A tabby cat whose owners gave him up due to allergies is struggling to find a new home due to a nasal condition that means he is constantly sneezing.
Elliott has chronic rhinitis, an inflammatory condition with symptoms such as nasal congestion, itching and sneezing.
The nine-year-old feline is currently living at a Cats Protection rehoming centre in East Sussex, but managers say prospective adopters are reluctant to take him on because of his illness.
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Speaking to The Independent, the centre’s deputy manager Tania Marsh describes Elliott as a “very loving and affectionate” cat.
“He is a heavy sneezer, so when we come in to check on him in the morning we do have to clean his glass quite thoroughly as there is a lot of mucus. It’s like he has bad cold. He’s a lovely boy, his condition is just something to take on.”
Elliott has been at Cats Protection since 6 March, but was initially kept in the centre’s isolation ward.
“We thought he had cat flu,” Marsh explains, adding that he was transferred into the homing wing once vets realised his condition was not contagious and treated him accordingly.
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“He has been in our homing wing for around 10 days now,” she adds, explaining that as soon as people know a cat has a medical issue, people are reluctant to adopt them.
“They’re worried about the cost of medical bills and what that could mean for them. People would rather go for a cat with a blank canvas.”
But Marsh insists that Elliot’s disposition outweighs his medical condition, which she says would improve were he to be rehomed.
“He’s a gorgeous cat and just wants to be with you, he even puts his paws around your neck like he’s hugging you.
“The level of stress he’s carrying from living here will have an effect on his condition. As soon as he can go outside and get some fresh air in his lungs, his sneezing will be considerably less of a problem.”
Marsh added that there is a drug that owners could buy to treat Elliot’s condition, but Cats Protection is not able to administer it themselves.
“He’s not on any medication at the moment, but if an owner was to take him home and sprinkle this particular drug on his food and also allow him to play outside, they would see vast improvements to his condition.
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“He just needs to be in the right environment.”