I was massaging a cat the other day with noticeable nasal congestion. The owner said it was a chronic, or ongoing, condition and that they had already tried several things without much seeing any long-term improvement. The congestion could be caused by any number of things and consulting your veterinary is likely in order when the condition becomes chronic or if there is reason for concern. In addition to professional veterinary care, there are some things you can do to make things a little easier for your cat or dog.
Applying light pressure to the skull area around the eye can often help stimulate the movement of build up in the sinus cavity. By light I mean about 2 pounds of pressure. Here’s a good way to see how light this touch – close your eyes, touch a finger to your eye lid and move the eyelid without putting pressure on the eye itself – 2 pounds isn’t much. There are several acupressure points around the eye and gentle massage will stimulate them as well. Tapping very lightly over the sinus cavity can also be helpful in breaking up the mucous.
Aromatherapy-type products designed to assist in breathing can also be helpful. Most of us are familiar with the effect of Vick’s Vapor Rub (please don’t use this on your cat). Placing your pet in a small room (bathroom, laundry room) with a vaporizer may provide some relief. Be sure to place the unit safely so your pet cannot get into it or knock it over. Having your pet in the bathroom while you take a hot shower could help to break up the nasal congestion as well – you might try adding one of these aromatherapy shower tablets. If you create your own essential oil remedies, one or two drops can be placed around the animal’s nose. Please note this says one or two drops and also be sure to do your research and know which oils are safe for pets. When we showed rabbits, we became familiar with an essential oil remedy called VetRx which was great. We’ve seen it at farm/feed stores, sometimes at WalMart, and pet stores . It can also be ordered online from many of the pet supply sites or the affiliate link above.
Many health or whole food stores offer a variety of homeopathic and natural pet remedies in addition to those formulated for people. If you have a store close to you, it might be a good idea to become familiar with the items it stocks and then you’ll know where to find them if you need them. Or, better yet, create a pet first aid kit to have at home.
Cats typically don’t eat if they can’t smell their food, so it may be necessary to provide food with strong aroma for cats with sinus issues. Moist, prepared foods are often already quite aromatic as is canned tuna or other fish. If you feed a dry food, warming it slightly in the microwave may release some of the fragrance and make it more appealing for your cat.
As with any illness, supplements can provide missing or depleted nutritional support. If the condition lingers or your pet is not eating/drinking, be sure to seek proper medical care. If you are going to use essential oils or other alternatives, please take the time to research their safety and how to use them for your animal.