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Feline Distemper- Help Me!  

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone, I have two kittens, both are about 9 weeks old. We recently had a terrible breakout of feline distemper, and lost four of our cats to it. All were under a year old, and were amazing animals, but even our love, and antibiotics couldn't keep them alive. The first one died in December, her name was "Cow" as she was black and white, at one point, me and a friend went to get myself a kitten, she fell in love with them so I took the male, and she took the female. Well, her situation fell apart and she moved, leaving my cats sister in a dirty house. We went and got her. She was an outdoor cat, about 9 months old, and was very friendly. She continued going outside. I got a job and worked late nights, I have 3 younger brothers, so I was shocked to learn the little female suddenly couldn't walk one night around 12. I never knew anything was wrong, as I thought that someone would have noticed (I live with 3 brothers, and my father) She was breathing through her mouth, and her ears had a lot of what looked to be dried blood in it, i thought it was an ear infection. I was very upset the next night when she no longer had any control over her body, and died that night. I wasnt able to contact a veterinarian, and when I did the next day he said it was probably an ear infection and made the appointment for the next day. So we went on, and I searched everywhere to find out what killed her, I never knew it was distemper until way later. I may be only 17, but I'm a responsible pet owner. Soon after (a few days before Christmas) her brother was suddenly throwing up, and his third eyelid started showing. His name was Marvin, he was my 11 year old brother's cat (I gave Marvin to him because he broke his arm during the summer and was at home a lot, it became clear that he owned him after a day or two, that cat was there until the day his cast came off) It upset me a lot, considering how my cats are indoor cats (which I never got them shots, I just let them be, I figured they wouldn't be in any harm if they didn't go out, they were all very healthy) Marvin had the same symptoms, he lasted 3 days, it wasn't until the second day I ruled out it was distemper, he fought it so hard, and tried to fight it. When Marvin was 4 months old, there was a little kitten at the door, there came the baby, Henry, none of the other cats would accept him for quite awhile, and Marvin took him in, they were like father and son (usually walking into the room side by side, showing how much they were alike :P) When day 3 came, we knew Marvin wouldn't make it the night, my brother took a break from crying and laying beside him, and a few minutes after that he passed, it was like he didn't want to see my brother cry for him anymore. We wrapped him up as you would a baby, and left him on the bed to deliver the news to the family. When we went to put him somwhere cold, we picked up the towel and found Henry curled up beside him, like it was just another nap time. We put Marvin in the back porch to keep him chilled, we later found Henry by the back door. It was extremely heartbreaking to see that kitten lose his adopted dad, and to see my brother cry for the cat that he knew would no longer be there when he needed him. Than there was Mims, she was just a cat I was babysitting (but she was originally from a litter of kittens from my own home) I also had her sister, she started the symptoms, and went missing soon after, we think she went and found somewhere to die, and we still haven't found her. After that, we had gotten our cats their shots, and I had one from a rescue group (she had her shots) Her name was Sage, a little female, about 8 months old. Siamese cross kitten, with beautiful eyes. She was very very timid, because she came from an abusive home. I got her from the group when I lost my beloved Sheeba in November (she got out, and got hit by a car, the humane society found her, and I didn't know until the day after they had her euthanized. She was somewhat my comfort kitten, but I got frustrated with her because she was so timid, the first person she went to was my dad, she didn't start coming to me until January. Unfortunately, she got out an open window for a few days, and we caught her. She must have gotten near one of the male cats outside, because she came back in pregnant. She was due on February 28th, the disease got through her, and she died on the 18th. It was the worst thing to see, because I spent a lot of time with her, making sure she was comfortable, and sleeping with her. Listening to her purr and such. I was up with her all night, and she died at 6 am the next morning.
All of my other cats have their shots, and I was out of town last week, my brother is in the process of moving in with my mother, hes 11 and wanted his own kittens. We came to an agreement that we would make him wait two months, I even worked out something with someone for two of their kittens, since they were recently born. I was out of town, since last Thursday, my Dad was not sure of the situation, he just knew that we said he could EVENTUALLY get two kittens. Someone else called about my ad, and they went and picked up these two little darlings. They are both females, about 8 weeks old. I was extremely worried about them, and really angered that they didn't listen to me. I am tight on money right now, from my other cats second set of shots, but I did make an appointment for this Monday coming up. One of the kittens, Suzy, vomited yesterday, without my knowledge, and today, she is no longer eating, or drinking, and is extremely skinny, I don't know what to do, because I don't have the money right now, its going to break my heart to see this happen, and so far its like its getting worse to watch them die. The vet said shes still young, and that it would be a lot of "money wasted" if we tried to save her. Its 2 am right now, and there is nowhere to go to find "feline distempaid" right now. She is very lazy, she slept all day, I don't want to force her to eat, because with the other cats, they just threw up anyways. I am worried, I am upset, I can't let this happen again, but I can't prevent the unpreventable. Please give me some advice, its been the hardest past few months, and I know if your reading this, you think that I should NOT have cats, but I used to be a foster parent for a volunteer group and I think I am very experienced. It was just up until the breakout, that I stopped being a foster home. I'm so worn out from everything, it just gets harder and harder, this kitten is sitting in my shirt right now, sleeping, and I feel like I'm just waiting for her to die. She was throwing up since yesterday, I do not want to force her to eat or drink, but if that will help her I'll try, it just seems like even the nicest people have the worst of times, if anyone can help me, with ANYTHING, it would be strongly appreciated, her sister is still fine, but I don't know how long this is going to last, I will keep you posted, sorry if this is long, but I just need advice! (
post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 
I wrote a thread earlier, and now I'm completely sure I'm losing my 9 week old kitten to distemper, and I'm sure its going to make it to her sister as well. I just needed advice on what to keep her comfortable until that time, she was fighting it since yesterday morning. This will be my 5th cat lost to distemper since December, its taking a big toll on me. We got our other cats vaccinated, my 11 year old brother took advantage of my Dad when I was out of town, because he was allowed to get a kitten, but in a few months, rather than last weekend. When I came home I found two little long haired beautiful kittens. I've been broke from giving the other cats shots, and fixing two of them. I thought all my money worries were over, until the kittens came. They were perfectly normal, and scheduled for shots next Monday. I get help from a no-kill group, when they said "No more cats for 18 months" I listened. When they found out that we had two more kittens, it jepordised the situation, they are not happy with me. Now one is vomiting, has diarhea, and is basically just lazy, wont eat or drink. I know this is distemper, and i know towards the end it is extremely painful. It breaks my heart to know that these are the 5th pair of eyes that I have to watch as they go empty Anything I can do to make it more comfy? I love these kittens a lot, and I don't want to lose them
post #3 of 16
I'm so sorry But they really should be seen by a vet because they shouldn't have to die in pain

