established when the lining of the nose has been injured by a foreign body or nasal trauma or by a prior viral respiratory disease. Nasal infections can cause sneezing, nasal discharge, noisy breathing, and mouth breathing. When nasal congestion interferes with the ability to smell, the cat loses his appetite and stops eating.
On occasion, infection spreads to the nasal cavity from the frontal sinus. This is often associated with an infected tooth root. Nasal infections can also be secondary to tumors in the nasal cavity. The chief sign of bacterial involvement is a nasal discharge that is mucoid, creamy yellow, or puslike. A bloody discharge indicates deep involvement with ulceration of the nasal membrane. The cat may also have a fever and may not be eating well.