Weird Question of the Week

  1. .........Does anyone know if cats can get West Nile Virus? And if so, what are the symptoms and the course of the disease?

    My beautiful, blue-eyed, white-and-apricot colored cat, Johnny, passed away early this morning after battling some unknown illness that hit him like a freight train. He'd never been sick a day in his twelve years of life. I'd noticed him playing with, and then eating something on the bedroom floor the other night, but figured it was a dust bunny or some other nonsense. Later that night I woke up to the all-too-familiar sound of a cat retching, turned on the light, and saw Johnny vomiting violently on the floor. He normally does---did---not do that, but I still didn't think much about it until I heard it again...........over and over, all night long.

    Well, as anyone who's ever been owned by a cat knows, they will have a spell of puking that wrings 'em out, but then they get over it and life goes on. Unfortunately, Johnny didn't...........he just kept throwing up until there was nothing left to throw up, and then he threw up some more. No diarrhea, no fever, and evidently very little or no pain---all he did was puke. He finally stopped yesterday, but by then I knew it was too late---he was already dehydrated and cold, and to make a long story short, after meowing a few times, to say good-bye I suppose, he crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

    What I don't understand is why. He was hale and hearty right up until Monday night---there was NO clue anything was wrong with him. I've had cats die of old age, and renal failure was usually the cause; this wasn't it---it happened too fast. I've had cats die from poisonous spider bites, but THAT happened in a matter of hours, not days. However, since we have mosquitoes around our house and West Nile has been found in local critters like horses, I have to wonder if perhaps he ate one that night.....he's an indoor cat, but bugs do get inside. And since cats aren't particular about where their protein comes from, and Johnny would eat anything that wasn't red hot or nailed down...........who knows?

    If any of you knows anything more about this sort of thing in domestic animals, I'd appreciate the info. I'm just a bereaved cat owner who wants something to blame right now, and being a HUMAN nurse, not a veterinarian, I'm nowhere near as conversant with feline ailments. Thanks.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   zooz
    So sorry to hear about your cat.

    My only experience with West Nile infected animals has been with horses. I do know that both cats and dogs can be infected, but it is rare.

    I haven't heard of anyone or anything becoming infected by eating an infected mosquito. Most infections result from having being bitten by an infected mosquito, but cats have been infected in experiments by eating infected mice.

    Most of the signs of WNV that I've observed with equines are neurological, so I'm basing my answer on this. I would think that if your cat was infected and showed any signs at all, it would be along the lines of convulsions, impaired coordination, muscular twitching, depression, etc. I also think there would be a noticeable incubation period; just to give you an idea, for mice it takes 5 days from becoming infected until signs and symptoms become apparent. With all that said, most infections don't cause many, if any, signs or symptoms.

    Again, so sorry for your loss. Have you considered having a necropsy done?
    Last edit by zooz on Sep 28, '07
  4. by   donsterRN
    Oh, Marla, I am so, so very sorry. I don't know anything about WNV and how it affects animals, but I feel so horrible that your Johnny is gone. Sending you gentle hugs, my friend. This is so sad.
  5. by   Spidey's mom
    I've had a couple of cats die the same way . . .I figured they got into something rotten or maybe poisonous. They eat anything.

    Sorry about your kitty.

    steph
  6. by   VivaLasViejas
    Thanks, my friends.

    We're not having anything 'done' posthumously; I'd thought about it, but we decided to simply bury Johnny in our back yard, under the window he used to enjoy looking out of to watch the squirrels and birds. He'd want to be close to us anyway. For twelve years, I never went to sleep without him wrapping himself around my neck, or parking a front paw on my forehead. Lord, I already miss him so much............
  7. by   compassion1
    Marla, I am so very sorry for your loss of your sweet furbaby. I'm so fresh from the loss of my baby that I can empathize so very much. I think it's worse when it's so unexpected. Like Don, I know nothing about WNV just about loss. If you want to PM me just to talk about it I'm here for you. I'll keep you in prayer. Gentle (((hugs)))
    Last edit by compassion1 on Sep 29, '07
  8. by   muffie
    awwwwwwwwwwwwwww marla

    condolences

    i know he had a great life with you
  9. by   leslie :-D
    i'm so sorry about johnny.
    now being the owner of 2 cats (and counting), i'm finding they are unpredictable in many ways, including their health.
    i agree w/muffie...
    that undoubtedly, he had the perfect life with you.
    until you meet again...

    leslie
  10. by   RainDreamer
    Awwww Marla, I'm so sorry to hear this!

    We had a dog that died of valley fever almost a year ago. And another one died just a few months ago, as she was really old. I know it's so hard, as they are a part of your family.

    (((((HUGS)))))
  11. by   VivaLasViejas
    I didn't know animals could get valley fever.........thought it was just a human illness. And I'm sorry about your furbaby too, Rain.

    What is it, I wonder, about losing a pet that brings out the child in us? I've been orphaned for almost 20 years, but yesterday I wanted my mommy! I'm sure it didn't help that this has been a crazy year, or that I had the week from Hell and was overwrought anyway, but geez, I'm turning 49 in three months........

    Many thanks to you all for your support. It does help, you know........today I was able to stand by the grave and talk to Johnny without dissolving in tears. The healing has begun.
  12. by   RainDreamer
    Quote from mjlrn97
    I didn't know animals could get valley fever.........thought it was just a human illness. And I'm sorry about your furbaby too, Rain.

    What is it, I wonder, about losing a pet that brings out the child in us? I've been orphaned for almost 20 years, but yesterday I wanted my mommy! I'm sure it didn't help that this has been a crazy year, or that I had the week from Hell and was overwrought anyway, but geez, I'm turning 49 in three months........

    Many thanks to you all for your support. It does help, you know........today I was able to stand by the grave and talk to Johnny without dissolving in tears. The healing has begun.
    Thanks, Marla :icon_hug:

    It gets better as time goes on, but there's always that place in your heart for them. Sounds like he had a nice life with you all, very well loved indeed.
  13. by   leslie :-D
    i don't know why, but this thread (and marla's reference to wanting your mommy) reminded me of my son's first lesson in mercy...

    josh was around 8 yo, when he came home holding a little bird with its abdominal organs completely eviscerated.
    the resps were probably 100/min...
    i didn't know what to do.
    i called the er of a local animal hospital and demanded to speak to a doctor.
    after sharing my story, the doctor told me to drown the bird...
    that it would be quick, no struggling and most merciful.

    so i filled a freezer storage bag with warm water and submerged the bird.
    he died within seconds.
    it was immediate.
    well, rather than calling for "mommy", i looked down into my son's widened eyes, threw my arms around him and started crying uncontrollably.
    talk about one of life's failed moments as a mother.
    josh held me, not saying a word.
    he just laid his head against my chest.

    we went into the backyard and buried the bird.
    afterwards, we washed up then went into the livingroom.
    he ran out of the room, only to return w/a hairbrush.
    he then proceeded to brush my hair, standing behind me, stroke after stroke after stroke.

    he recently brought up this incident to me, 9 yrs later.
    he told me he understood why i did what i did, even at 8 yo.
    and that it's something he'll remember for the rest of his life:
    even if mom did have a major flub moment.

    thanks for listening.
    i really needed to share the memory.

    leslie
  14. by   CHATSDALE
    we have had a lot of birds die with wnf..maybe a bird got into your house and the cat caught and ate it i don't know if it is passed this way or not
    sorry for your loss

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