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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello! I am new to fostering kittens... and dealing with very young kittens.

A friend of mine visited the county shelter the other day and saw a little girl (not even 2lb) who was scheduled to be euthanized the nest day. She wanted to adopt her but because she is under 2lb she couldnt adopt, she would have to foster. Which she was more than willing to do. However - she lives outside of THAT county and so they would not allow her to. The reasoning makes sense, I guess they have had people "foster" out unaltered pets and just never hear from them again and because of jurisdiction issues the couldnt do anything about it. ANYWAYS! I am telling you all this because I DO live in the right county and so I am now fostering her and will adopt her when she is able. Of course I am doing this for my friend - I will give her to her when I am done. But I am not telling the shelter that because it may only complicate things further and I don't want to make them mad or anything. We just couldn't let her die without ever trying to save her. I will do everything I am supposed to. And when my part is done, I will hand her over. I know my friend will provide a great home so it's not a concern.

So to the real questions - the kitten was 1.9 lb when she came to the shelter on the 16th. Today, 9 days later she is only 1.5lb. Now it is obvious to me that she has/had worms. I am uncertain if they gave her dewormer. But worms are a factor. But also I believe she has a URI. She was at the clinic today so I am just not sure why they didn't send me home with meds or anything? What should I do? I fed her right when I got her home. I force fed wet food. She just looked at the food with no interest so I didn't even hesitate to make her eat. I expected I might have to.

So anyways I got her to eat a small amount of wet food. What else should I do? Anything in particular? She is in there with a little bed, litter box, food both wet and dry and water. She is in the bathroom because I have 5 personal cats. I even went so far as putting a blanket at the base of the door to attempt to block any contact. I DO NOT want to get my cats sick. Any other suggestions for this??!?

Please give me any input you have. I don't know much about this girl's health. And they weren't very helpful in this area at all. Her eyes are clear... but I do notice a cough. No sneezing (yet).
 

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What kind of litter are you using? The dust from the litter may be causing it or it could be allergies. It's springtime and she's in a new environment, which could be affecting her allergies. Some URIs don't get serious enough to treat with antibiotics, but if it gets serious, she'll need them. If she's been at the animal shelter, she may have underlying problems you're not aware of that could be causing it too.

Taking her to the vet is probably your best bet to get a clear answer on what is wrong and how to treat it.

Here are a few guides on how to help a kitty with a uri: catchannel, suite101, dr. schoen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I am only a foster right now - if I take her to the vet, it will be the Animal Services clinic - which I am free to do. However I doubt they even gave her wormer! And they barely told me anything! Like if she had a URI, if she had worms.... nada. They just said here she is, bring her back in 2 weeks for a re-check.
 

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You could buy the dewormer and do it yourself. It's often sold at pet shops, but if she is sick, you shouldn't immediately. One way to check and see if she has a URI is to check her gums. If they are white or light pink, it means something is wrong. If you press on them and the color comes back slowly, then she likely has it. Other than that, it could just be allergies. Or she could have asthma. Does she play or otherwise act like a normal cat? Her eyes are clear but is there any discharge? Clear discharge could be something too. Does the cough sound wet or dry?
 

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Maybe giving her some kitten milk replacement would be a good idea, considering her weight and condition. I hope it's warm enough in the bathroom. The cough doesn't have to mean it's URI, maybe the little thing has a heart condition :/ I am sure she is old enough to be dewormed, I used Drontal Cat with great success on my kittens (only 1/4 of the tablet if they weigh 2 pounds and less, I am sure you can get it online very cheap)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I have Drontal at home and I gave it to her yesterday. Her eyes were clear as far as I could tell while at the shelter yesterday but today looks like she has some discharge - and it is clear. I already wrote the shelter who should contact me asap.... she told me to call them with any concerns and I could bring her in. I guess I am just a little annoyed they didn't send me home with anything and I didn't feel like they did anything at all. But oh well. This morning she is out of her box and walking around but every other minute she stops and attempts to hack, like she is going to vomit but nothing comes up. The poor girl is skin and bones. She hasn't touched her food so I have made her eat 2x now.
Do you think the bathroom is cold? I put a towel in her kitty bed which is where she curls up most of the time.
 

