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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone,

I posted here awhile back when I decided I was going to adopt. Everyone was very informative and helpful then. I put getting a new kitty on hold for awhile, because it just never felt right. I now am faced with a situation and need some advice.

A week ago, my friend found four stray kittens. He took them to the vet and they were estimated to be 4 weeks old. They were not tested for anything at the vet.

The vet advised my friend to try to keep them together for at least another week, but not to jeopardize them getting good homes. He didn't have much luck with a rescue, and a lot of the shelters around here euthanize young kittens. My friend kept them and has been caring for them around the clock for a week.

He bottle fed them and introduced them to soft food. He (and his dog, who has tried to mother them) have done a great job. However after a week, he's getting exhausted and wants to re-home them within the next week. He is keeping one who really loves his dog. Two already have great homes waiting for them.

He asked me to take one, knowing that I have been wanting to adopt for some time. I really want to take her. She is absolutely beautiful and I'm already in love with this kitten. I already asked for several days off work. I will be able to be home with her for almost a week.

Naturally have a lot of concerns.

My first concern, we have an 11 month old cat. He's my boyfriend's cat. My boyfriend has never vaccinated him for FeLV or FIV because he is inside only and has never been around other cats. However, he would get him vaccinated if we keep the kitten.

How to I handle this? How soon would a vaccine protect him in the event that the kitten is ill? I've also read some things against vaccines, which scares me as well.

2) The kittens are still very young. I would prefer that my friend keep them together longer, but it's not really an option. He's already taken time off work and hasn't gotten any sleep!

They are eating well, relieving themselves in the litter box, and playing actively. Is it dangerous to separate them at 5 weeks?

3) What should I expect when I take the kitten to the vet? I know it's way too early to vaccinate. Should I have the FeLV or FIV test done now? She will be going on Tuesday.

4) How long should the kitten be kept quarantined from our other cat to prevent anything unsafe? She will be staying in our large bathroom, but I would like them to meet (closely supervised) as soon as possible so that they can both adjust. I also wanted socialization for her since she's so young.

I know this might be controversial considering how young the kittens are, but it's really unavoidable. I could use any advice to help me make the best decisions.
 

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It is too soon to vaccinate your kitten. Also s/n a kitten it must be 3 pounds in our part of the country. I’ve had a long discussion about my concerns with vaccinations with my vet. She feels give them the initial round of vaccinations for the first year and then do not give anymore to them. (If it is an indoor only cat, which all of my cats and fosters are) They then have a natural immunity.

Testing for Felv/Fiv even in an older cat isn’t always accurate unless you send a sample to a lab. I had that happen with a cat my sister brought in from out of doors. I took him to be tested when we first brought him in and it came back negative with the in office snap test.

4 years later my vet noticed a round angry red patch on the roof of the cats mouth and we snap tested it again and it came back positive. We send a sample to a lab (in Alabama, no labs locally do the test) to determine if it is indicating a positive from the vaccinations or is it really shedding Felv. Turns out he was Felv positive.

We struggled with should he be put down since he could infect her other cats. We decided not to. We felt he is not a fighter. So there is no passed blood from wounds. It is slim chance it could be gotten from a water bowl. It’s about quality of life. All the cats love each other and if they are happy and well cared for then that is what it is all about. Yes his life could possibly be shorter but he will have the best life a cat could ever have and so will the rest of her cats.

The tests for Felv/Fiv aren’t accurate till after a year old. Don’t waste your money.

I’m sure this kitten will bond with your boy friend’s cat. And he/she will need to learn the ropes from his cat. When I first started fostering I was keeping the kittens away from my personal cats. The vet told me they need to be around older cats otherwise they aren’t taught the cat rules. They become spoiled brats!

Depending on what part of the country you are in .. We have problems with ringworm (not fatal, just a PIA) Guardia, coccidia, URI in the kittens we bring in from outside. All very treatable maladies! These would be the only things I’d look out for.

Make sure your friend emphasized that all the kittens going to new homes be spayed/neutered when they are 3 pounds or he will be caring for another round of kittens. Kittens can get pregnant by 6 months old.

I say go for it and give this little one a home!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks. The kittens will all be spayed/neutered at the appropriate time.

I'm just wondering if we should have our current cat vaccinated for FelV/FIV before we let them meet. Just in case. I would feel terrible if I was responsible for exposing him to this, or for putting the kitten's health in jeopardy.
 

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Has your boyfriend's cat been tested for FIV/FeLV? If he didn't come from a breeder who pays attention to this (has queens and studs tested regularly before mating) then it is just as possible that he could infect the new kitten. Now it's too late but if you knew who was the kittens' mother it would be easiest to have her tested, so you would know if the kitten has some virus or not. I wonder if they were really abandoned or their mother was just away hunting when your friend found them, unfortunately it often happens not just with feral cats but also with wildlife.

FIV vaccine is often considered useless, because the virus is not easily spread (you need deep tissue wounds) and should the cat end up in a shelter it would test false positive for FIV and could be euthanized because of that.

FeLV vaccine on the other hand has been associated with vaccine induced sarcoma (unless you're using the more expensive PureVax brand). I've just read in the vaccination protocol that kittens should be vaccinated at 8 and 12 weeks, and that only FeLV negative cats should be vaccinated - not sure why, maybe because of the sarcoma risk. Adult cats should be vaccinated twice in 3-4 weeks - that means that just one dose of vaccine is sometimes not enough to produce immune response, so let's say you introduced the new kitten 3 weeks after the cat's first shot, it would still be possible for him to get infected. And as others have pointed out, even after enough time has passed, the vaccine does not fully protect every vaccinated cat.

The thing to consider here is the quality of life - I am 100% certain that your cat would be better off with a feline buddy. If you adopted an older cat then you could have it tested first, but your cat is more likely to accept a young kitten than an adult cat.

How about this crazy idea: you vaccinate your cat against FeLV immediately (PureVax recommended), take all 4 kittens from your friend, keep them separate from your cat for 2 months (until your cat has been fully vaccinated and hopefully developed immunity to FeLV), and then introduce the one you want to keep to your cat and rehome the others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
I wondered about the same thing with the mother.

I am at a complete loss here. I would feel terrible if I introduced either one to a horrible disease. No, actually I don't think he's been tested. I think he did the minimum vaccinations because the vet said he seemed healthy, and he was an only cat. If I had known more about it, we would have already had him vaccinated. Either way, he's going to the vet this week to be vaccinated for FelV. We're not doing the FIV.

I really don't know what decision to make. Now that I've learned the possible outcomes it's scary. I'm leaning towards not taking her because of the risks.

Taking all four would not be a possibility for me. I would like to, but realistically that won't work. We already have a full animal house.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I think that my instincts are telling me that I should vaccinate him then wait until we can be sure it has had time to become effective. I'm feeling pretty disappointed as I was pretty excited about a new edition.
 
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