Tuesday, July 15, 2008

The Hooting Cat

So Zoe has recently decided to imitate an owl. =)

When she sleeps, she hoots. Yes, literally, hoots. Which we're pretty sure is due to her breathing through only one nostril, as the poor little dear is congested. And she hoots when she's awake sometimes too. And sometimes she SNORES. Louder than my husband snores, which takes great talent for a cat.

So I took her to the vet today, for a checkup, since it's never a good thing for you to audibly hear your cat's breathing from across a room. The vet wanted to make sure Zoe didn't have an upper respiratory infection (she doesn't) because those can be quite nasty in little cats.

What she does have, however, is an (and I quote directly here) "anatomically enlarged pharynx". This was determined after the vet held Zoe's mouth open for a good five minutes and stared into her throat with a flashlight. What it means is that her pharynx, which is part of her throat area (humans have them too!), is bigger than it would be in an ordinary cat. My cat has pharynx superpowers!

And because it's bigger than normal, just because she was born that way, she gets a little less air intake than the normal cat. Which is why she hoots, since she's prone to allergies, and the congestion makes it a little harder for her to breathe. So I get to give her Benadryl for the next two weeks straight, until the end of allergy season for cats, and then as needed. My life will be filled with utter joy. Shoving pills down her throat is not a fun task.

Her anatomically enlarged pharynx is also why she snores, similar to why humans snore. I get the wonderfully quirky cat. =)

So, do other people have cats that hoot or snore? Tell me your unusual cat-breathing stories! (I know you've got them, trust me, I do.)

Also, as an addendum to our vet visit, we got to meet a male Border Collie puppy, a big female dog, and a RAT. The rat is a male and big and gray and white. He belongs to one of the vet techs, and she was just walking around with him curled around her neck. Once I had identified that it was indeed a rat, not a small ferret as I had first thought, I told the vet tech that "Um, I have a cat sitting in a cat carrier here." To which she smiled and said, "Oh, he'll be fine." And he was fine, but oh boy, I think I was more freaked out by the pet rat than Zoe was. She's never seen one before, and she just sort of stared at it from the cat carrier in a very puzzled manner. I don't think she quite got the fact that it was prey. Which is good for the rat...


Nancy D'Inzillo said...

That's hilarious, though I imagine not so funny when the hooting is waking you up in the middle of the night. (Thank goodness she has meds now, right?) At least you don't have my friends cat. . . she's a pretty sick kitty: diabetic. Which for some reason means she also needs to eat several times a day because she usually can't hold down her food. And that's in addition to the insulin shots. Yay for the high-maintenance pets you still can't help but love!

MaryF said...

My brother's cat, part Siamese, snores, and when he breathes out, it sounds like he says, "Hello." Freaks my brother and SIL out when the cat sleeps on their bed and they hear THAT in the middle of the night ;)

Scott said...

We have snoring cats, but the hooting sounds like (sorry, can't help myself) a real hoot.

Grendel snores, though not that loud. Ernie Hemingway (the six-toed cat) snores, but it's more like wheezing.

Susan Helene Gottfried said...

One of mine snores. No allergies; he just snores. Sometimes he sounds like he's got asthma, too. It's just how he is... Part of his personality.

Maura Anderson said...

I have a cat who has allergies too and he decides to let me know he needs meds by coming up to me in the middle of the night, sticking his nose in my ear and WHEEZING loudly.

I levitate, seriously.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried Pill Pockets: soft, tiny, cup-shaped bits of meat? You stuff the pill in, close the top and the cat eats it. It won't work forever but it should work for a few days. You can get them at the vet.
Good luck.
Mary Beth Bass

Snarky Writer said...

My parents used to have a cat with a sinus infection. It was pretty nasty, actually, as it caused . . . well, projectile sneezing is the nicest way I can think to put it. Mes-sy.

Mary Paddock said...

I raised rats when I was in college. They're great pets.

My Siamese-mix, Echo, snores in a bird peeping in the distance sort of way.