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Poorly kitten with cat flu.

(562 Posts)
ToffeeWhirl Wed 05-Jun-13 19:27:21

Our six-month-old Balinese kitten has a recurrence of cat flu again sad. He first had it a month ago. This time, he has a high temperature, an eye infection, the sneezes and is sleeping all the time. He is still eating and drinking, thank goodness, but he is very underweight.

If he gets another recurrence, the vet will check for other diseases.

I have come away from the vet with a bagful of medicines and a much depleted bank account.

The vet did reassure me that this wasn't life threatening. We are all besotted with this kitten, particularly my oldest son. The other day, DS1 fell asleep during the day and I found him and the kitten tucked up under the duvet, both heads on the pillow smile.

Has anyone else had a cat with cat flu? If so, did it keep coming back? Any tips?

Also, any tips on telling the breeder would be welcome. I chickened out of telling her the first time round, but I really feel I should this time. However, I don't know what to say without sounding as if I'm asking for a refund or blaming her in some way. Also, I'm not sure what she can do about it if her cats are carriers. Does it mean that she shouldn't be selling kittens, or is this just a risk you take when you buy a cat from a breeder?

Incidentally, the only reason we bought a pedigree was because I am allergic to cats and this was one of the few breeds that don't trigger my allergies. Am not particularly bothered whether I have a moggie or a pedigree, just don't want to spend my days sneezing and wheezing.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Jun-13 19:35:29

Aw heck, toffee.

I'm pretty sure that Seniorboy has Cat Flu residue. Since I've had him he's been a sneezer, runny nose and so on - some times worse than others. And he's 18 now so Kitten Strachey should have a long life ahead of him as long as you keep him toasty warm.

I'm annoyed, though, that you didn't tell the breeder. Just email her!

ToffeeWhirl Wed 05-Jun-13 19:46:06

Hi, cozie! Sorry about Seniorboy - it does sound like cat flu. But good to know that he's enjoying a very long life.

I knew you'd be annoyed with me about not telling the breeder! I just don't know what to say to her though. Whatever I write sounds so accusing and I don't mean it to be. She seemed like a lovely woman and I'm sure she didn't know the kitten had cat flu (he was very well when we collected him from her).

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 05-Jun-13 19:48:55

One of ours had it as a kitten, the breeder put her back with mum for a while, it's 28 years ago so it's a bit hazy, and she recovered.

All the breeders cats were vaccinated so I don't know how she caught it.

She lived to be about 17 which is fairly good for a chinchilla.

It is very frightening though to have a kitten so poorly.

ToffeeWhirl Wed 05-Jun-13 19:51:11

Fluffy - the vet said our kitten would have caught it before he was vaccinated (probably from his mum) and the vaccination will suppress the symptoms, but not stop them completely. I expect that is what happened with your kitten. It's good to know she had such a long life, though.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Jun-13 19:57:16

I know.

Half of the email just saying what has happened, physically, with KS plus the vet's views. The second half talking about KS's day to day routine and integration in the family.

A PS indicating that you're much in love with KS but thought she should have a heads up.

And add a picture of him. That's important.

I appreciate that you don't feel like doing this - but you absolutely must. It's for the breeder's sake as well as anything. If you want to run a draft past me, feel free tomorrow. (Best not tonight.)

ToffeeWhirl Wed 05-Jun-13 20:03:10

Thank you, cozie. I will write it tonight. I have sent her photos before, but this time I will add a picture of kitty in his new (rather stylish grin) cat basket/carrier. She will be able to see from that that he's not well (his dishevelled fur and sore eyes were instantly spotted in the photo when I sent it to my cat-expert friend today. The vet told me cats stop grooming themselves when they're ill, so their fur starts to look bedraggled).

ToffeeWhirl Wed 05-Jun-13 20:03:41

Actually, I'll add that photo to my Mumsnet photos too, so you can see him if you like smile.

MumnGran Wed 05-Jun-13 20:09:41

ToffeeWhirl .... I am not sure why your vet may be looking for another condition because of a cat flu recurrence, because if the flue is herpes virus based, then he should know that the cat will have it for life. We have a vet on here, who I hope will confirm for you (or this link explains it quite well :

There are three different viruses causing symptoms which are commonly known under the one heading of types of "cat 'flu". Some symptoms will give strong indication of which virus a cat has (such as eye ulcerations) but only lab tests will give a conclusive answer. One of the "flu's" - the herpes virus - remains with the cat after recovery from first infection. It may eventually clear after many years, but effectively can be there for life. Most of the time the cat will show no symptoms at all, but sometimes will throw flu symptoms for no apparent reason (stress is often a major factor). At this stage they also "shed" the virus, so unvaccs'd cats can be infected.

Because such a lot of kittens pick up these virus's from Mum before vaccination, and then go on to have litters of their own, it is often impossible to work out where the flu virus first originated. There are huge number of healthy happy cats who have this, and it is unlikely tp present you with major problems in her life, although she may always react this way if stressed (eg cattery stays).

