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My potential adoptee kitten is sick

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I'm new here and I'm already troubleprone! Sigh. Okay, I posted yesterday about being in the process of adopting three cats -- a momcat and her two kittens.

I was originally going to take all three cats on Neutering Day (Monday), when the two kittens were going to be neutered/spayed. But I spoke with the foster mom today and apparently the girl kitten, Salli, has come down with the calicivirus. The foster suggests that I take momcat and the boy kitten, unneutered, and wait until Salli is better.

I don't know a thing about calicivirus, and though I've tried to do research, for some reason none of websites give any basic information -- such as, whether a) it's curable, or b) whether the other cats are likely to be infected with it as well. They say it's an upper respiratory infection, and that it's something most kittens are vaccinated* for, but I'm not seeing anything much on what happens once the kittens have the darn disease.

* BTW, apparently this foster mom is not a fan of vaccines. So while she's giving me strict orders about precisely what type and flavor of cat food I must buy prior to adopting them**, she's not vaccinating these little guys as recommended.

** When we had our interview, and I told her that I'd fed my last cat Choie on Nine Lives, she acted like I was Dr. Mengele of the cat world! Now, I certainly don't mind feeding cats differently, so if these little kittens must have Nutro's chicken and wheat germ flavor, that's fine with me. Heck, it's not as if I'm not married to the owner of Nine Lives! But OTOH, I don't need to feel like the worst mom in the world because Choie insisted on eating ONLY one brand of cat food, and it happened to be the infamous Nine Lives. Choie lived for nearly 20 years and never had an illness, so I did something right with my little girl, thankyouverymuch. Don't you think?

Anyway. Sorry for the rant. I guess I'm just worried and upset tonight. I've been so skittish about getting another cat precisely because I went through a hellish grief after Choie died. Now I have to worry about my new brood, or whether I'm putting myself in a bad situation by adopting them only to lose them to illness.

Argh! Help me stop panicking! Does anyone have experiences, good or bad, with this calicivirus thing?
post #2 of 5
Calicivirus is not fatal (usually) unless the ulcers develop so badly in the mouth or internal organs that the cat stops eating altogether. It is highly contagious, and can live outside the cat's body for up to 10 days. Vaccinating once the virus sets in, doesn't help all that much, and you just have to let the disease run it's course.

It is common in shelter cats where there is poor ventilation, or too many cats in a cage. It is typically called cat flu, and though it can claim the cat's life, if caught early enough, it is managable, but the cat does stay infected for years.
post #3 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much, Hissy! I really appreciate your quick response. I feel better now. I'm not sure how the foster mom is going to protect the other cats from the illness, since it's so infectious, but hopefully the vet has given her instructions.

What I'll probably end up doing is taking the momcat first, and let the younger kids stay behind for a couple of weeks. This should help the mom dry up (the kittens are almost finished weaning) and, hopefully, the illness will clear up soon.

If anyone else has experience with calicivirus I'd be so grateful to hear more info!

Thanks again, Hissy.
post #4 of 5
I am hoping that whoever has the cats and kittens is giving them proper care. If she has calici, it can be very difficult to get them to eat and drink. Especially being a kitten, she will need all the help she can get. Normally they get them on antibiotics as a precaution because it's related to upper respitory infections. They also usually put a little steroid in the antibiotic to help the inflamation in the mouth. If the girl kitten has it, it's VERY likely that the boy kitten or the mom kitten may pop up with the same symptoms.
If I was a little unsure about the care they are getting at the present foster home, I would just take them all home and nurse them back to health. Keeping the sick one or ones away from the healthy ones.
While vaccination is not a cure or 100% protection from getting it, the vaccine will usually lessen the severity of the virus. I would make sure they are all up to date on vaccines once everyone is healthy and strong.
post #5 of 5
Hope everything works out!
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