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post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I am a new member and let start off by saying that I have had now two sets of cats living into the 16-18 yo range, some 35+ years of cat keeping. I suppose that I have been lucky that I have never had so much as a sniffle or sneeze from anyone.

My cat family starts off with an indoor purebred silver tabby named Kevin (age 16) who recently lost his littermate brother to congestive heart failure. They had been lifelone pals and Kevin had been feeling very sad without his best friend. Kevin has been in good health, but is slow and deliberate - a senior.

I also have an adopted feral named Coby who showed up as a kitten three years ago, and lives out in an insulated shelter I built for him about 10 feet from my back door on my patio. Coby's a tough guy who hunts and never roams more than 100 feet from the house. He is a good eater, plumps up in the winter, and avoids wild animals at all costs.

Feeling sorry for poor Kevin, I contacted a silver tabby breeder who had a darling little kitten available (supposedly shy) who I thought might make a companion for Kev. This little kitten was placed in the back bedroom for a number of days where he hid in the curtains or under pillows. I noticed from the start that baby Kinney sneezed constantly, had a mucousy cough, and itched his neck all the time. I thought perhaps he was adjusting to the air quality here or something. Several days later, Kinney is out and making his appearance in the rest of the house. He absolutely idolizes Kevin and hangs around him constantly, eating out of his bowls, licking his chin, and trying out his litterbox.

Ten days after acquiring Kinney, Kevin is on his deathbed - refusing to eat, limping badly from a swollen rear foot, shaky on his feet. I take him to the vet immediately where a full CBC is done which reveals nothing unusual except that he has very high WBC count. By that first night, his rear foot swells up to twice its size. Apparently from fever, he starts to sleep spread-eagle on the basement floor. I begin giving him ringer's IV drip nightly, force-feed him baby food, and start him on Baytril. After several days where I thought for sure he was a goner, he resumes drinking and starts to eat the baby food off my finger willingly. Now a runny nose and puss-ey eyes develop or become his prominent symptom.

At the same time, I am noticing that outdoor Coby has stopped eating in the coldest weather when he needs the energy the most. I put his food out, I bring it back in. I am offering him more dinner selections than he ever had in his lifetime and nothing is working. He is also sneazing with puss dripping from his eyes. I think to mention that he had received a couple of the kitten's leftovers. Oftentimes he receives leftovers from the indoor cats, but never the reverse. One week later, Coby marches inside out of the ice storm - skinny as a rail. "Please Help Me"

Meanwhile, baby Kinney is put in solitary confinement back in the bedroom where he started out. I keep all three cats separated from each other with frequent hand washings between visits. I spend two weeks literally nursing my two resident adults back to life who now seem to be recovering. The kitten still is sneezing and coughing and itching, but does not seem to come down with symptoms. I am suspecting he is Typhoid Mary.

I have had talks with the breeder who first suggested that this was all some coincidence, then later told me her formula to eradicate Chlamydia (zithromax given once at the first sign of a sneeze) which she has used for years. She is reluctant to take back her kitten claiming that it was in perfect health when it left her cattery and that she had in fact given it the zithromax cure the day I picked it up from her(!?!).

This has been an ordeal that I could never have imagined. I am guessing that this was a classic combination of Chlamydia/Calici virus. We took a Bartonella test on the kitten, but have not received the results yet. I showed my vet the vacination records from the kitten (FELV IV) and he said it was given too early in life and the kitten is not immunized. Could this have just made him a carrier?

Anyone else with a similar tale? Any advice on getting the breeder to take her kitten back?
post #2 of 19
I am so sorry for what you are going through... I don't have any experience with what you are describing, but I am sure you came to the right place for insights...
I hope all of them get better, including the little one.
Welcome to TCS!!
post #3 of 19
I've never had a purebred cat so don't know what the standard is. What does your contract with the breeder say? Under what conditions can you return the kitten? If she was giving the kitten a "cure" the day you got him, he obviously was not in perfect health.

I would contact the breeder again as soon as you get the test results. Is your vet willing to write a letter stating exactly what he has found and his opinion about the vaccination, etc.?
post #4 of 19
Thread Starter 
I didn't sign a contract, but was able to locate other sample contracts from breeders on the internet. The sample ones I viewed had a right of first refusal where the breeder could take the cat back (at any age) rather than have it go to a shelter.

My vet's opinion is that this is something viral so will have to be worked out on its own, and said it would be difficult to prove who was a carrier since all cats have these viruses in them. Up until this episode, I never had any of my cats sneezing EVER and certainly no puss-ey eyes!

The reason he tested for Bartonella is that it has the same symptoms as the viral versions, but is bacterial rather than viral, so antibiotics could be used to treat it. On the viral front, there is no remedy other than immunizations - but not at this stage.
post #5 of 19
Was the kitten shipped?
Do you know anything about the breeder?
There should be a contract taht you signed.
What does it say?
Did you have 3 days to see a vet when you first got the kitten?
I have a purebred kitten I got in Dec.
post #6 of 19
I don't know where to start. All cats carry different *germs*. Bringing any new cat into an existing cat home is adding new *germs*. In stressful situations, as in adding a new cat, can flare up harboring viruses. All cats have been exposed to some sort of virus be it corona, calici, herpes. Your two cats were used to each others germs. Isolating for only a few days was not long enough. A minimun of 2 weeks is recommended. Also the new addition should of been taken to the vet for a check up before being introduced to the other cats. You also mention a cat outside, who knows what the cat could bring into the situation.

