Avatar universal

VERY sick cat

10 year old male domestic short-hair, 16.4 lbs.  13 year old female domestic short-hair, 11.4 lbs.

My cats are very very sick. Here are the details:

Days 1-3: Male: coughing and sneezing
Day 4: Male: Difficulty breathing - congestion, not eating, drinking, sleeping, or pooping.  Taken to vet. Prescribed oral-antibiotics, and diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection.
Day 5: Male: No improvement, breathing difficulties worsen, and no longer concerned with attempting the litter box. Taken to vet. Given injectable antibiotics, x-rays show lungs are clear, and given liquids under the skin.
Day 6: Started syringe feeding
Day 7: Female presenting similar symptoms. Both cats taken to the vet. Male begins mouth-breathing at clinic and is immediately placed on oxygen treatment and given a Vitamin B shot and more fluids. Female placed on liquid antibiotics. Prescribed nasal decongestant and cough pills(we have been unsuccessful with these pills, but the coughing has mostly subsided).
Day 8: Female is now having difficulty breathing, but appears relatively comfortable and is still taking small amounts of fluids, but no food. Moved to syringe feeding to keep food in her. Male is no longer willing to move, he is exhausted. He has laid in the same position for so long he's now limping when he does walk. Extremely lethargic. Very little sneezing and coughing, but extremely stuffed up. He's bloated, and my assumption is he's constipated. He's urinating where ever he's laying at the time, but has only pooped once that I'm aware of, in days(today).

I have been surrounded by cats my entire life, and have a fair amount of knowledge. Enough to be dangerous, and I prefer never to be too confident to avoid carelessness. I am terrified my babies are walking a thin line, and I do not know what to do. I need help, and cannot afford another vet visit. My accounts are clean empty, and all additional financial accounts are maxed out. I need home remedies here, if nothing else, to make my cats more comfortable.
20 Responses
931246 tn?1297902651
Have you tried give your cat a laxertives for your male cat?  have you also tried exercising his legs for him while he is laying down? (if it doesnt hurt him)
Avatar universal
I recently went through a similar situation with one of my older cats.  She presented similar symptoms.  Subsequent testing revealed liver disease that had tapped out her immune system eventually resulting in URI symptoms and in the end pneumonia.  She also became lethargic and lost control of her bowels and urination.

Without knowing if your cat has any internal organ damage, I would be very leery of any home remedies.  Anything you give him, including laxatives, could just add to the toxin build up that his liver, kidneys, or intestines may not be able to process.
Avatar universal
I have given him a very small amount of metamucil. We're still watching and waiting.
Avatar universal
We had a multitude of tests run, and I was told that his internals look great. Which was surprising to me considering how ill he was. We're still hopeful these are just bad side-effects of the infection, but I have just never seen one this bad before.
587315 tn?1333552783
WOW, this sounds downright scary.  I'm so sorry that you and your kitties are going through this.  And, like you, this doesn't sound like something that I've ever seen before.  I've had cats for a very long time, too.  

What strikes me as unusual, is that both your cats are sick and both cats aren't responding to antibiotics.  This has me thinking that maybe the cats were exposed to something poisonous or they're dealing w/ some sort of virus.  I pray that it's a virus, so that it will just run its course.  

If it's some sort of toxin, think about what the cats may have been exposed to.  Any new meds, new treatments like OTC flea products.  Or, any new household cleaning products?

My fingers and toes are crossed for you!

PS-Let us know how the blood work turns out.
Avatar universal

Female is maintaining. She's still sick, but no worse or better. Antibiotics seem to at least be holding this thing at bay. She's due back in to the vet for a check up tomorrow. She hasn't eaten much today, but is still at least interested in slobbering all over anything I give her. I'm pushing fluids with her meds.

Male is about the same as well. His breathing was still labored, but when he released this flood of fecal fluid, not diarrhea, just brown water essentially, I panicked and dragged him into the vet again. With financing, I managed to arrange things in such a way, that we were able to make the trip.  Full blood-work was completed, with perfect results. No major flags, which was expected, but still comforting. His white blood cell count was a tad elevated, which was also expected, considering the virus. He's borderline jaundiced, but not there yet, so we're pushing fluids fluids fluids. As far as the vet can tell he's not getting any worse, but we're all very concerned because he's not getting any better, and we're approaching 10 days of illness now. This hasn't spread to his lungs, which is awesome, but it is easily the worst head cold I have EVER seen. I can't imagine what this could have turned in to had we waited another day to take him in.

The vet is working with me and my financing, and my babies are both going back in tomorrow. He, for all day hospitalization, just like today, and she for her followup.

We are both very hopeful, and I know I pamper my cats, but I'm sure we're quickly approaching the pampering record. I appreciate your thoughts and will be sure to update as this progresses.
587315 tn?1333552783
It's wonderful to hear that your vet is willing to work w/ you.  You've got a vet that truly cares about animals!  =)

Well, I hope both of your kitties start getting better real soon.  Hang in there!!

Avatar universal
So we lost my little man today.... We're hopeful my little Liz will pull through. The vet has already stated he'll come in on his days off to help if we need it. At this point, my little girl is fairing better than her brother, but she's declining quickly. Her path has been more subtle and quiet. Not as much coughing and sneezing, but it's obvious this virus is hitting her hard. Pushing food and fluids, just to keep her strength up. Hope is hard to come by in our house today, but we're trying.