Can the shelter not help you still even though their annoyed at you?. Or is there no other shelters that can help?.

I've merged your threads so we can stay on the subject.
post #4 of 16
They need fluids first of all, all the vomiting and diarrhea is dehydrating them. I am sure they are not eating either. I would take them to the vet and if you can't afford to treat them, humanely euthanize them so they don't have to suffer.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have been giving the one kitten fluids, as well as cat supplement milk, so far she hasn't thrown up for a few hours now, and I was able to get a hold of the veterinarian, and he was not too excited about me bringing them in, and that they would die within a few hours (that was last night) We are debating about whether or not to surrender her to the humane society, because they will euthanize her. It sounds like a better choice...but I know I'm going to feel guilty afterwards. If it was up to me these two wouldn't be here, now my brothers are being bystanders watching them get sick while I try my hardest, and I'll eventually break my own heart because my hopes are so high. One of the ladies from the volunteer group suggested to keep on making her drink, and if she gets to the point where she can no longer stand or walk, that they would come and euthanize her. She is not at the point yet, and I want to do everything I can for her, I'm going to get some feline distempaid this morning, is it too late for my little Suzy? About an hour ago I had to get up to use the washroom, she was sleeping, I heard a kitten by the door meowing and I thought it was Mimie, her sister, I came out and it was Suzy, she was purring and being loveable, one of the late cats did the same thing, and got all of our hopes up, it was sad to see her die the next day. There is no cure for distemper, and so far from the vets all I hear is "its money well wasted, but we can try." or "I'm sorry, but theres nothing that can be done." one even went as far as saying "its best if you wait it out, have faith...but don't be too happy if she dies, theres a 90 percent chance she wont" and no one is very encouraging about this. I'm trying the best I can right now, low on funds, don't want to lose these ones.
post #6 of 16
I second the opinion to take them to the vet and have them euthanized. They really shouldn't be made to suffer through the end like that at home.