There is no way to pin point where the illness came from. It could of already been harboring in your cats brought on by stress from adding a new cat. It could of been carried by the new kitten or your outside cat very well picked up something. Young kittens and seniors are highest risk of infection.

I don't see what good it would do for the breeder to take the kitten back? Your cats and the kitten are already exposed.
post #7 of 19
I'm so sorry for all of this, and bless you for helping your guys fight this off. I'm also sorry for all the money you must be out at this point.

First, guessing this wasn't a very professional breeder, if no contract was signed before you got the kitten and you still got to take the kitten home. A shame there isn't a standard for breeders, but people can be easily taken in by some less than professional folks.

Second, IMO, water under the bridge, in most ways, especially if you did not take the kitten to your own vet for a complete check up before bringing into your own home, other than to make sure other people are aware of this breeder's business habits. My county pound, in my contract with them, insisted I take mine in for a check up with an independent vet within three days, and recommended same day check-up - for adopted strays. I don't know how you can fight to at least get money back, or money for the vet care, without a signed contract.

Third, you're a good parent for getting these guys through this illness. I'd just work with my vet to try and make sure that once they're getting back to health, you know everything you need about keeping them in good health.
post #8 of 19
Any good breeder would have a contract.
Was the cat shipped or did you go get it?
Did you do reasearch on the breeder?
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
The cattery I got the kitten from is close enough to me that I drove over and picked it up. The father is a grand champion silver tabby and the breeder has been in business for many years - so I do not think this is a sleazy breeder. No, I did not get a written contract from her. I only do this every 16-18 years, so pardon me for my ignorance. I had no contract on my original two silver tabbies either.

No, I did not rush the kitten over to the vet upon arrival. He came with some kind of medical records indicating his vaccinations (FELV IV, rabies) and spaying and the breeder indicated that he was "ready to go". The vet has only recently seen the kitten and pronounced it in good health, but still ordered the Bartonella test which is still not back. Kitten did not sneeze or cough for the vet upon command, so he didn't see that. I have no experience with contagians, so was not cautious enough apparently.

At this point, all three are still separated from each other. I have been waiting until Kevin is up to par before releasing Kinney again. Kevin was so sick that the kitten just walks all over him (or should I say sneezes all over him). It has been three weeks today that Kevin came down with his illness and it has been a slow recovery, but he is starting to look like his old self.

Feral Coby is in the basement, still at the baby food on my finger stage. He has had the most adjusting to do. I finally coaxed him into using a litter box, which is a big plus.

SOMETHING INTERESTING TO ME: both indoor Kevin and feral Coby had this urgent desire to lay in their own urine during the critical stage. Kevin has a litterbox containing only a piece of carpeting that he has had for years that he uses as a urinal - he very insistantly laid in there for hours at a time during his illness. Coby is parked on a roll of insulation in the basement which he had urinated on to the point of being sopped, yet he lays there in it just the same. Is this some old cat cure I haven't heard of?
post #10 of 19
True, if you haven't been in the 'market', so to speak for a number of years, it would be difficult to up to speed with current protocol. But, honestly, even my county shelter had a contract I needed to sign which required a vet visit and several other conditions (including the cats being kept inside) three years ago, and from what I've read most pure-bred breeders have all sorts of contract verbiage regarding vet visits, conditions of return, health conditions, etc. It's just such a shame that you ended up with a sort of perfect storm of an unexpected illness. Still, your breeder should be doing contracts, for both buyer and seller's protection. It's more your breeder I'm looking at for not having a contract, and not insisting on an independent vet check within 3 days. BTW, silver tabbies are just beautiful - I've been lucky enough to see a few at shows.

That's interesting regarding the urine - i've never read anything about that. Oh, if you do find yourself with litter box issues, you might try Cat Attract litter - it can do wonders with box-averse kitties.
post #11 of 19
Originally Posted by Dan32 View Post
The father is a grand champion silver tabby

I had no contract on my original two silver tabbies either.
Silver tabby is colour and pattern, not a breed. And being in "business" for a long time doesn't mean they are a good/ethical breeder, neither does showing cats I know a breeder or two I'd never buy from but they show and have titled cats.

Originally Posted by darlili View Post
I've read most pure-bred breeders have all sorts of contract verbiage regarding vet visits, conditions of return, health conditions, etc.
Most breeders do have contracts, I'm sorry your kitten got sick and hope he gets better soon.
post #12 of 19
I don't have any helpful advice but am sending lots of vibes for a good recovery for all your boys
post #13 of 19
Originally Posted by Bonnie1965 View Post
I don't have any helpful advice but am sending lots of vibes for a good recovery for all your boys
same, here - & headed your way!
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Update 3 weeks later: Bartonella test negative. Kevin and Coby recovering from Cat Flu. Kevin who had the leg infection now losing all the hair from that area plus into his abdomen - skin still attached, but seems in good spirits. Vet never determined what had happened to that leg which started it all. Hair loss seems confined to the infection site.

