View Full Version : I think my cat is dieing.

07-10-2006, 08:46 AM
Alright, there is some kind of something "going around" around here and it's claiming soo many cat lives that it's just ridiculous. My mom's cat died of it last year, my neighbors cat is dieing of it now and I think my male cat might be too. And Animal Control tells me they are seeing a lot of it in the last 6 months. But it doesn't seem to be any kind of "airborne" disease because my female cat is fine, my mom's other cat is fine and so is my neighbor's other cat.

It basically appears to be a slow-moving Parvo (but in cats). The cats are "normal" through the entire illness. Eating, sleeping, playing. My mother's cat (6) was a very fat cat her entire life. Last year she began throwing up after she ate.....she always ate but always threw up after eating. My Joey has started doing the same thing. Within 2 months she had lost all her body fat and was nothing but skin and bone. Her hair began to fall out and she was getting sores on her body--they looked like bed sores and were most definately from laying down (from being no "cushion" between the bone and skin). It got to where she couldn't control her bowel movements anymore (which was a very runny substance). One morning, she ate her breakfast, went out onto the porch like she did every morning, slipped into a coma and died a couple hours later.

My mother spent nearly a thousand dollars on tests. They tested for diabetes, kidney failure, heartworm, worms, thyroid, posions in the blood. Did x-rays to check for anything lodged in her throat or in her guts somewhere, checked for tumors. They even tested her for Parvo. You name it, she had it tested. They even treated the cat for a majority of these--even going through heartworm treatement twice (even though the test was negative).

This was last November that Fatty Cat died. Since then, there have been 97 reported cases of this similar thing. And it's gotten to where many vets aren't charging for a lot of the tests because at this point they need to know what it is to be able to treat it. So because a lot of people won't come in knowing they are gonna pay several hundreds of dollars the vets are offering the tests free of charge in hopes more people bring their cats in and raise the chance the vets will find what's going on. But so far, nothing.

And now my poor Joey is sick. He has lost a ton of weight already and it's only been about a month. I had assumed it was worms because he did have fleas really bad. He's still eating a ton, the two of my cats eat a 5 lb bag in two weeks. He's still playful, wants his love--still walking and talking. But getting skinnier and skinnier with each passing day. He's had a fecal test every week for a month now, negative. Heartworm test, negative. Diabetes and thyroid--normal. X-rays were clean.

My neighbors cat is at the same point my mom's cat was before she passed.....the "bed sores" from bone rubbing skin contact.

Let's see.......our cats have never been together. My mom's cat died about 6 months before I got my cat. They don't eat the same food. My mom's cat was inside/outside, my neighbors is outside and my Joey is inside. They don't see the same vet. My mother and I don't even live in the same neighborhood and the animal shelter, who has seen the majority of these cases, are picking these cats up from all over town at all different ages and bringing them in with this disease. We all use different flea/tick meds. My mom's cat was spayed. My Joey isn't neutered and my neighbors female is spayed.

My mom's other cat is spayed, no sign of illness. My female is spayed, no illness. My neighbors male is neutered, no illness.

We're at a loss. Anyone have any ideas? Suggestions? Is there some new disease that we haven't heard about yet?

07-10-2006, 09:00 AM
Sounds like feline lukimia to me, but don't quote me. Are you sure your cat hasen't been around other cats that may have bitten him? Do you know if that have tested for feline luk in your area? I contacted a lady who runs cat rescue up here and hopefully she will drop in and give her two cents, shes seen alot with her cats and she might have an idea on something to try. The only other thing I can think of is distemper but that is rare to nonexistant in adult cats, so I'm not so sure about that one.

07-10-2006, 09:40 AM
Woms, lukemia and kidney/liver failure (from posioning) were the first things they tested for. And through the course of it, they re-tested a lot of things. Like I said, my moms' cat in a 4 month period did heartworm treatment twice even though the test was negative. My Joey has been on a multi-dewormer for 5 weeks now but continues to lose weight so rapidly it seems almost noticeable every morning. The necropsy report said the cat starved to death. There was no follow-up on it because why would she spend near a thousand dollars trying to diagnose her cat? You know? She didn't starve to death, and neither is Joey, but something is causing a similar response.

At this point, the ONLY thing the 3 cats have in common is their size. All three were at some point fat cats (like Garfield).

Do cats get Parvo? I mean, could it possibly be some feline Parvo strain? This all started after Katrina, maybe something washed on shore?

tigger the turtle
07-10-2006, 10:05 AM
Have the three cats ever been together?

07-10-2006, 11:05 AM
Like I said, my mom's cat died at least 6 months before I got mine. My cat is strictly inside--never been outside. And we live quite aways from my mom so her cat did not come over here to hang out with my neighbor's cat. And like I said, there are near 100 cases of this in the last 6 months; cats being picked up all over the city and out in the country.

07-10-2006, 12:53 PM
Yes cats can get Parvo. Shana is going to drop in and drop a few suggestions she might hit on something you haven't tried yet, so stay tuned and I hope you and your kitty get through this.

07-10-2006, 01:12 PM
Hi there.

It sounds like feline leukemia or FIV (feline Aids) but if the cats haven't been in contact with each other, ever, that would be weird. Feline Leukemia is passed mainly by saliva. This definitely sounds like a wasting disease like one of the immunodefinicincy viruses. Very strange. I guess there is the slight possibility that these cats were feline leukemia positive when you got them. Do you know where they came from? Were they strays? Were the moms vaccinated? I don't put a whole lot of faith in the fact the feline leukemia tests were ngative because there are a LOT of false negatives with these tests. However it would be odd for all of the cats who have died to test negative. There is a vaccine asgainst it but it is not given routinely with the yearly vaccines.

