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Terri, Feline Healthcare Expert
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 32666
Experience:  Expert in feline health and behavior. 20 years experience with cats.
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Last week we brought home a new kitten from our local shelter.

Customer Question

Last week we brought home a new kitten from our local shelter. He came down with typical shelter URI and conjunctivitis and possibly intestinal parasites (were treating all of them now). Suddenly, my 9 year old kitty is not himself. He is lethargic, coughing (maybe twice an hour) and not eating. In reading about his symptoms, it sounds like a heart issue, but awfully coincidental considering we just brought home a new/sick kitten. What can it be?
9 year old kitty is up to date on vaccines and has never had any other health issues. He has shared a bowl with new kitten.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  Terri replied 2 years ago.
I am so sorry your boy is not feeling well. I hope I can ease your mind that this is not a heart issue. It sounds like he picked up cat flu from the kitten. It is an airborne virus analogous to our common cold.Direct contact is not necessary for it to be contagious:
All cats carry upper respiratory virus on their own fur. Cats that live together become immune to the carried strain but as soon as the bacterium is exposed to another cat it will infect them.
Feed him very odorous food like tuna or canned cat food so he can easily smell it and will keep eating.
Drain the water from a can of tuna into a bowl and let him lick it it up for hydration.
Give him a few drops of honey to sooth his throat.
If he does not start eating or feels worse, he should be seen by his vet. He may need a antibiotic to prevent secondary infections.
Please let me know how he is doing. Just press reply and I will be here for you.
Expert:  Terri replied 2 years ago.

I'm just following up on our conversation about your pet. How is everything going?