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Dr. B.
Dr. B., Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 22616
Experience:  I am a small animal veterinarian with a special interest in cats and am happy to discuss any questions you have.
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My neighbours friend has just got a new kitten which

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My neighbours friend has just got a new kitten which was born with cat flu. Her friend already has 2 other cats both about a year old and these cats have now got the virus. They wont eat, have green gunky eyes, runny noses and are lifeless. My neighbour has spoken to her friend about this and has advised that all 3 cats need to get to a vet urgently but her friend is saying that they will fight off the illness on their own as her mum has cats with cat flu and they are fine!!! I have also seen the 3 cats and it is shocking and upsetting to see them but don't feel I can get involved but then feel really bad that I am allowing the cats to suffer by not doing anything. Can the cats die from this, they have had the cat flue for nearly 2 weeks now?

Hello & welcome, I am Dr. B, a licensed veterinarian and I would like to help you with this situation today.

Unfortunately, if these cats all have green discharge, this tells us that we have a bacterial infection (+/- an underlying viral one) and antibiotics will be indicated. Therefore, despite the new owner's wishes, your neighbor is right about this situation. They need to be seen and treatment dispensed to clear this for them. And while flu is not often fatal, there is serious risk that the eye infection could permanetely damage their eyes. So, much so that it is not uncommon for untreated infections of this nature to lead to ulceration and/or even perforation of the eye (which would then require surgical removal of the remnants of the eye). Furthermore, if they are not eating/drinking properly, we will see weight loss, weakness, and dehydration. And if they were to get to that point, they could die from this.

So, while it is unfortunate that she brought home a kitten that has given a virulent strain of flu to her other cats, she needs to have them seen. Not doing so would constitute cruelty to these cats and she could be reported for this. At the very least, I doubt the rehoming facility that gave her the kitten would be happy to hear that this cat and the others are in this state. Therefore, she needs to be made aware that this is bordering on neglect and she needs to have them seen.

Please take care,

Dr. B.

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Just one last question please. Should the cats also be vaccinated yearly for the cat flu, because yet again my neighbours friend is stating that her mum does not get her cats vaccinated and therefore she feels it is okay not to get her 3 cats vaccinated. The kitchen she has recently come home with is in fact the kitten of one of her mums cats!!

Hi again,

Well, I suppose the situation is not so surprising if the kitten is from a known flu source. (which was a recipe for disaster here). Furthermore, just because her mother failed to provide best care for her cats is not really a valid excuse for these cats to suffer. Ideally, the cats should have all been vaccinated annually from the start. And it is still advisable that this be done to avoid them contracting other strains of the current virus they have or others components of the vaccine.Especially when one considers that these cats are not just poorly now but will be a carrier risk to any other cats in the neighborhood should they be allowed outside.

Take care,
Dr . B.
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