Distemper can linger for a LONG time. Please get rid of, or bleach anything the kittens have been in contact with in the house, and do not let anyone bring any more cats in the house for a long time please, or they will get it as well.
post #7 of 16
If your kittens were older they might stand a chance. But their age is against them, plus the fact that you have the virus active in your home. It is a nasty disease and a painful and sometimes slow death. I would take them in and have them put to sleep. Sorry, but I would. They don't deserve to suffer. Also be sure the shelter knows about the outbreak. I couldn't read all your postings- but they will have to take drastic measures as well if they are the point of infection.
post #8 of 16
Originally Posted by kayella-tasheen View Post
I have been giving the one kitten fluids, as well as cat supplement milk

Generally in situations like this when people say they need fluids, they mean IV fluids. Your kittens really need to see a vet immediately. They should not have to suffer all of this time. Distemper is a dangerous disease, but it's not completely impossible to beat. The only chance a kitten that age has to survive is early treatment, and if a vet determines that it is too late they should euthanized so they are not in pain.
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, she is doing a lot better now, didn't throw up all day. Talked to the vet, and he said he was surprised she lasted till now. He recommended giving her pedialite, so I will try that tonight. She began drinking water this morning on her own, I was calm, as I don't want to get my hopes up. Her sister should be going to a foster home tomorrow, as she is not showing the symptoms yet, we are trying to keep her happy with canned foods and cat milk. One of my older female kittens is being a surrogate mother to the sick one, she has her shots so I am not worried. I am very saddened that my brothers made the decision to bring two small kittens into this house, after watching me cry for the past few months over my lost ones. Me and my family are quite passionate about animals, we have 3 dogs as well. The most cats we've ever had at one time is 10, and that was when I was fostering a pregnant mother in the summer. I believe this is somehow different from the other cats, she is not running a fever, and still purrs and sleeps (the other cats, I noticed, were not able to sleep as of their mouths were always open, let alone purr) So, if worst comes to worst, where I know I can't do anything more, the group will come and home euthanise her, until than, we're fighting. The worst comes when their body will not listen to them anymore, thus stop her walking.
post #10 of 16
I don't understand why you would surrender to the humane society? Why not euthanize them yourself at you vet. I sure hope you are getting all of your animals spayed, neutered and vaccinated from now on.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
I only have a little tabby female, about 8 months old, and an older female calico, about a year. They both have their shots, and we are working on getting them fixed (We have two 6 year old male cats we just got fixed) They all have their shots, its just a shame that my brothers were so irresponsible, they knew the situation, and they would not be able to handle staying up all night with them, working with pedialight and feline distempaid. For the pedialite, how much should I give her by the hour? If you can help me out with this, thats all I ask, I'm fighting with her to the end. My two year old cat lasted a night with this disease, shes 9 weeks and this is her third night.
post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
Also, the vet isnt really an option. I'm still in school, I support my cats with a job on the side. The distemper hit me hard, and now I owe a lot of money to people. The group that helps me does their own shots, and such. Even they are getting low on funding, as well as the stray cats in my area, I never really noticed it until I started counting, there is 7 strays on my block alone. I'm thinking maybe the disease got into the house from an outdoor cat? We leave food out for them, and we bring it in to refill, sometimes we forget, and the cats eat from that bowl, but it just goes right back out for those other cats. Its incredibly heartbreaking considering that its winter, and most of them are severly malnourished. I think that its better for the kittens here, rather than out there. I also do not think its a good idea to give them to the group, since they have a lot on their hands, as of last week, I just don't want to expose the disease to 10 newborns, and 4 one week olds.
post #13 of 16
I'm sorry to hear about all of this. I know from personal experience how horrible feline distemper can be. My sister use to work at a barn where there were 10 + cats- all of whom has distemper. Being barn cats no one did a thing about it. It broke my heart but every vet you talk to will tell you the same thing- "the chances that they will live, even with the best treatments, are slim to none". It's terribly sad but reality. Worst of all, because these cats were not spayed/neutered/vaccinated they were produceing kittens whom all contracted the disease before birth which is a death sentance to begin with.

