Most cats don't care what you pile up on them. Obie certainly doesn't. If you seek proof of this concept, check out http://stuffonmycat.com/ When you get there, scroll till you find the snapshots of stuff people put on cats.
11/13/12 - Obie is about 13 years old now, but the only sign of his advancing age is the emergence of a couple of white whiskers and hip dysplasia. We ignore the whiskers, but the dysplasia is worrisome; it limits his ability to get around. Fortunately, the same stuff that works for my sore knees--glucosamine/chondroitin--works for Obie. He's getting around just fine with that and occasional low-level laser therapy on the acu-points for his hips.
He's doing just fine, although he doesn't crave the kind of wild, running play for which he used to be a relentless nag (he's let the new cat, Nezumi, take over that role). He's never had a cold, a stomachache, eye or ear problems, or any of the stuff one can expect to have taken a cat to the vet for over the course of a long life. So when he suddenly presents with a wheezy, shrieky cough, ragged breathing, a puffy face, meatloafed body language, lethargy, and a withdrawn demeanor, I get concerned.
Back when Jessica (Becky's daughter) was a wee little thing, Becky and I took her down to Richmond so we could all visit with our mother for the night. Right about bedtime, Little Jessie developed a barky cough. Mom pulled out a pediatric health book from her shelf of old-timey medical references and looked up "croup." Mom turned on the shower and sat with Jessie in the steamy bathroom for a while. When they came out, Mom bundled up Jessie, turned her over to Becky, and told Becky to take her out into the foggy night air. Becky came in after a couple of minutes and put the now-sleeping Jessie to bed. That was the end of that.
I don't know that cats get croup. I can't find any evidence that they do. The Cornell Book of Cats doesn't mention it and there's nothing online about feline croup. I palpated Obie's throat, which made him cough, and then, because I realized I don't know what a normal cat throat feels like, I palpated Nezumi's. Accounting for the difference in the relative size of the two cats, Obie's throat structures felt just like Nezumi's. I listened to Obie's chest with the stethoscope left over from my EMS days and all I heard was fur, but when I listened to his throat, I heard ragged breathing. Panic crept up my spine.