Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Kitten Update

So, OK, Kitten is now back from the vet. I said yesterday that he didn't look to be in terribly bad shape to me, but by this morning I was a lot less convinced about that... His eyes have gotten quite goopy, and I heard him sneeze a few times, which did not seem like a good sign. And, sure enough, the poor little guy is sick. Just how sick is another question. Apparently he has distemper, which fortunately is not as bad as the disease of the same name in dogs. I now have antibiotics and eye ointment to give him, and, also fortunately, the antibiotic course he needs to take will finish up a couple of days before I leave town, so at least he should be healthy by then. Or... maybe he'll be healthy by then. There is also a possibility that he has FIP (feline infectious peritonitis). The vet took an x-ray, but the results were very ambiguous. I have another appointment to take him back in in a week, by which point she thinks it should be obvious whether he has it or not just by feeling his abdomen. FIP is nasty and incurable and, as the vet put it, "not a good way to die," so if he turns out to have that, the course of action is sadly clear. But I am reasonably optimistic.

On a less serious note, he also seems to be very constipated -- I had noticed that he hadn't used the litterbox or done any business anywhere else since I brought him in last night -- but the vet seems to think just giving him some wet food should help with that.

Anyway, assuming he does not have FIP, the bad news is that there's no way I'm going to talk someone into adopting a kitten with distemper, and it might be iffy whether a shelter would take him even after he's done with the antibiotics. The good news is, the vet said that they would be able to board him while I'm gone, if necessary. How much that's gonna cost, I don't know, but what the heck. It's not like I have anything better to spend my money on.

So. That's where we sit. I will keep you guys updated, whether you like it or not. And whether I like it or not, I may end up coming out of this with another cat. Which puts me 2/3 of the way to Crazy Cat Lady territory, by my reckoning.

Oh, and, yes, he does appear to be a he. And the vet figures he's probably closer to two months than three. Maybe two and a half. Also, he's very cute, but I knew that already.


  1. Hopefully your cats have been immunized against distemper. I am a little concerned about the FIP and exposing your other cats.

    Hopefully, your vet addressed this.

  2. They have, indeed, been immunized so they should be fine there. Although I am going to double-check and make sure they've had any recommended boosters recently, too.

    I did ask the vet about this stuff, and she said that as long as I kept the kitten separate from the others -- which I have -- I shouldn't need to take any extraordinary precautions about the FIP. I looked it up afterward, and it turns out that, despite the name, it isn't actually all that infectious. The vet said that current medical thinking is that pretty much all cats are exposed to it at some point, anyway, but only the genetically susceptible ones develop the disease.

  3. It's not like I have anything better to spend my money on.
    So that's it, then. All the world's books are gone.

  4. I'm not allowed to spend all my money on books. I have a quota system. Even if I haven't been doing well with it lately. :)

  5. By the way, Kathy, speaking of infection worries... I did a little more reading on FIP, and it's a weird disease, because technically it's infectious, but it's not contagious. It is caused by an infection -- a very common one -- but in the great majority of cats, said infection does nothing at all, or at most causes a little case of the kitty sniffles. But in some cats -- probably due to a compromised immune system and/or some kind of genetic predisposition -- it mutates inside the cat into the fatal form. An infected cat can pass on the mostly harmless version (mainly in the feces and saliva), but it doesn't transmit the killer version at all. The mutant bugs stay entirely inside the cat. So, basically, as long has he's not sharing a litterbox or a food dish with the other kitties, he's unlikely to pass the virus on to them, and even if he does, the odds are very, very low that it will hurt them at all.

    Feline distemper, on the other hand, is a ninja bug that gets on everything, lives for years, and frequently laughs at disinfectants, so thank science for vaccines. :) I know the other kitties have all been vaccinated against it and thus should be immune, but I'm going to call the vet today, I think, and make sure they're absolutely up to date on their boosters.