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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I am seeking some opinions and advice right now. I am not a cat owner at the moment, but I was hoping to be one by the beginning of December with the purchase of two adorable Sphynx kittens. I found a new but thorough breeder that was local, had all the appropriate paperwork, and visited her cattery numerous times. Everything is and was great, I adore her and think she is fantastic. She breeds not as her main source of income but more of as a hobby and is very responsible and easy to work with. I am really excited to get kittens from her but an unexpected hitch popped up this week.

I got an email from her saying that the entire litter and the mother were terribly ill, vomiting and having diarrhea, and wouldn't eat. The kittens are just about nine weeks old and the heaviest weighed 2 pounds before being sick. They don't have a lot of wiggle room as far as weight loss goes. The breeder says she has been at the vet and force feeding them and would keep everyone posted. A few days later, I got the email with the diagnosis: clostridium and feline coronavirus. Clostridium is being treated, obviously the coronavirus is untreatable.

They are not out of the woods yet but are doing better, but I wanted to ask a few questions on the assumption that they survive. Thinking that they don't breaks my heart!

What is the reality of living with two kittens that have the coronavirus. I know that there is a small chance it will turn into FIP especially because they are so young. But what is the coronavirus like if they recover from this bout? Will they be prone to being sick for the rest of their lives or will they just be apparently-healthy carriers? I know there is no treatment, but what sort of costs will be incurred throughout these first few years? And quality of life, will they potentially be okay? Anything you have to share about the health of a cat with coronavirus and whatever can be done to make it better I would appreciate. Also, any risks with having two cats together that are both carriers? Can they reinfect each other?

Emotional and health part aside, my other concern is unfortunately financial. While I am quite able to afford these two kittens, they are not cheap but I have saved because they are exactly what I have wanted, I am wondering would it be wrong of me to ask the breeder to dramatically discount them because of this infection and their chances of dying? I want to make it work because I love these kittens and I don't want to give up on them but I also, from a trying to be practical side, don't want to pay breed price (not going to say how much, but they are very expensive) for sick kittens. Especially if I will be paying more in vet bills later. Is that wrong of me? I have already paid a deposit of $300 on each cat, would it be realistic to just ask them for that and waive me right to a refund if they do die within the first year?

Or am I blowing this way out of proportion and if they recover from this initial bought of coronavirus they will be just fine? How bad is this diagnosis? I called my vet and I am just waiting for her to call me back to get a clinical opinion but any advice, thoughts, and past experiences would be appreciated!

If all goes well, the kittens will be with me in a little over four weeks...
 

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I don't have any experience with FIP, but from what I read, I wouldn't suggest you get those kittens anyway. First, I wonder how the mother cat get the virus? Good breeders should have all their kings and queens checked for FIV, FIP, FeLv. Something is wrong with this breeder's practice.

Second, as you mentioned that you do not have a big saving currently. For sure you can try to bargain for a discount, but those few hundred bucks are definitely not enough to treat your kittens for FIP. You many end up bankrupted and still end up with two cats pass away at young age. It will be especially heartbreaking when you have bonded with them.

So if I may suggest, you may want to ask the deposit back because of this event. If the breeder insist to not giving you back, then pass on to the next litter, and make sure the kitten are checked against all deseases (by the breeder's vet, because that's not what you suppose to pay) before you take them home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Oops, I didn't make things clear! Let me clarify.

First, it is not FIP yet but just coronavirus. The mother cat was tested but tested negative, which I guess is possible. I have seen the paperwork from the vet confirming this.

Second, money is not the issue. I was saying that I have saved for these cats because they are what I wanted. When I said my concern is financial, I was saying that I did not feel the cats were worth the price I was originally going to pay for them especially because they are now sick. I am not bargaining to make it work but to make it realistic. If I am going to incur more in vet fees because of their illness, I think it should come from what I owe the breeder. That is my logic.

She offered the deposit back, that is not an issue. There will be no litters after this, either, because she does not want this to happen again. She is spaying her queen. I am just trying to see if it is possible to make it work with these kittens because I do want to give them a good home and I think I can.
 

