Feline distemper, how long does it stay in the home.

I just lost my beloved boy to feline distemper. :( I live in a third world country rife with it, and had taken him in as a feral kitten. He had not been immunized but was neutered.

He began getting sick with a cough, and what appeared to be a sore throat. He had a croak instead of a meow for a day. Then he appeared to get better. I kept him in for a week, and seemingly fine, I decided to let him out during the day, again, as I had always done.

He came back a few hours later panting and hot.

The next day he was throwing up yellow froth, stopped eating and was hunched over his water bowl but not drinking. Classic signs of feline distemper.

I took him to the vets and he stayed in an isolation ward for a week, with an iv, vitamins, anti biotics and interferon. But he never began eating again on his own, and along with the throwing up, also began have bloody stools.

He remained alert, and grumpy, until the last day, when he was listless and 'gone'. I cried my eyes out because I knew I was going to lose him.


I have since bleached my floors, thrown out rugs, bedding, feeding bowls and litter trays, and have replaced everything with new.

My existing female cat did not get sick at all. She had been inoculated.

Fast forward a few days and 3 siblings, around 10 months old, were in desperate need to be fostered. They were found 6 months previously, living in the most appalling conditions, and bought back from the brink.

I have taken them in, on the vets advice that I could, because they had both been immunized against feline distemper. It was against my better judgement, given what I have read about the disease, and it's contagious nature. But, there was no choice. These cats faced being put back out on the streets, with wild dogs, and traffic, and many other hazards. And the vet said, it was absolutely fine.

As I said, I bleached everything as much as I could... And replaced anything that he had used.

The thing is... One of them has developed a squeaky meow, a bit of a cough, and is very lethargic, though still eating heartily, and I am now very very worried!!!

Is the anything I can do?
I feel terrible, and would never forgive myself if anything happened to these cats.

Firstly can i say how sorry i am for your recent loss. You did everything you could for him and he was a lucky cat for that reason alone, it just wasn’t mean to be.
It sounds like you have done everything right as regards to cleaning your home etc and taking the advice of the vet before taking these kittens in and that’s all you can do,.

The fact that the kittens are immunized gives them a much better chance of fighting anything off. So on the slight chance that these symptoms showed by your kitten is distemper the vaccination should have provided enough immunity to allow the kittens system to fight off the illness.

Of course it could be something else. It is not unusual for cats to pick up colds etc just like the rest of us.
All you can do is to make sure the kitten gets plenty of fluids to drink and is allowed to sleep somewhere warm and quiet if it wants too.
Keep an eye out for a high temperature or any other signs of failing health such as not eating. And if this happens contact your vet straight away.
But in my experience the body and the immune system is very good at fighting back given time and a little supportive care. Hopefully the kitten was in reasonably good health so is strong enough to fight back.

If the worse does happen and I don’t think it will, please do not blame yourself. You saved these kittens from a life on the streets and goodness knows what horrors. You did everything you could to try and protect them from any illness and you took vet advice. You did everything right.

Hopefully in a few days the kitten will be picking up again.

Best wishes kate

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