Charity warns of cat flu risk

Charity warns of cat flu risk

Cats Protection is urging owners to get their cats vaccinated after two young kittens nearly lost their eyes due to cat flu.

Four-month-old Cherrim and Hattrem arrived at the charity’s Cornwall Adoption Centre with three siblings from the same litter, one of which sadly died.

As a result of cat flu, their eyes were so badly inflamed that it was feared they would have to have them removed. Cherrim needed surgery for entropion, a condition where the eyelids turn inwards forcing the eyelashes to push permanently against the eyeball.

Manager of the Cornwall centre, Samantha Lawton, said that many owners aren’t aware that cat flu can be life threatening.

“Hattrem and Cherrim were lucky we got to them in time and their sight was saved. Often it’s too late and the poor cat has to live with only one eye or none at all.”

The signs of cat flu are very similar to a cold or flu in humans, including:

  • runny nose and eyes
  • sneezing
  • dribbling
  • mouth ulcers
  • loss of appetite
  • fever
  • coughing
  • sleeping more than usual
  • sore eyes and eye ulcers

Contact your vet for advice if your cat shows signs of flu.

Vaccination is the best way to protect your cat from flu. Vets recommend that kittens are vaccinated against flu from 8-9 weeks followed by regular booster vaccinations throughout their life.

“Like humans, cats most likely to be worse affected are the very young, very old or those with a damaged immune system, as they find it more difficult to fight off infections,” said Sarah Elliott, central veterinary officer for Cats Protection.

“Although the symptoms might be similar, humans can’t catch cat flu but it’s highly contagious between cats. So, if you have more than one cat, it’s really important to keep them all vaccinated and, if one of your cats gets flu, make sure you wash the bedding and bowls they use thoroughly to help reduce the chances of spreading the flu between the cats.”

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