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I did notice you mentioned coronavirus not FIP, but as I have no experience with either, I googled :D Most of the artical seems to jump directly from coronavirus into FIP, though I read that many cats are able to fight coronavirus with no problem. It will turn into FIP when the virus mutated. I wonder how does the mutation happen? Is it when the cat has a weak immune system, or it's just pure luck? If you have the answer, great, please educate me :D Otherwise I would suggest talking to your vet about it, because kittens definitely have weaker immune system, so does that mean they have higher chance of getting FIP from coronavirus? I'm also interested to know how coronavirus occur in the first place. I assume it doesn't come from nowhere.

I think the finiancial concern depends on your motive. If you think those kittens are poor (I wonder what the breeder will do if no one want those kittens?) and want to offer them a good home, then I fully support you, and I think asking for a discount is very reasonable, because you are expecting to pay unknown amount of vet bill later. If you just want a worry-free kitten, then getting one less so for saving just a few hundred bucks doesn't seem worth it, in my opinion.

Good luck to you and your kitten! :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
You know about as much as I do, it seems! I am waiting for my vet to call me back to get some medical answers about the coronavirus and FIP. As for where it came from, they do think it came from the mother cat. The vet said that sometimes cats can be carriers but test negative. This is the mother's second litter and the first letter went fine, not sure why it flared up now.

Obviously a worry-free cat would have been an ideal but I have grown very attached to this pair and have met them numerous times. Giving up on them now would break my heart though I realize I need to speak to the vet before I can accept them. I think asking for a discount because realistically they are "damaged." Not doing this to save a few hundred bucks, because I don't think I will be. It will be either going to a breeder or a vet, I just want to explore all my options before I have to consider giving up on these kittens.

Thanks for your replies :)
 

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I can completely understand where you are coming from. I only paid 30.00 for MowMOw's adoption...then within a week had dished out close to 1700.00 for his UTI's, ear infections and I still have to pay an extra 30.00 a month in food because he's allergic to....EVERYTHING.

I COULD have taken him back to the shelter and let them deal with it within the first week when I realized just how much money he was going to cost me but

1) I had made a commitment to care for him for the rest of his life and that is not something I take lightly. I wasn't going to back out because suddenly it was difficult or it might end in tragedy. If that was the case I was going to adore him and make his final days fantastic.

2) I already loved him and he was my li'il buddy.
 

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I hate to say this but unless I was looking specifically for a special needs cat I would not adopt a kitten with known health issues. Not corona virus specifically, but the general unhealthiness that you described.
 

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remember, there is a difference between caring for a sick cat that you already have and adopting a cat that is sick to start with
 

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I can understand what you mean Hal. If it were a kitten I was purchasing I might think it through a little more but I meant that I can understand how she feels about being "attached". I knew pretty quick that I adored MowMow and no matter what the outcome, he was mine and meant to be with me.

I in no way meant that you are a lesser owner for NOT taking the kittens, if that is what you decide to do.
 

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I found lots of sites that pretty much say the same thing

The corona virus is very widespread and highly contageous. However only about 5 % of all cats who have contracted the virus, will actually develop FIP. That gives you an average survival rate of 95%!
Although coronavirus is the cause of FIP, infection with coronavirus does not mean that the cat will go on to develop FIP. In comparison to the number of cats infected with the virus, the number that develop FIP is very small. It is only when the virus mutates that FIP may develop.
These coronavirus-specific antibodies are present in 80-90% of cats in catteries, and in 10-50% of cats in single-cat households. The presence of antibodies in the blood stream DOES NOT mean that the cat has FIP. Only 5-10% of coronavirus-infected cats develop FIP in a cattery setting, and the incidence is much less in a single-cat household.
Personally, I think if you are willing to take these kittens as-is, she should GIVE them to you and be thankful. Or give you a HUGE discount. Who else is going to adopt them? Yes, they could turn out fine, but there's no guarantee.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks everyone for the comments. There is indeed a difference between caring for a sick cat one owns and adopting a cat that is knowingly sick. I am trying to balance the emotional and logical reactions to making that decision at the moment.

