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Sick kitten, upper respiratory infection, suggestions PLEASE

November 10th, 2011, 01:01 PM

My Mom, who is 84, has cats and in the past, a few have had litters where all of the kittens have gotten what we think is feline rhinotracheitis, an upper respiratory infection and died.

I went back to Ohio last month (I live in Florida now) and took all four of the new kittens to get shots. The vet said it is a virus or weak immune system that does this.

Today, my Mom said one of the kitten's eyes are starting to water and she isn't eating. Unfortunately, I am not there and my Mom cannot drive to get them to a vet.

I have been reading about holistic methods of treating this. Echinacea and Peruvian Bark are what they suggest.

Before ordering anything, I wanted to ask all of you if you know of anything that is an herb, homeopathic, etc. that could help?

When I go up for the holidays, I will be trying to get the female cats spayed. My Mom doesn't want the female cats to have more kittens but she is a widow on SS and cannot afford or drive to have them fixed by herself.

A few were adopted and are doing fine from a past litter where they had shots. I am hoping me getting this litter shots and adding something will prevent them from getting sick(er) and get them healthy.

I want to get whatever she may need for them asap.

Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated!!

Thank you kindly,


November 10th, 2011, 02:00 PM
We have some really knowledgeable kitty folks here so hopefuly they will come along soon and help but I think Lysene can be used to stregthen the immune system. Also have you checked to see if their is a mobile vet in the area. I have noticed up in Canada here there are a few around??

Good Luck and bless your Mom for caring so much! :thumbs up

November 10th, 2011, 02:55 PM
Hi Winston,

Thank you for the suggestion on the lysine. I have read that can help as well, now, I will see, as you said, if anyone else can recommend something else we can add to it.

She just loves animals as do I, we both want the little ones to be strong and healthy.

All the best to you,


November 10th, 2011, 04:05 PM
250mg of L-lysine powder twice a day in wet food for all the kittens would be a good idea. For those with symptoms, your mom may need to increase it to 500mg twice a day until symptoms subside. Unfortunately vaccinations are not a guarantee of good health, especially where URIs are concerned. Just like with a human cold, there are many mutations of the virus and it would be impossible to vaccinate against them all, so it's only the most "popular" ones that get covered. Hopefully symptoms will be less severe though.

Some other things that can help the kitten would be steam therapy. Cats eat largely based on their sense of smell, so if they have a stuffed up nose their appetite tends to diminish. If your mom can take the kitten into the bathroom while running a hot shower for 10 mins, that might help keep the sinuses clear. Tell her to do this several times a day if possible.

Feeding very stinky food, like canned fish-based Fancy Feast or plain chicken baby food* (make sure it has NO onions) is also recommended.

I wouldn't use echinacea or peruvian bark in kittens.

Some more info on dealing with URIs holistically:

*To clarify, the baby food should only be fed to jump-start a lack of appetite and not long-term as it isn't nutritionally balanced.

November 10th, 2011, 04:18 PM
Also wanted to add some links for low-cost spay/neuter clinics in Ohio. Some are mobile units that travel around and might be more feasible for your mom:

November 10th, 2011, 05:22 PM
Hi SugarCatMom,

Thank you for your reply!

Do you think the lysine will be enough to build their immune systems?

I will read her the suggestions you gave but want to cover all the bases and make sure their immune systems get supported as well.

Please let me know your thoughts on this.

With sincere gratitude,


November 10th, 2011, 05:23 PM
And thank you for the info on the spay/neuter as well!!

I will bookmark this for when I go up there for the holidays :)

November 10th, 2011, 07:15 PM
Do you think the lysine will be enough to build their immune systems?

What L-lysine does is bind to arginine, an amino acid that the herpes virus requires for replication. Less arginine theoretically means less virus.

I think keeping stress to a minimum (stress plays a big role in herpes outbreaks) is important. But remember that stress for a cat may be different than for people, so something like a dirty litter box or a dog barking next door or a change in the routine could be enough to cause anxiety.

The best way to a strong immune system is with diet. It might be tough for your mom on a limited income and with multiple cats, but wet food would be my recommendation. Kibble, although cheap and convenient, is just about the worst diet for any cat. There's some great info at this link if you want to know more detail:

November 10th, 2011, 10:22 PM
Hi SugarCatMom,

Thank you again for the suggestions :)

My Mom will be giving the kittens lysine and wet food.

Hopefully it will work and help them get strong and stay that way.

Thank you!