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cat colds

January 31st, 2007, 08:37 AM
Hello all,

We live in Ohio farm country and have several cats, a dog, and some chickens.

The dog is a house dog, a shepherd mix , the (10 or so) cats were all a result of roaming neighbors cats.... we don't really mind but it's obviously difficult if not impossible to control the immediate cat population, and when they get sick we try to nurse them back, especially so for a beautiful kitten that caught a cold in spite of the shelter we provided.

From general wisdom internet posts we are reasonably certain the kitten has URI more or less, and was sneezing, had runny eyes and labored breathing. We isolated him in a large box inside the house where it's warm with food, water, and cleaned him up. He has evidently responded well and now only has runny eyes but is very active, curious and he eats well. His stools are firm.

Even though general wisdom about URI is that the cat will be a carrier for life, we are wondering how long it should take before he will get back to normal without cold symptoms such as runny eyes. He has been sheltered inside for about two weeks now. (Those runny eyes just don't seem like they want to get better).

Thanks for any advice or observations you may have.

January 31st, 2007, 10:04 AM
Welcome to the board. I am two short of your ten cats but can understand the challenge! The back alleys of Montreal must come pretty close to farm country for the number of strays going walkabout. They're barn cats, right?

From your description, it sounds like your kitten had a particularly nasty URI (laboured breathing is a bad sign) and you're lucky to have managed to pull him through. It is highly contagious! You didn't say if the other cats managed to avoid getting it. Continue to keep the kitten separate from the others until his eyes clear.

The runny eyes may be the tail end of the URI. He really should be treated with antibiotics, to clear it from his system once and for all, particularly if he has underlying herpes or one of the feline viruses (the 'lifelong conditions' you mention).

Herpes outbreaks tend to come and go, depending on the severity of the case, the cat's situation, nourishment, stress levels, etc. There are supplements you can give to boost the immune system and lessen the effects but they are not a cure. One of my cats has herpes, which manifests in a terrible eye infection every year or so. I always treat him immediately with antibiotics and supplements, but it still takes a long time to clear.

If the kitten has underlying herpes, at least some of the other cats are likely to have it as well. Kittens from the same litter would be at extreme risk, for instance.

If you are attached to them, the best thing you can do for their overall health and your own sanity is to gradually get all these cats fixed (if there are more males, start with the females).

The incidence of fights will drop like a stone (along with wounds and infections). No more yowling, exhausted females or sick kittens to bring back from the brink. Calmness will reign!

Just to add to this tall order, they should be vaccinated to the max every couple of years, wormed, and treated for fleas.

Other than that, good food (the best quality you can afford), scraps of raw or cooked meat (no bones please), no milk (gives them tummy ache and diarrhea, although a tiny amount of cream in the dead of winter is OK), and a warm place to sleep are the ticket.

Thanks for caring.

January 31st, 2007, 10:36 AM
Thaks for the good advice. As for contagion might what the cats (kitten) have be contagious also for dogs and/or humans? Herpes? That sounds scary especially if humans can contract something of what the cats have.

January 31st, 2007, 12:30 PM
None of these conditions can be transmitted to humans. I'm not sure about dogs, so better wait for someone more knowledgeable.