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If she is that thin she has no fat to keep her warm and will feel chilled, especially if she's not eating much. Remember cat's have a higher body temp than people (normal is 100.5F to 102.5F), so a heating pad on "low" or hot water bottle covered with a towel or blanket to keep her body temp stable. If she's eating so little that will also make her feel cold. If the pad's too hot she will likely move off of it herself, unless she is very weak. It's important too that the food you feed her is warm and not cold. A gel supplement such as "Nutripet" (available from a vet) is good when a cat is not wanting to each much.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Thanks for all your help. The vet today told me she suspects FIP which is not curable and recommends euthanasia. I read about it online and it certainly sounds right on the money.

I am giving her one more night... which she will spend with the girl who was supposed to own her in the end... so that she has a say but I am pretty much positive tomorrow night we will take her in to be PTS :(
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Okay..... this morning was my "final test"... and she is eating and acting happy!! Now what??
FIP can't be proven by test so the vet COULD be wrong but even I thought it really sounded like it fit.
I am going to give her more time and see if this improvement is a fluke or she really is getting better. I am hopeful but don't want to get my hopes too high knowing what I know.
 

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Have you examined her poop, were there any worms in it? Sometimes when infestation is really bad deworming can actually make a kitten sick, so assuming they dewormed her in the shelter (if there were no worms in her poop after you'd given her Drontal), maybe that was what was making her sick. But you will see in time I guess, good luck!
 

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Malnourished kittens can have dramatic swings in appetite and vigor while their bodies are adjusting to proper nutrition, so I'm not surprised at your kitten's behavior. When I rescued two very young (about 5 week old), starving kittens two years ago, they made me crazy for the first few weeks. First they'd eat like gangbusters and act happy and healthy, then the next day I'd have to syringe feed them and they'd be acting sickly with diarrhea and no energy. Then the next day one of them would be healthy and one would be sick, then the next day they'd swap. It was enough to make me want to tear my hair out. I sprinkled a little acidophilus (probiotic) into their food every day to try to help normalize their digestive systems, but what really seemed to help them turn the corner was when I transitioned them to a mostly raw meat diet (muscle meat, organs, and edible bone).

Don't be surprised or discouraged if your kitten continues to have up and down days for a while. It takes a while for a baby's body to recover from malnutrition. Just feed very high quality, meat-based foods (avoid ingredients such as grains and high-carb fruits or vegetables) and NO dairy (kitten milk replacer is fine, but stay away from anything made from cow's milk).

My vet mentioned FIP as a possibility with my starving kits, as well, but it wasn't an accurate diagnosis. Don't quit on your baby. She may just need time to recover from her previously lacking care.

Laurie
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Yesterday when I decided not to give up, they sent me home with antbiotics and nutri-cal. So she will be getting enough calories. I hope she continues to go up. But yes I do know they can have swings like this which is why I am trying to remain realistic. If at any point in time I feel she is suffering, I will take her in.
 

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there is a blood test to check for coronavirus antibodies and elevated protein levels. coronavirus can mutate into Feline Infectious Peritonitis Virus... which can cause FIP. also, with FIP, the kittens abdomen would probably be distended or hardened from fluid accumulation. the abdominal fluid (or even chest fluid) can be tested to differentiate FIP fluid from another type of fluid. not exactly sure how this works, but can be very accurate. it is called a Rivalta Test.

i hope the kitten continues to get better. i am glad you decided to give her more time. this may be bad to say... sometimes shelters view euthanasia as more cost effect than on-going tests and treatment. it is not right, in my opinion, but unfortunately it does happen.

i have a kitten i found a few weeks ago who i have to syringe feed. she isn't gaining much weight and is smaller than the other kittens. adter seeing the vet, i found out she was malnourished and severely dehydrated with a URI. after IV fluids and antibiotics, she is a little better. she is more active than being interested in eating...so she is still being syringe fed. the vet assured me she did not have any fatal or serious illness/disease. the antibiotics and nutri-cal will hopefully help the little girl get better and stronger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
She is running around, playing, eating.... all of that !!
But her breathing is still rough.
Does anyone know how FIP works?? Do they last long? Because with this amazing improvement I don't know what to expect...
 
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