Help a sick stray with respiratory infection - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 08:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
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Help a sick stray with respiratory infection


I am new to this forum. I do not own a cat, I am allergic. Recently a very rough stray has established residency on my porch (it's my fault, I gave it water, food and a box to sleep in on a very cold day. I really don't mind taking care of it and feeding it but I can't let him in. He is very friendly and wants to be pet (although it is very scary to touch him because of all his mangy looking mats). I only scratch his head to make him feel better and run in the house to wash my hand (I know I sound horrible, but he really looks unhealthy.)

The problem I have is that the cat not only is really dirty and roughed up from his outside life, he might also have mange and more importantly an upper respiratory infection. I think he might have mange (I have seen it on a dog before) because he is missing a lot of hair and still losing some by thick matted balls that I find on the porch.

I also think he has an upper respiratory infection or something similar because his eyes have a nasty discharge, his nose is runny and he occasionally sneezes. I have seen it before in a friend's foster cat and it seems very similar. I do not want to take him to animal control because I have experience volunteering and fostering for shelters and I know that animal control and SPCA will most likely put him down automatically. Cats and dogs with contagious infection like him are a danger for their entire population and they are already overloaded with cats so they rarely try to fix the ones that need antibiotics.

There is no No Kill Shelter in the area taking cats at the moment.

I am looking for help in maybe treating the infection using non prescription medical treatment and once he looks better I will try to groom him a bit and take him in to animal control. He will have a better chance of survival.

On Monday I will try to call vets in the area and bargain a 50% deal so I can maybe afford to get him the treatment he needs. Vets are expensive, we have our pets to take care of and my husband refuses to let me pay that much to treat a stray I will not keep.

Counsel of any kind might help.


PS: FYI I live in Morgantown WV.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Milwaukee, WI
Posts: 214
Re: Help a sick stray with respiratory infection

You have such a generous heart! This indeed is a heart-breaking experience especially with the way you describe the cat. As a matter of fact I found an abandoned dog yesterday .

Your plan sounds very thought out. Another option for cheaper medical care are the vet schools. I hear they are quite cheap and I have a friend that takes her pet for even it's regular care. The students are often eager to learn from from animals and they should be supervised by teaching vets anyways. The shelters may also have suggestions for low cost clinics or vets that may be more interested in providing care for smaller fees.

Good luck <333.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-21-2010, 09:12 PM
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Location: northern Minnesota
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Re: Help a sick stray with respiratory infection

Herpesvirus is the most common respiratory disease in cats, and it can also cause eye infections. L-lysine can be helpful in managing herpesvirus, and it won't hurt the cat even if he doesn't have herpes. Just buy 500 mg L-lysine tablets at any drug store, then crush one and mix it into some canned cat food for him every day. If he's badly congested, he may lose interest in eating (cats won't eat what they can't smell). If that should happen, warm the canned food for a few seconds in the microwave to really bring out the aroma. Just be sure not to get it too warm, or he'll reject it because of the heat.

It would also be helpful to offer him canned food soup (canned cat food mixed with warm water). The extra fluid will help flush toxins out of his system and keep him properly hydrated.

Ås far as his coat is concerned, it's quite common for badly matted cats to "go bald" in spots as they pull out their own mats and all of the hair stuck in them. I doubt if the cat has mange (always a possibility, though). It's more likely that he's just pulling the hair out with the mats.

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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-27-2010, 12:01 PM
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Re: Help a sick stray with respiratory infection

First off, don't worry. My cats throughout my life have had upper respiratory infections before. My cats I recently adopted had the illness because of being in a shelter. It's fairly common to adopt cats from a shelter with a little cold. It usually goes away on its own. However, if the cat is young or very old, it will only go away with proper treatment because of the weaker immune system. I bought some antibiotics from a vet which were about $20 plus the regular visit rate. Since you don't want to spend the money, you could always bring kitty to the Humane Society. They will check kitty out and most likely treat her and take her in. (I adopted my most recent cat-family members from the Humane Society in my city) The have nice areas for infected kitties, and, once healthy, will put her in a display to be played with and adopted.
It sounds like she is a long-haired kitty. I've had a long haired cat several years ago. When not properly brushed, the kitty will get bad matts and knots which are actually painful. To solve this problem when cats are not properly cared for by the owner, they will pull out the clumps by scratching and biting. Don't worry about the hair. It is also more likely to clump because she is outside in the dirt and elements.
She sounds like a very friendly kitty, and I hate that she is outside with the risk of starving or getting hit by a car. It would be really nice if you could take her to the Humane Society or find a home for her. There is a section on the forum for homeless kitties. I think it might help best to take her to HS because they will make sure she is updated with vaccinations (especially because she was exposed to diseases outside) and have a routine check-up. They will also care for kitty indoors until she is adopted.
I really hope this helps!
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 02-28-2010, 10:26 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 2
Re: Help a sick stray with respiratory infection


Thanks for your replies. I will definitely try the herpes treatment.

I did take the cat to a vet and organized a fundraiser within my friends to pay for the costs. I am lucky to have generous friends. The bill was $360 (and the vet says he didn't charge us with everything). He has rotten teeth that needed to be pulled out, ticks. He got tested for leukemia and FIV (both negative). He also got vaccinated and neutered.

The humane society here is overloaded with cats. They told us that they would most likely kill her if she was brought in because of her health issues. Since it is the winter, and with the economic troubles, pets are flying everywhere, they just don't have space and are probably trying to save costs by keeping the healthiest, strongest ones.

Anyhow, he is now in the house, they cleaned it up so it is not scary to touch anymore. He doesn't look much better though. He is so skinny and he has soars and scabs.

At the moment, his paws and nose are looking very bad. I don't know what he got himself into, but they are all raw, bloody and swollen. The vet told me to put antibiotic ointment on it, but he licks it off right away... Any thoughts?
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