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feral cat colony dying, why?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
A friend of mine recently bought a house and with it came 14 barn cats. She has been feeding them since January. Now, in the past week, they are all dropping dead. She said they are literally falling over dead. She even had a litter of approx. 2 week old kittens. Their mama died. So, she took them in and was bottle-feeding them, for a week. Then, they started being unable to drink, all of a sudden, they were choking on it. That afternoon they died. So, her question, and mine, is, "what's going on?" Does anyone have any ideas? They have 4 adults left. Thank you!
post #2 of 7
Having a necropsy done is really the only way to find out what’s going on. If your friend wants to know why all these poor cats are dying, if one more of the remaining cats dies, she needs to take the body to a local vet or a vet school if there is one in her area for a post mortem examination. (A vet school would be the absolute best place to go.)

With sudden death the possibilities include heart disease, heartworm disease, viral and bacterial diseases, parasites (feline leukemia, toxoplasmosis, FIP, etc) accidental or deliberate poisoning, chronic disease leading to sudden death. In the kittens it might be infectious disease or parasites. There are many possibilities and sadly only a post mortem exam can find the exact cause of death.
post #3 of 7
Could you ask your friend if she has done any kind of "landscaping" work on the property, digging, removal of trees...any kind of activity that would have resulted in disturbance to the ground and land? Perhaps thr removal of "outbuildings" on the property?
post #4 of 7
Feline parvovirus. Symptoms
post #5 of 7
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
Feline parvovirus. Symptoms
Yes. "panleukapenia" or feline distemper. I have seen it in action and it is ugly and swift. They literally go fairly quickly without intervention. How tragic.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your responses!

Sorry it has taken me so long to check in. I will tell her what you all said. If it is distemper, would it most likely be in all of the cats? Last I knew, she had 4 left.

And, as for her digging, etc, outside, yes, her family is doing a complete overhaul of the house and area. It is a large farm. That said, what do you think?

Thanks, again!
post #7 of 7
Well, so far as any concern for the cats is concerned, one might wonder if perhaps that question is now moot...it's been ten days since the question was posed.

On the (possibly) off chance that the killer was not Panleukapenia: if the deaths only started after any disruption to the ground/soil and, if she is unable/unwilling to determine the cause of the cats' deaths, she might want to know that Histoplasma Capsulatum can cause fairly rapid death in cats - but also that humans are susceptible as well to this fungal infection.

You can Google it - there's a piece on cat/dog infection here.
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