I appreciate the well wishes and kind thoughts.
587315 tn?1333552783
I am so very sorry to hear that you lost the male.  I pray that your female will get better soon and fight her little tail off to beat this thing!


242912 tn?1402543492
I am deeply sorry you lost your boy.  I can imagine how sad your home is this evening.  I will pray for your sweet girl, Liz.  Y'all must be so exhausted.  

495284 tn?1333894042
I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your little man and i will say an extra prayer for your little girl~~~~~~sara
874521 tn?1424116797
OhStarrley I am so very sorry, you tried so hard to save this little fella and we all here had such hope for him, he was loved and well taken care of by a good mommy and will live on in your heart......we are still praying hard for that little girl that she has the strength to fight this....bless you both.
Avatar universal
Hi I am so sorry for your loss.I hope the lil girl is doing well .The thing that i cant understand is why the male wasnt responding to meds unless whatever it is came on very fast & he was just to sick to fight it .My lil girl had all same things going on this week vet said upper resp. infection & it very catchy & deadly if not noticed in time, years ago i lost one of my lil boys from .I hope your lil one is well & i really am sorry for your loss.              hope & prayers
Avatar universal
Thanks everyone for your kind words. They are appreciate greatly.

My Liz is doing well.  At this point, we're just stuck with supportive care. She's drinking water on her own, but not eating. So we're pumping quite a bit of prescription food down her several times a day. This thing is viral, so no meds will treat it; we are however still giving her the antibiotics to prevent bacterial infections from creeping up.

She went in for a followup vet visit last night, and he said whatever we're doing, to keep doing it. She's a lively little squirt, maintaining that bad attitude we love so much. Sleeping a lot still, but she is sick, and an older kitty.

Only new issue at this point is an ulcer that was discovered on her tongue last night, which she is now being treated for. My mother suggested this could be FCV, which I did a lot of research on, and everything seems to fit. Unfortunately, aside from a vaccination that isn't guarenteed, when they get it, all you can do is offer supportive care for the symptoms and try to prevent it from spreading elsewhere in the form of bacterial infections. So we're hopeful what we're doing is working.

I lost my job today, so vet visits have to be kept to a minimum. We'll see how this all pans out. Hope is returning to our house, and the promise of a healthy cat again keeps me going. Again though, we appreciate all your thoughtful messages and prayers. My best to you all.
587315 tn?1333552783
Thanks for the update.  I am very happy to hear that your girl is hanging in there and fighting.  With all the love and support that she's getting, she'll be better in no time.  My thoughts will be with you both as you continue to help Liz to fight.  

Hugs and purrs

PS-Sorry to hear that you lost your job and wishing you good luck in finding another job that you love!
Avatar universal
587315 tn?1333552783
Both your cats had Calcivirus?
Avatar universal
That's correct. From what I understand, it manifests itself as an upper respiratory infection, and then spreads turning into a variety of additional infections. This explains why both cats had the same basic symptoms, but different other issues started creeping up.

Lil man had some odd digestive things come up, that had the vet scratching his head. Liz has only the classic FCV symptoms, upper respiratory, lethargy, and ulcers in the mouth. But it needs to be considered that Lil man was 4 days ill before the visit to the vet. Liz was showing symptoms for only 3 hours before we started her on her brother's antibiotics. So it's likely Lil man developed another infection we just couldn't see with the x-rays and blood-tests.

She's still hanging in there. All attitude, but not eating on her own yet. It's obvious the ulcers are giving her grief. She's getting her strength back though, and we're able to get more food down her.  I'm hopeful that she'll be eating on her own again in the next couple days.

Daddy and Mommy are driving her completely insane, but she's more than comfortable.

Spoke with the vet again yesterday, to confirm some details of FCV in our house. The virus, while insane in the body, is relatively weak outside of it. We have to clean our entire house, ceiling to floor. All furniture, carpet, linens, clothing, etc...  Since my cats were indoor only kitties, they had to have come in contact with a carrier of the virus, which we've identified already.  There is no 100% test to confirm a carrier or the virus. I asked.

Once we can confirm no illness in the house, relapses, etc... for a minimum of one month, we can start considering a new kitty to help fill some of the hole that my Lil man left behind.  I think it will likely be much longer, as I don't want to risk anything at this point.

I had never heard of this virus, but apparently it's really common, and kills 2/3 of the cats that catch it. Please speak with your vet, do your research, and protect your babies. I don't want anyone else to be caught off-guard by this thing.
874521 tn?1424116797
Star, I am so sorry for the loss of your one kitty, but I'm happy to hear Liz is coming alone and beating this terrible virus. Its such an assault on the immune system it will take her awhile to recoup..thanks to your good loving care she will again be a happy healthy kitty.
Many of the posters on this forum have had incidences of FCV or the herpes virus and they all recommend using L-lysine as an immune booster. this can be bought from your Vet or a health foods store...I am sending you a large write up from the Merck veterinary manual abt this disease, on it they also recommend L-lysine at a dosage of 250mg 2-3x a day.
I sure hope she soon feels well enough to get eating on her own....best to you both.♥

Avatar universal
Thanks so much! I will check it out!
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