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New Kitten

January 1st, 2012, 02:42 PM
My partner and I bought a Russian Blue female kitten, yesterday. We were advised that the kitten is covered by 4 week insurance with Petplan after which time we were recommended to continue with an insurer, of our own choice. Shortly after we got our kitten home, we noticed she had some discharge around one eye. I wiped this away with a damp cloth, only for it to reappear, soon after. Later in the evening, the kitten had developed significant discharge around her eye and was finding it difficult to keep the eye open. Today, we took the kitten to the out of hours veterinarian, where we described her sneezing, wet nose (abnormally so) and eye discharge. The vet felt that the kitten was very small for her age (almost 5 months) and did not identify any adult teeth. She was unsure of the reason for the kitten's symptoms but suggested feline chlamydia. Initially the vet felt the symptoms were consistent with cat flu but I produced the vaccination card which states the kitten has had both her inoculations excluding feline leukemia, which will be completed when she is better. I paid 99 (New Year's day/Sunday charge) for an oral antibiotic in addition to antibiotic eye drops.

I have an 18 month old cat (who has not had direct contact with the kitten) and am increasingly concerned that her health is at risk owing to the probable contagious nature of the kitten's illness. I appreciate that the prevalence of various conditions is higher among cats sharing a household or cattery but this kitten appeared to display symptoms of disease within hours of purchase and questions arise in my mind of how reputable the breeder is.
My (adult) cat has sneezed twice in the past day and usually I wouldn't bat an eyelid but I am more anxious about this now. She is not showing any other signs. The kitten is in a separate room and obviously has individual bowls and litter tray. The kitten weed and pooed last night but has not had any activity in the litter box since. She has eaten no more than a teeny tiny mouthful and I haven't seen her drink. In herself she does not seem worried and purrs all the time and is very playful and affectionate! I have become a bit obsessive compulsive about washing my hands in between touching the kitten and my cat.

Does anyone else have any similar experiences of a new kitten and any illness or can you relate any of these symptoms with those of your cat or kitten?


January 1st, 2012, 02:56 PM
I have had no experience with this, sorry that this is happening. Have you contacted the breeder?

January 2nd, 2012, 09:50 AM
Sounds like a URI, often caused by the feline herpes virus (rhinotracheitis) or the calicivirus. Because these viruses mutate (just like with viruses that cause the human cold), vaccines are no guarantee that a cat won't get sick anyway. Stress is often a factor in development of symptoms, so just going to a new home would be enough to trigger the illness. These things usually run their course, but if there's any goopy mucusy green or yellow discharge from eyes or nose, you might have to give a course of antibiotics to help clear up the secondary infection (antibiotics are useless against the virus itself).

In the meantime, make sure she eats enough. Perhaps some steam therapy to help loosen the nose discharge would help. Hang out with her in the bathroom while you run a hot shower for 10 minutes, 2-3 times a day. Also try feeding her really stinky food like canned fishy Fancy Feast. Adding 500mg of L-lysine powder to her food twice a day can also help.

To help prevent future outbreaks, try to keep stress to a minimum and keep her immune system in top form by feeding her the best food you can afford. A balanced raw diet is ideal, but if that isn't an option, quality grain-free canned food would be fine. Kibble isn't a good idea, for many reasons:

More URI info:

Good luck! Would love to see some pics of the little beauty if you have a chance.

January 2nd, 2012, 12:29 PM
My one cat came down with a URI just after I brought her home from the SPCA. It is rather common and yes, it is contagious. I ended up treating both of my cats with antibiotics but I didn't keep mine seperated, so that may help to keep your older cat healthy.

The lysine supplement recommended by sugarcatmom is a good idea and it can be given to your older cat to help boost her immune system. I've never used it in a powder form, though I kinda wish it had been an option. It has only been available to me in a gel. My adopted kitty is a neurotic self cleaner so I just put a dab of it on her paw and she licked it off. I have also given the gel through a syringe although that tends to be a lot more stressful for the kitty so I wouldn't recommend it.

When I had a batch of sick kittens that didn't want to eat as well as they should I gave kitten milk replacement formula. You can find it at pet stores or at your vet. But use that option only if your kitten won't eat wet food.

Keep us updated on how she's doing!

January 2nd, 2012, 01:02 PM
First of all, congratulations, Mary, on your new family member. Yes, URI is very common. Keep your other cat away, don't share anything, toys, brush etc. The most important thing is to make sure the kitten is eating, drinking and using the litterbox. The easy way to check to see if she is dehydrated is to lift the skin off the back of her neck. If it bounces back quickly, she should be fine. If it doesn't go back to normal, she could be dehydrated and should be seen by a vet. Relax but be observant and enjoy your kitten.