Seeing them all sick, thin and most of all scared of people was horrible. I would have loved to take them in and care for them but ontop of not being able to catch them I could not jeoperdize my own cats getting this deadly disease. When ever I go any where with a cat I feel is not 100% healthy I come home take off all of my clothes and shoes and wash them, shower and change before petting/feeding/ my own cats. Not only distemper but even something like a URI can be spread so easily. I have bottles of lysol around here and bleech and detol to clean and spray my house regularly. Once one cat gets something it is almost guarenteed that another will and it just keeps going on and on like that. If I have a cat whom I feel is sick I will seperate them to another area for a week or two until I know for sure they are not.

Even if the cats outside did not have distemper, by filling that food dish and having your cats eat out of it before it goes back outside they are almost certain to have it now. There is no cure for distemper and it is a very painful death for them. If you feel they without a doubt have this disease please bring them to the vets to be euthanized. Some vets will take payments. Don't feel guilty, because at this point, that is the BEST thing you can do for them. I would seriously wash EVERYTHING in your house and bleech your floors, steam clean your rugs, wash your upholstry, lysol everything (dressers, couches, walls, etc etc). Wash the litter boxes/food bowls/water bowls in bleech. And make sure that your other cats are 100% healthy because no vaccination is 100% effective. Your cats could very well have a mild form of distemper or be carrying it and passing it onto any new cats/kittens you bring in. And if those new cats/kittens are young or old are not vaccinated then there chances of getting it and surviving are very low.

I am very sorry again that you have had to go through this. I know your pain, I have had to watch many different animals die over the years (from different circumstances) and it truly breaks your heart.

The best advice I can give you is not to bring any new animal into your house until you are certain the distemper virus is gone for good.

Best of luck to you and I wanted you to know that I do see that you are truly trying to help these animals and I know that you did not intend for this to happen regardless of what others may say. I know you cannot force any one (your brothers/dad) to do any thing that they do not want to do; but lets just hope that they will be responsible, caring and smart enough not to bring anther cat into your house to die a tragic death like these other cats have.

Take care
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, its been an extremely long night, I just feel like if I don't do everything I can for her, I would never forgive myself. I believe the distemper got here through a stray cat we brought in in November, she was my cousins, but my cousin has problems, got up and left her here, with nowhere to go. It really upsets me that there are some extremely good people that help as much as they can, than something like this happens. I've heard from dozens of people the remorse and so on about this happening to me, I've taken in a lot of kittens in the past few years, after being deprived of not being able to have pets as a child. This is my payback on my parents :P I usually got the cats from a rescue group, and fostered them until someone wanted one. They all had their shots, and a lot of them since 2006 have found homes, and are still happy today, they are spayed and neutered. That makes me extremely proud, because where would they be without people who cared? I may not have the money to give them everything they want, but I have enough to keep them healthy (or so I thought) Also, in October we got a kitten from the rescue group, she did not have her shots (she was 4 weeks old, and had been abandoned) and she was found in an alley, I fostered her for only a short time because school and my job kept me busy, and I couldnt administer feedings, so she went to another foster mom a week later. She was quite the sweet cat, and was adopted out at 7 weeks, we recently found out that she had a disease, and the family that took her, since than, have lost 3 of their cats. This could very well be the origin, but why would it take out an older cat, when we had 4 that were under 6 months? It may be the fact that my cousin did not follow up with her shots (I paid for the first shot, the group charges me 15.00 a shot, so it wouldnt have been a HUGE problem) So, we've been thinking about it that way, that maybe it did happen because of the kitten, as she was in an alley. Also, I take care of cats and kittens because of a traumatizing experience in my neighborhood.
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
The girls were put down this afternoon, after a turn for the worst, nothing was helping them. The vet diagnosed it as a stomach problem, not Distemper. They were in a lot of pain, we were at the vets for about 2 hours before we came up with the decision to let them go. Those babies <3 I did the best I could, and I'm sorry...

My brothers feel very guilty, as they made the decision to bring them here, where they knew distemper was still lurking, they have not stayed up nor help me with any expenses for the KMR or even the Pedialite. So far I've been up for 36 hours, and I'm having a hard time. I hope this teaches them a lesson, cats are not super heroes who can get through everything. These kittens never stood a chance. They were put out of misery at 5:30 pm this afternoon.

Suzy and Mimi...
post #16 of 16
I will now close this thread.

Their Bridge thread can be found here:
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