But I wanted to give a quick update. I spoke to my vet and he did not seem overly concerned. Obviously, he was concerned about how severe their flu was, especially because they are already so small, but he explained that the coronavirus is a broad category and only rarely is FIP. The flu they are having, if it is FIP, they will not survive until when I would be able to get them. If this is just another flu-like disease caused by a different strain of the corona virus, they should be just fine if they recover well. And then of course, there is the risk that this just the clostridium and that the coronavirus is just dormant in them. That could mean, if it is FIP, they could have a flare up in a few years and there is nothing that can be done about it.

Mostly, though, he seemed positive about it and advised me to go with my gut. He said that the main concern for me should be to see how they overcome this flu. At nine weeks, they have a weak immune system but if it is going to be healthy it should be able to fight this off within a week. We are sitting at about a half a week, maybe slightly more. And the breeder emailed today saying they were doing better, hesitant about food but were eating sardines (the only thing she could tempt them with), but it was still not "all clear" yet. I emailed her this evening, asking her if she would sell them for the deposit I paid for each, about a third of their actual cost, and I would take them as-is, knowing full well what I might get myself into. I know it is a gamble, I know, but I am rooting for them. I will let you know what she says.

As a side note, to help you all understand why I don't want to foresake them. First is, I am truly already attached to them having met them several times and I want to care for them, whatever that means. And second, I was diagnosed with cancer a month ago (very curable, early stage, I'll be just fine). That is when i decided to upgrade from one to two. They are my strength kittens and I would feel awful giving up on them because they are sick. I am sick and it breaks my heart to think about that. I know this is a highly emotional response, so if anyone thinks I am being completely illogical please tell me!

I will keep you all posted, I am crossing my fingers that they rebound completely within a few days!
 

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The vast majority of kittens/cats are exposed to coronavirus at some point in their life...like 80-90%. If these kittens recover and get healthy, the likelihood that they will ever have any residual issues is very small. But also understand that the clostridium is no bargain either...it also can remain dormant in the cat's systems and be triggered by a different type of bacteria, medications or even dietary.

As YingYing indicated, these issues beg the question as to what other issues may be present in this litter. With only two litters worth experience and already throwing in the towel because she's run into issues, I'd really be concerned about other health aspects. I certainly wouldn't pay full price for these kittens based more on the unknown that these two issues raise, rather than having to deal with these specific problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Definitely something that I am taking into consideration as well and good thing to be aware of. So you don't think it was rude of me to ask the breeder for a lower price, right?

Also, this wasn't the breeder's second litter, it was the cat's second litter. And her philosophy was her queens were pets first and she wasn't going to give them away just to breed more so now that she has a carrier for coronavirus, she doesn't want to breed. Yes, she is green, but she has passed every check on that good breeder checklist as far as I can tell. This was just one of those unfortunate things... but, all that aside, you are very right that this does indicate that there could be other problems.

Let's hope it is all nothing! Thanks for the reply.
 

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I understand being smitten by kittens. When I first met the twins, it was an instant connection.

As far as price, I think 2-for-1 would be reasonable. I have no idea how much she's charging you, but you're the one taking the risk here.
 

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As a side note, to help you all understand why I don't want to foresake them. First is, I am truly already attached to them having met them several times and I want to care for them, whatever that means. And second, I was diagnosed with cancer a month ago (very curable, early stage, I'll be just fine). That is when i decided to upgrade from one to two. They are my strength kittens and I would feel awful giving up on them because they are sick. I am sick and it breaks my heart to think about that. I know this is a highly emotional response, so if anyone thinks I am being completely illogical please tell me!
No you are not being illogical. I would do the exact same thing. You are just doing what your heart tells you to do, and that doesn't need logic or justifications :wink Best of lucks with your treatment :)

Good luck, I'll be looking forward to hearing from you about the kitties and the breeder's answer about the "discount".
Paws crossed!
 
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