Sick cat and neutering

Our question this week was:

I have a male stray that I have adopted since it came to my house a few months ago. It was approximately 4 months old then. He seems to have asthma and a chronic stuffy nose. As he has gotten older his attacks have lessened to almost none but the stuffy nose remains. Is it safe to neuter him? I have become quite attached and would hate to put him under for that and not have him survive.

Yvonne Roberts


Hi – thanks for your email. You have two questions, first we will talk about possible reasons for his stuffy nose and secondly about neutering.

First, many kittens have a stuff nose secondary to a syndrome of “Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Infection”. It is caused by viral and bacterial organisms that affect the eyes and upper airway of cats and kittens. Some of these cats become what veterinarians call “chronic snufflers” as they will often have chronic or recurrent signs of nasal discharge, sneezing and teary eyes. Most cats just deal with this throughout their lives. It is generally not life-threatening if they have a normal immune system.

As far as neutering, I think it is a good idea. In general, the anesthetics currently used to neuter cats are very safe. It is also a procedure that does not take very long and therefore his anesthetic time would be very short.

I’d recommend having your veterinarian examine him first. If he determines that your cat has a bacterial component to the upper respiratory infection, he may prescribe antibiotics that you may want to give prior to neutering to ensure that he is as healthy as possible for the procedure.

An article that might be helpful to you is on our is Feline Upper Respiratory Tract Disease in Cats Asthma in Cats and Neutering in Cats.

Best of luck!

Dr. Debra

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