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Dr. Brian
Dr. Brian, Cat Veterinarian
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 1231
Experience:  34 years in private practice, 2008 WA State Vet of the Year
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Should I adopt a cat with calicvirus from the Humane Society

Resolved Question:

Hi, I hope you can help me. I am looking into adopting a cat for the humane society. I have two other healthy cats at home, I found out that the shelter cat might have Calicivirus. I took her to the vet and almost took her home but the vet told me that I need to get my other two cats vaccinated and wait 10 days to bring her home. I do not want my other to cats sick, but do not want this kitty to loose a chance at a home. My two cats at home have been vaccinated at one time, but it has been years. They are indoor only. My one cat is around 9 years old and the other is 15-17 years old. I noticed online that even if I get them vaccinated they can still get sick. My old cat that passed had some type of life long virus but my other cats never got it. I really like the kitty that is at the humane society, I spent the day with her and she was great. Should I adopt her? Will my other two senior cats be at risk even if I vaccinate them?   
The shelter cat symptoms- sneezing and wispy breathing.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 7 years ago.

Upper respiratory viruses are contagious between cats and spread by sneezing. Once recovered about 80-90% of cats will harbor the virus in their body and may break out with an infection if stressed, even without another exposure. Fortunately most cats are able to recover from the infection. The vaccinations help p[revent the disease and make infections less severe and shorter even if not prevented.
I see a large percentage of shelter animals come home with respiratory infections, some pass them to other cats in the household, but I would not advise against adopting this cat over a respiratory infection. If it is a great cat take it to your vet immediately to get started on any needed medications. Isolate it a much as possible from your other cats. Update your current cat's vaccines but know that may not prevent this disease.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Dr. Brian,

My vet told me to get my other cats up to date on shots wait 10 days and then bring the other cat home. The cat that has upper r, has been an antiobiotics but is a little stressed and is sneezing still. I am just concerned about my elderly cat (16 years) getting this even if I vaccinate him. I just lost my other elderly cat a month ago and a little concerned. I have a small place and can not seperate them.
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 7 years ago.
Certainly to vaccinate and wait is best but will the shelter keep this cat for you for that long? Yes, your older cat will be at risk and if he gets it you will have to be more aggressive in treating it due to his age. Only you can decide if that risk is worth adding this cat to your household.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Thank you for the advice, the cat I am looking into adopting is at a no kill shelter and has been there for 2 years. She is very sweet and yes they are holding her for me. I will have to talk this over with my husband and then decide. In the mean time I am going to get my cats up to date with shots.

thanks for your advice
Expert:  Dr. Brian replied 7 years ago.
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