Health condition of cats coming out of the shelter? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 12:36 AM Thread Starter
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Health condition of cats coming out of the shelter?

let's say if i adopt a cat from the local shelter... i know they will be screened by some vet, but are they safe out of the box to my resident cat?

or do you folks still take it to your vet and pay extra $ before introducing it to your resident cat?
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 03:14 AM
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Ohhh, chances are the newly adopted kitty will have fleas, URI, possibly worms, really anything, and all of these things can be transfered to your resident kitty. I highly suggest taking the kitty into the vet and getting screened and before introduction make sure that the newly adopted kitten has been cleared health wise.
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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 08:00 AM
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it depends on the shelter really... I know some shelters that are VERY thorough, but others just want the animals out.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 08:13 AM
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Depends on the shelter. We have lots of long-term residents (6+ months) and low turnover, and so they are usually pretty well-vetted by the time they go home...but even so, Upper Respiratory Infections are very common in all shelter cats, and we recommend an immediate vet visit before introducing the new cat. It's just the smart thing to do. We test for FIV/FeLV, spay/neuter, deworm, treat for fleas and ear mites, and provide a full set of vaccinations for every cat, so best bet is to ask the shelter what they do and what the cat still needs. We also do additional non-emergency work (like dental care) on our long-term residents who need it, as time, money, and the vet's schedule will allow.

Even so, I don't consider any animal to be safe "out of the box," and would highly recommend a vet visit/checkup before introducing any cat to your resident cat.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 09:02 AM
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Belfour came from the shelter with a severe case of Herpes, an Upper Respitory Problem (related to the herpes), worms & he was noticably dirty.
He was vaccinated before we took him home, and he had been on meds for his Herpes, but probably an antibiotic as the technical assistant lady didn't even know what he had. He was de-flead with Advantage, we never saw evidence of fleas, but who knos if he had some. He did have worms which were taken care of with 2 sets of deworming medications.
We were advised to take the cat to the vet within 72 hours of adopting. This was for everyones best intrest. It helps me figure out if my cat will possibly be very sick, and to make sure that if I want I can "return him" (how horrible but obviously there are situations which this occures.).
This is in your best interest especially if you have another pet at home.
With my mice they are all quarentined for atleast 3 weeks before introduction to my mice living at home.
3 weeks would be hard for a cat, but because of that a vet visit would definatly be a good idea.
Belfour wasn't in horrible shape when he came, but he was obviously not given 100% attention, and because of that a lot of illnesses slip through. Not to mention 100s of people come by and hold the cats in the shelter, and then touch another cat without washing their hands.
So there is a high chance of moving bacteria & illnesses to otherwise healthy cats.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 10:38 AM
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Malcolm came from the spcs with a cold, and he had worms too.

Ophie came from her place with worms but nothing elses.

I would say kitties from big shelters have a high chance of having something just because there are so many animals there! Poor kitties
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 11:47 AM
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Yes, I think that cats from high-traffic shelters that euthanize animals when their time is up are probably more likely to need vet care. It's the nature of the beast...if you're only holding cats/dogs for a few days, it's just not feasible to treat/vaccinate them. But if you're dealing with a shelter that regularly provides long-term custodial care to animals (a no-kill or very low-kill shelter), I would expect all the cats to be fully vaccinated, wormed, and tested for FIV/FeLV, as it just improves the health of the shelter population in general (important when you have animals that are with you for months or even years).

As for the URI's (and herpesvirus), they're almost impossible to eliminate in a shelter environment because the quarters are so close and it's just an inherently stressful place to be. Plus, wormers require multiple doses to be effective, so if a cat hasn't been there long, chances are he/she hasn't had the full run of meds and shots yet (doubly true for kittens).

We advise all adopters to isolate the new pet and have a vet visit for new pets within 72 hours, both for the sake of the new pet and resident pets at home.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 12:31 PM
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My kitty came home with a bad case of earmites, had tapeworm (which I didn't find out until a month or so later) and needed to be vaccinated. Luckily, that was it. Nothing major.

But you never know, so I'd take the new one to a vet before making any introductions.

Not to mention a good introduction can take some time anyway, so there's no need to rush things


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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 01:35 PM
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I don't know what your local shelter is like, lapchern, but most of them are run on a shoestring with lots of volunteers of varying degrees of knowledge and competency, and their main goal is to get a home for the animals for the least expense possible. Animal Cops, they ain't!! Usually there is someone on staff who is the most knowledgeable and competent; try to talk to that person, and dont' depend on the volunteers for your information.

Shelters don't typically have a vet on staff, so any vet services they may need are probably donated or reduced fee services from vets who have the time and the inclination to do that sort of thing. I think you want to have your own vet, someone you trust.

Ideally, set up a vet appointment on the way home from the shelter, taking along a fecal sample collected at the shelter for analysis, plus list of any treatments and vaccinations done at the shelter, plus any information on history of the cat. Then isolate at home for as long as it takes to be sure they don't have anything serious communicable.

good luck and please give some deserving kitty a good home!!

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 12-24-2004, 04:42 PM
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My kittens were all in very good health, with minor issues. Mozart had ear mites, and fleas. Kayla had tapeworms. Pixie had no problems. Ginza had an umbilical hernia that required surgery, but I knew that at the shelter and wanted him anyway.

I didn't expose the new kitty straight out of the carrier to the resident cats. I quarantined each new guy for 10 days just to make sure no colds or anything else showed up, and not to spread any possible worms. That's what you should do for any new cat, shelter or not.

Yes, I still took the new kitty to my vet right after adoption, and spent extra money for another complete checkup, and tests, and dewormer. I scheduled the visit for right after I left the shelter with my new kitty, with another follow-up visit 3 weeks later.
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