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Dr. Deb
Dr. Deb, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 9964
Experience:  I have been a practicing veterinarian for over 30 years.
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I found a kitten under my back porch a few days ago, and she

Customer Question

I found a kitten under my back porch a few days ago, and she was being harassed by my dog, so we decided to wait until we got back home later in the evening to check on her again. But she was WAITING for us on the front porch when we got home. From there, we put her in a carrier (to try and keep her from possibly running out into the road) and she's been eating wet cat food and drinking water. She appears to be about 5-6 weeks old, and can use the restroom on her own. However, she has a few strange mannerisms that worry me. She has a very unsteady walk, and frequently falls over. Also, she recently started doing this thing where she will come towards me, and then sprint as fast as she can in the other direction. I would even go as far as to say she seems disoriented at times. These, along with the fact that she was abandoned, make me worry she'll die soon. Is it worth taking her to an animal shelter, or should I just let her live out her last few days with us?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

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Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Zelda hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can./* Style Definitions */
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I share your concern for Zelda that she has balance issues and acts disoriented. I also think it's prudent of you to prevent contact with your other cats (although the dog isn't likely to be at risk). But, it's very kind of you to help her, if you can.

There are a few possible explanations for the symptoms you're seeing in a kitten this young:

1. Viral diseases such as Leukemia or Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP)...obviously none of these diseases would be good ones to have and will ultimately prove fatal for her, unfortunately.

2. Toxoplasmosis which is more commonly seen in kittens than adults.
Neurologic signs are often the only signs seen in this disease.

Clindamycin is the treatment of choice and many kittens can respond very well within even just a few days.

3. Birth defects involving the brain which is just now catching up with her.
4. Fungal infection such as Cryptococcus is also a possibility but much depends on where you live as to whether it is commonly seen. I don't see this sort of problem where I practice, thank goodness!
5. Panleukopenia which is a viral disease but most kittens also have diarrhea and are pretty sick.

6. Meningitis which is going to be difficult to prove.

7. Toxins/poisons. If she got into something, then her symptoms should slowly improve or resolve.

It might be worth a call to the animal shelter for their advice. They might be able to test her for Leukemia and possibly dispense antibiotics (Clindamycin) although I know that not every shelter has a vet on staff.

I might see how things go over the next few days. If her condition worsens, then she's much better with you than at a shelter. But if she improves or stabilizes, then you may have to decide if you're going to keep her or not.

I hope this helps although, again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb

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Expert:  Dr. Deb replied 1 year ago.

I seem to be having problems with the site for some reason. Let me see if I can repost my answer without the nonsense text which makes it difficult to read. My apologies if I can't improve the situation.

Hello, I'm Dr. Deb.

I recently came online and see that your question about Zelda hasn't been answered.I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response, but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.

I share your concern for Zelda that she has balance issues and acts disoriented. I also think it's prudent of you to prevent contact with your other cats (although the dog isn't likely to be at risk). But, it's very kind of you to help her, if you can.

There are a few possible explanations for the symptoms you're seeing in a kitten this young:

1. Viral diseases such as Leukemia or Feline Infectious Peritonitis(FIP)...obviously none of these diseases would be good ones to have and will ultimately prove fatal for her, unfortunately.

2. Toxoplasmosis which is more commonly seen in kittens than adults.
Neurologic signs are often the only signs seen in this disease.

Clindamycin is the treatment of choice and many kittens can respond very well within even just a few days.

3. Birth defects involving the brain which is just now catching up with her.
4. Fungal infection such as Cryptococcus is also a possibility but much depends on where you live as to whether it is commonly seen. I don't see this sort of problem where I practice, thank goodness!
5. Panleukopenia which is a viral disease but most kittens also have diarrhea and are pretty sick.

6. Meningitis which is going to be difficult to prove.

7. Toxins/poisons. If she got into something, then her symptoms should slowly improve or resolve.

It might be worth a call to the animal shelter for their advice. They might be able to test her for Leukemia and possibly dispense antibiotics (Clindamycin)although I know that not every shelter has a vet on staff.

I might see how things go over the next few days. If her condition worsens,then she's much better with you than at a shelter. But if she improves or stabilizes, then you may have to decide if you're going to keep her or not.

I hope this helps although, again, my apologies for the delayed reply. Deb