Feline Leukemia mirrors the human HIV virus. The virus itself causes no symptoms, but makes the immune system low and makes the cat prone to all sorts of infections and other viruses. It is the most common cause of cancer in cats, it may cause blood disorders, and it can cause immune deficiency that hinders the cat's ability to protect itself against other infections. The same bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi that may be found in the everyday environment—where they usually do not affect healthy animals—can cause severe illness in those with weakened immune systems. It is these infections that usually end up killing the cat.

The virus is in very high quantities in saliva and nasal secretions, but also in urine, feces, and milk from infected cats. Cat-to-cat transfer of virus may occur from a bite wound, during mutual grooming, and (though rarely) through the shared use of litter boxes and feeding dishes. Transmission can also take place from an infected mother cat to her kittens, either before they are born or while they are nursing.

During the early stages of infection, it is common for cats to exhibit no symptoms at all. And some cats never show signs. The thing is even if a cat shows no signs it can still be passing the virus around.

Usually over time—weeks, months, or even years—the cat's health may progressively deteriorate or be characterized by recurrent illness interspersed with periods of relative health. Signs can include: Loss of appetite, slow but progressive weight loss, followed by severe wasting of the body late in the disease process, Poor coat condition, Enlarged lymph nodes, Persistent fever, Pale gums and other mucus membranes, Inflammation of the gums and mouth, sores in the mouth, Infections of the skin, urinary bladder, and respiratory viruses, Persistent diarrhea,
Seizures, behavior changes, and other neurological disorders, A variety of eye conditions. And these can be chronic, meaning they always have a low grade, mild type of problem, or acute where they come on quickly and severely.

The other thing I can think of is Feline distemper, also called Panleukopenia. Its also called feline distemper, infectious enteritis, cat fever, cat typhoid, and several others including feline Parvo. It's caused by a virus very similar to the one that causes parvovirus disease in dogs. However, cats are given a vaccine against this with the yearly shots so if the cats werew vaccinated this is highly unlikely the cause of the illness.

I had a bunch of kittens at our rescue get what we assumed was panleuk last summer. They would be fine, happy, playing, except they were losing weight and had diarrhea. Then one day they would be lethargic, then they would be dying the next day. It was horrible. The thing with this is that it usually doesn't last very long, it kills them quickly. The ones we saved we managed to keep going with antibiotics to stop the diarrhea, we had to give them IV fluids under the skin of their neck, a high fat/protein soft cat food, and just a lot of TLC.

There is no specific test for distemper/panleukopenia. Sometimes it can be found in the feces of infected cats but not always. Other than going by the symptoms there is no way to tell for sure that is what it is.
It tends to invade the digestive system, bone marrow (which makes blood cells), lymph tissue and developing nervous system.

The first signs of distemper/panleukopenia can be depression, loss of appetite, high fever, vomiting, dehydration. It can also cause seizures. Usually thought it will cause death pretty quickly, sometimes within hours. Normally, it will go on for three or four days after the first symptoms. Other signs in later stages may be diarrhea, anemia (low blood), and persistent vomiting. After exposure to the virus, many of the cat's cells are destroyed. This cell loss makes the cat more susceptible to other complications and bacterial infections.

It is usually passed from cat to cat by direct contact. Infection occurs when contact is made with the blood, urine, fecal material, nasal secretions, and even fleas of infected cats. It would be possible but not really likely to pass the virus along by petting or caring for another cat that had it, getting the virus on your hands and then petting/caring for another cat. The virus is very stable. It is resistant to many chemicals and may remain infectious at room temperature for as long as one year. contact with a bleach solution for 10 minutes will inactivate the virus, so basically you have to wash down anywhere the cat has been with bleach. As well Infected cats shed the virus in their feces and urine up to 6 weeks after they recover. Short of raising a cat in total isolation, it is nearly impossible to prevent exposure.

Did the vet mention if any of the cats blood tests were abnormal? Did they have anemia, high/low white blood cell count or anything? With panleuk white blood cells usually fall very low. Sometimes the platelets, which clot the blood, will be low too. As well there are some lymph nodes that can be enlarged, normally the ones in the abdomen, and when the vet feels their belly it will be tender. Sometimes the intestined will feel a bit thickened.

Treatment is limited to supportive therapy like Iv fluids etc to help gain and retain sufficient strength to combat the virus with its own immune system. Blood transfusions may be given to severely affected cats. Medications would be given to stop the vomiting, and diarrhea. Antibiotics don't help with the virus itself but may be given to protect the sick cat from developing a bacterial infection.

But this illness that you describe just doesn't quite seem to fit this 100%. It usually acts pretty fast. It may be that because these cats were big, they had more reserve and were able to fight the virus off longer than most so thats why it lasted longer, but thats just a guess on my part.

Hope this helps a bit, and good luck-keep us posted on your kitty's condition.


07-10-2006, 05:26 PM
The biggest "weird" thing is that there is no loss of appetite. My mom's cat was always eating, lived in the food dish basically. And Joey is always eating too. Everytime we have to give him meds, the first place we look is the food dish (and 99% of the time, he's in the food dish).

It's not a fast moving illness (or whatever it is). It seems to be rather slow, taking several months to finally kill the cat. My mom's cat lasted 7 or 8 months with it. There was nothing to her when she finally passed. And the other cat in the house is still alive and kicking today, showing no signs of anything. They shared everything--food, water, litter box and they groomed eachother. Both of her cats were spoiled....they got anything and everything (including every single vaccination there was).

My female cat is also healthy. No problems out of her. Both her and Joey have gotten all their vaccinations. And so has my neighbor's cat.

As for the cats being picked up by Animal Control, I have no clue anything about them.

I don't know........this is just a mess.