After all my efforts to protect Oli from the sneezing that’s been going round the adult cats, he started sneezing and snuffling for real this morning, and I’ve had to admit to failure. I was going to say I’m not sure if I’m more angry, irritated or worried, but I think worry is the predominant feeling. He’s so tiny, and so young, and he’s had such a rough start to life. This really isn’t fair.
I did some research on the internet yesterday, and was pretty sure it was calicivirus before I cycled down to the vet today to ask what to do. I didn’t want to take Oli or Zack because it’s highly contagious, and the vet confirmed that if she needs to see them, she will need to do a home visit. She’s given me antibiotics, which will only help if they get a secondary infection because calicivirus (as the name implies) is a virus, and isn’t affected by antibiotics, and also a paste called Flumax that’s supposed to help them fight the virus. I’ve never tried getting tablets down cats since I’ve been on my own, and it’s proving to be a challenge with only one person. If I can’t figure out a fool proof way of getting them to take them, I may have to ask her to come out and show me how to inject them!
Apparently, calicivirus can survive for up to 14 days in the environment, so keeping Oli isolated in the spare room hasn’t helped him at all. Minino was already sneezing before he arrived, and he and the other cats had been playing in the spare room right until I came home with Oli and closed the door. He didn’t have much of a chance of not catching it.
I also think I’ve figured out how it got into the house. If the dogs find a feline visitor in the garden, Rufus tends to chase it, and if he corners it, it will stand its ground and hiss and spit in his face. Then I have to drag Rufus away so it can escape. There are times when Rufus comes in, and he obviously smells fascinating, because Minino will spend ages sniffing him. I can only guess one of those times was after Rufus faced off with an infected cat. And that also explains why Minino got it first.
Sam had cat flu when he was a kitten. He was older than Oli, but he just shrugged it off like it was nothing. Jimmy was very ill with kennel cough and a bad chest infection when he was a tiny puppy, and he got through it. Oli is now a happy, healthy and very lively kitten, so there’s every reason why he should make it through this OK.