Sunday, April 15, 2012

sick cats and abandoned kittens

I tend to consider myself an expert in terms of illnesses that can affect cats. We have cats with FIV (kitty AIDS) and FeLV (feline leukemia). However, when the vet said what sounded like khaleesi virus, that one was a new one for me. It really did sound like he’d said khaleesi, as in the title of Daenerys after she marries into the Dothraki (Game of Thrones reference there, for those of you who were wondering). Turns out he was talking about the feline calicivirus, and it can cause symptoms ranging from a mild to severe upper respiratory infection to death. [see wikipedia for more information]

As of last Monday, all of the cats at mom’s house were healthy. Tuesday, 12 year old Tuffy began sneezing and wheezing. But, as she’s elderly and tends to get colds fairly easily, we kept an eye on her, but for the most part thought little of it. By the next day, Tuffy was showing improvement; however, a good half of the cats at my mom’s house were sniffling. By Friday, nearly all of them were very sick. They were diagnosed with the fast spreading feline calicivirus. Most were put on amoxycilin. The two sickest were given shots of metacam as well.  

As of right now, most of the kitties have been stabilized or are on the mend. Unfortunately, Grey Kitty and Abs are still very, very sick, and might not make it. (For those concerned about Charlie, no worries - she's at my house, and has not been exposed.) The vet mentioned that kittens would be the most susceptible to this virus. We reassured him that we didn't have any little ones, and were not planning on taking any in.

Out at the land, all our cats are healthy... except that they are carriers of FIV - the kitty AIDS virus. Like the feline calicivirus, FIV can hit kittens very, very hard. While adult cats (like ours) can often be exposed and live long, healthy lives, chances of exposed kittens surviving are very low.

Saturday afternoon, we left the land at 6pm. We got out there at 10am this morning, and discovered that someone had left us two half-eaten bags of cat food, a half-used box of kitty litter, and a container of pet milk/formula mix. Oh, and a mama cat and five kittens. 

Hey, cool, somebody left us catfood!

DAMMIT. They also left us 6 cats.

Where to put them was our immediate concern. Mom's house was out of the question due to the calicivirus. My house - while technically owned jointly by me and F was paid for by F, and F says no more than 2 animals (Mochi and Charlie). The old house, which we moved out to the land back in August, is still in an uninhabitable state. 

Hoping the kittens hadn't been exposed to anything in the brief time they were outside, we quickly shut them in the bedroom of the Spartan trailer to prevent them from having any interaction with the other land cats.  However, as the Spartan's "bedroom" is tiny and poorly ventilated (and it's hot out there!), we knew they would soon have to be relocated somewhere cooler.

On the bed in the Spartan

On the bed in the Spartan

As such, we set about  buying kitten products and readying the "master bedroom" of the old house out at the land (as it's the only room with functioning doors) for kitties. They were relieved to get out of the sweltering Spartan late this afternoon, and seemed to have a good time exploring the nooks and crannies of the bedroom. They are all incredibly friendly, and the kittens have obviously been around humans since birth.

This was the before-kittens shot. And this is the most habitable room in the house.

The family in the closed-off former fireplace.


ABANDONING animals ANYWHERE (vet clinic, animal shelter, cat rescue, side of the road, dumpster, etc) is ILLEGAL. I've heard all sorts of lame ass reasons why people feel they absolutely must just get rid of their animals right then and there:

"I don't have enough time for them."
"I can't afford them."
"My boyfriend has allergies."
"I was ok with the cat, but I can't afford kittens."
"I can't get rid of the fleas."
"I'm pregnant."
"They damaged my wooden floor, new furniture, etc."
"My new apartment doesn't allow them."
"The kids don't play with them any more."

Taking on a pet is a lifetime commitment. If, for whatever reason, you are unable or unwilling to keep your pet, it is your responsibility to find a person or organization that is willing to accept responsibility for your pet. Most animal shelters and pet rescues require an animal surrender fee before they will accept your pet. This is because they are struggling to pay for all of the animals that are under their care. Also, all of these places have limits as to how many animals they can have at one time. Depending on space, staff, budgets, and health of the animals on the premises, animal rescue organizations are limited as to the number of animals they can handle. If the facility is full, the staff over-burdened, the bank account empty, etc., the facility will be unable accept more animals. The same is true for private citizens who do animal rescue - especially if they have areas full of sick cats.

We will do our best to make sure that the mama cat and her five babies are cared for, and to ensure that they are not exposed to any potentially deadly feline viruses. Assuming they haven't already been exposed by the assholes who dumped them in our cats' territory.

1 comment:

RoxyThomas said...

Would you happen to remember how long your kitties had the calicivirus? We just adopted a 5 month old kitty and he has it. He was given antibiotic, but I'm wondering how long the poor guy has to be uncomfortable and stinky. Thanks in advance :)