Hope that helps a bit, and as I say .... hopefully our vet will pop in to confirm

cozietoesie Wed 05-Jun-13 20:12:39

Cat flu is complicated, yes. It's not just one simple single issue.

cozietoesie Wed 05-Jun-13 20:16:58


Just an add on comment. From my experience, keep him really toasty warm. Get an electric blanket and have it on on the appropriate bed all day. He can choose whether to use it but he ought to have the option.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 06-Jun-13 10:16:01

Thanks for the link and the explanation, Mumngran. The vet explained that the kitten will have cat flu for life, but he wants to eliminate the possibility of other diseases if kitty gets ill again, as there could be more going on than just cat flu, I suppose (though hopefully not). He said kitty is showing signs of both types of cat flu at the moment and, as you say, only lab tests will tell us which one.

I'm a bit concerned about stress triggering cat flu recurrences. Our kitten is terrified of my younger son (seven and noisy!). He runs away and hides whenever DS2 comes in the room. That is the only source of stress in his life, but I can't eliminate that (although I do remind DS2 to be quiet when he is around kitty). Other than that, he has a very relaxed life, sleeping on us all in rotation or lying in patches of sunlight.

He seems a bit better already this morning. His eyes look brighter and he has started grooming himself again. He even found his voice enough to protest at being shut out of our bedroom. He didn't eat much for breakfast though, even though I heated his food up for him to make it smell more attractive.

Cozi - he still sleeps with a hot-water bottle every night, but I have ordered a heated pad to sleep on as well.

MumnGran Thu 06-Jun-13 10:24:16

I think the son related stress will ease as your kitten becomes used to the house, and that he isn't actuallly damaging her in any way when he is being noisy. Obviously you can help the process along if DS can be persuaded to sit quietly on the floor playing with arms length toys (feathers on string?) which tempt the kitten out to play without being held etc. It may take time, but I would say its definitely possible to eliminate the stress factor without eliminating DS grin
One of the great things about things about young kittens is that play can tempt them past their fear barriers.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 06-Jun-13 10:42:00

Phew, glad I don't have to get rid of DS2, Mum grin. DS2 didn't want - and doesn't like - the kitten (it was DS1 who wanted him), so he doesn't have anything to do with him. I know he is jealous of him, being the new baby in the house. I have encouraged him to engage with kitty, but he's simply not interested. And kitty hasn't been very playful, probably because he has been ill on and off.

I assume as DS2 and the kitten grow up together, they will learn to get along.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 06-Jun-13 18:25:15

Just back from the vet. Our kitten's temperature is down, so that's good. He had a tiny amount of food and drink this morning, but hasn't eaten a thing since and has slept all day. The vet said that was normal considering his condition. He took a blood sample this time to check for feline aids. Poor kitten has a shaved patch on his neck now sad.

Since we came home, I have managed to tempt him with some kitten milk, which he lapped up. He still refuses to touch his heated-up food and the smell is so awful that I'm tempted to stop heating it up. It's certainly not a smell that would make me want to eat it!

ToffeeWhirl Thu 06-Jun-13 18:32:58

cozie - I PM'd you a draft of my email to the breeder, but am not sure if you'll see it, thanks to Mumsnet losing the red dot.

out2lunch Thu 06-Jun-13 18:36:12

Mine will always eat ham if ill.small prices hand fed.its horrible when they are ill especially siamese was very ill when young but recovered really well.
Good luck.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 06-Jun-13 18:38:46

How about one of those rotisserie chickens? Cats love them. Or a little bit of cheese.

ToffeeWhirl Thu 06-Jun-13 18:55:34

I have ham in the fridge, out. Will try handing him little bits by hand. Thanks.

Fluffy - No rotisserie here, but will try some little bits of cheese.

Thanks for the tips. Am so worried now that he is going to get really ill. We bought him to help my DS1 cope with his OCD/anxiety and he absolutely adores him. It's good to hear stories of cats that recover.

out2lunch Thu 06-Jun-13 19:01:44

Oh have just seen yr siamese is identical except he is a red point.
Never a dull moment.: )

Melissakitkat Thu 06-Jun-13 19:04:14

Try olbas oil on the radiators - we used this when our cats suddenly got cat flu before Xmas - the eucalyptus helps clear their little nostrils and when they can't smell they don't eat. Ours also got a antibiotic jab from the vets. Xxx

Melissakitkat Thu 06-Jun-13 19:05:13

Btw all 9 of our cats recovered although at one point the house was resounding with the sound of cat sneezing! :0)

ToffeeWhirl Fri 07-Jun-13 15:45:44

Kitten really loves being fed little bits of ham, so thanks for that tip, out. He is also lapping up small amounts of kitten milk. He had a very small amount of Royal Canin kitten food (wet) this morning, but hasn't wanted to eat anything since, apart from the ham.

Am really apprehensive about ringing the vet for the blood-test results in case they have found anything else wrong with him.

out2lunch Fri 07-Jun-13 16:53:02

Ahh bless him.
Good luck with the vets.

ToffeeWhirl Fri 07-Jun-13 17:02:59

Phew. Test came back negative for feline AIDS and leukemia. Vet said the cat flu could last three to four weeks and wants to see him next week to check him.

He is still sleeping most of the time, so I am taking bits of food to him. He ate some kitten biscuits just now. He's probably just too tired to make the effort to walk to his cat bowls. He can't even get all the way upstairs - he keeps stopping halfway. I almost fell over him this morning because he is the same colour as the stairs and I didn't see him.

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