Kitten is now allowed out for hour long periods several times a day. Still sneezes. Now he is the only one still sneezing.

Is it over?
post #15 of 19
Time will tell if it is over and whether or not your kitten has a chronic viral infection OR if your older cats will have the same thing (chronic illness that is viral in nature and is symptomatic when the cat is stressed).

Loss of hair at the infection site on the rear leg of Kevin could be a result of the swelling stretching the skin tight... or it could be the left over effects of the infection itself. The infection in that leg and the swelling could have been a site specific lymph node reaction to the disease including transient cellulitis.

IOW's the infection could have caused those particular lymph nodes to react and swell.. similar to Lymphangitis in Horses. A horse with Lymphangitis will exhibit symptoms similar to your cat and when the symptoms resolve, the swollen leg will often suffer hair loss.

Here is some information on Lympahngitis in cats. I do not know this site and no references are made to studies so take it for what it is worth.

as quoted from

Lymphangitis is inflammation of the lymph vessels, or ducts, which connect parts of the lymphatic system including the lymph nodes. Most commonly, as lymph ducts scavenge fluid and debris that collect in body tissues, inflammation of lymphatics is caused or connected with inflammation from another source.

This would include bacterial infections, fungal infections, inflammation caused by tumors in the body, wounds and surgical sites undergoing repair and from other sites of chronic inflammation. Clinical signs include swelling, often of a limb affected, fever, loss of appetite, depression, lameness, lymph node enlargement and local nodularity. In many cases cellulitis will be present. Many times, however, there may be no specific clinical signs. Diagnosis is based on physical examination, blood counts, culture and sensitivity, biopsy and X-rays.


Treatment of the primary source of infection will generally result in resolution of lymphangitis. Warm compresses, wraps and warm soaks will all help. Cortisone may help reduce swelling as well.

This site can give you additional information regarding various upper respiratory illness in cats, including Cat Flu.

I am sorry all this happened to you. I used to show cats years back.. and all my new kitten owners were advised to take the kitten to the vet from my cattery before bringing it home (so getting the kitten and going to the vet happened at once). Kitten's Parents were tested for FeLV and FIP (no FIV in those days.. it was a while ago) and vaccination records went with the kitten to the new owner and the owner was instructed that failure to take the kitten to the vet prior to taking the kitten home voided the health guarantee. This protected the buyer and protected me as the seller.

Let us know who y'all do!
post #16 of 19
Originally Posted by Dan32 View Post
Update 3 weeks later: Bartonella test negative. Kevin and Coby recovering from Cat Flu. Kevin who had the leg infection now losing all the hair from that area plus into his abdomen - skin still attached, but seems in good spirits. Vet never determined what had happened to that leg which started it all. Hair loss seems confined to the infection site.

Kitten is now allowed out for hour long periods several times a day. Still sneezes. Now he is the only one still sneezing.

Is it over?
I got a purebred kitten (although it probably is coincidental) that sneezed a lot when we first got him. He sneezed a lot for about a year, but was never sick. Fortunately, my other cats stayed fine though. I'm so glad Kevin seems to be better!
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Now about one month later. Thanks for the information on LYMPHANGITIS regarding Kevin's leg. Fortunately, Kev is now off the Baytril for more than a week and has finished off his eye drops - looks like he is pretty much recovered from the leg infection/cat flu, but still sleeps more than he did before and has a lingering loss of voice which is coming back slowly. The hair is also growing back on the leg. He is well enough to "deck" the kitten, which is a good sign as the kitten was taking advantage of the situation.

The feral Coby who was ushered down to the basement after surrendering himself to my care was nursed back to partial health enough to go to the vet this week. He got neutered, his first round of shots, tested negative for FELV and FIV, and treated for cat flu, conjunctivitis, and a severe case of ear mites. This is his first time going to the vet. He is looking much better and adjusting to indoor life - still skittish. The vet told me to keep him segregated until his ear mites are gone in about 3 weeks.

I haven't heard a sneeze in a week or so from anybody... I was surprised at how long this took to resolve. Really, nobody came roaring back to health like I had expected - it has been a day by day recovery with some relapses.

Thanks for your kind words..
post #18 of 19
Many Prayers and for continuing recoveries.
post #19 of 19
Im so sorry for you!

When I brought my purebred kitten home last year, Holly, she sneezed alot and had eye goop. Most cats will get like this when moving because of the stress. My vet had suggested that she had feline herpes, but she is fine now. more importantly, she said im lucky that Kitty seemed immune to her symptoms and didnt get sick.

Its all hit or miss when bringing home a new cat, but Ive heard that purebred cats are more likely to get sick in the beginning and get other cats sick. seems strange considering how much we pay for them.

I hope they will be ok!
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