Monday, October 27, 2014

Disease Monograph: Feline Panleukopenia Virus

This little kitten was brought into our office because he had a poor appetite and a fever. Two days later, he had a severe drop in white blood cell numbers, and we suspected distemper. The next day, he started vomiting and having diarrhea and his parvo test was positive. We placed him on our isolation room on IV fluids and total parenteral nutrition (TPN) - since he wasn't eating and was severely dehydrated, we gave him all his nutrients through IV fluids - Plasmalyte (electrolytes), Procalamine (amino acids) and Intralipids (fats).

Distemper, Panleukopenia, Parvo, Infectious enteritis...whatever you call it, it's not good for cats.
For the purposes of this article, we will refer to this disease as Feline Panleukopenia Virus or FPV.

FPV is a disease that is highly contagious and almost always life-threatening. The virus that causes this disease is from the family Parvoviridae, which is the reason that one of its names is Feline Parvo. Others refer to the disease by some of its symptoms: Panleukopenia (a severe decrease in all types of white blood cells), Infectious enteritis (an inflammation of the intestinal tract that can be passed between cats), or Distemper (symptoms of Canine Distemper - a disease caused by an entirely different virus - are similar to many signs of FPV: fever, vomiting, diarrhea, seizures). The virus is a single strand of DNA inside a virus capsule that is extremely long-lived in the environment. It can survive freezing temperatures, is unaffected by alcohol, iodine, and general disinfectants, and is considered to be ubiquitous - or found everywhere in the environment. Just about the only thing that will destroy FPV is a 10 minute soak in a bleach solution.
Differences in structure in canine vs. feline Parvovirus

In the wild, the bobcat, the raccoon, and members of the Mustelid family (such as mink, skunk and otter) can carry the disease. Among other mammals, some species of monkey are susceptible to FPV. Despite the similar names and symptoms, FPV is not contagious to dogs, nor can cats contract Canine Distemper Virus or Canine Parvo Virus*. In fact, it is suspected by some scientists that Canine Parvo Virus is actually a sub-species of Feline Parvovirus - a mutation of the original, if you will - since some apparently healthy cats shed Canine Parvo Virus in their stool.

*Correction: Canine Parvo virus subtypes have been isolated from both domestic and wild felids, but does not appear to result in the same level of virulence as FPV (the cats are not nearly as sick). However, there is one published case from March 2014 that reports of a cat that was infected with CPV2c that was critically ill with symptoms mimicking FPV. The feline vaccine appears to provide adequate protection from Canine Parvo Virus, but most agree that more research should be done before this presumption is relied upon.


Any unvaccinated cat is at risk for contracting FPV, but those at highest risk are cats that are immunocompromised, such as kittens age 2-6 months, pregnant females, cats with immune-suppressing diseases such as FIV and FeLV, and cats who are being treated with immune-suppressing drugs.

The virus is shed from the body in the stool, vomit, urine, saliva and mucus, and a cat may remain contagious and shedding the virus for at least six weeks following infection. Since the virus is so long-lived, it can be transmitted by handling contaminated items (called "fomites") such as food bowls, towels, and litterboxes, or shoes, clothing and hands that have come into contact with the virus.

Additionally, the virus can be passed from mother to developing kittens, and can be spread by fleas.

Generally, the virus enters the cat through the mouth and then affects the lymph nodes. It takes about 2-7 days for the virus to make its way to the bone marrow and the intestinal tract. In the bone marrow, the virus interferes with cell production, and in the intestinal tract, the virus causes ulceration of the lining of the gut that is in charge of absorbing nutrients and prevents damage to the intestinal wall from digestive acids and bacterial growth. Once the intestinal lining is damaged, the cat is at risk for infection from normal bacterial flora, perforation of the bowel, and may suffer from dehydration, vomiting, diarrhea, and malnutrition, eventually leading to septicemia (severe bacterial infection in the bloodstream) and shock.

Mortality in kittens is 90%, though if the kitten survives 5 days of infection, the chances or survival and recovery begin to improve. If a cat is able to recover from FPV, they maintain lifetime immunity. If a pregnant female is exposed to the virus in early to mid-pregnancy, she will abort the kittens. If exposed during the last 2-3 weeks of pregnancy, the kittens will develop a condition called cerebellar hypoplasia.


FPV affects the rapidly dividing cells in the body, especially the bone marrow, which produces red and white blood cells, and the lining of the gastrointestinal tract (stomach and intestines). Since a lack of white blood cells occurs (a panleukopenia), the cat develops risk for other bacterial and viral infections to occur. A decrease in red blood cells may occur (anemia) and platelet numbers may also decrease (thrombocytopenia). Severe anemia results in a lack of oxygen to the cells of the body, and a lack of platelets can result in clotting problems. If white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets are all decreased, it is called a "pancytopenia" - literally, a lack of all cells in the blood.

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea, especially bloody diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Weight loss
  • Depression
  • Anorexia, loss of appetite
  • Hiding
  • Rough hair coat
  • Anemia
  • Weakness
  • Neurologic signs
  • Shock
  • Abdominal discomfort, bloating, gas
  • Elevated third eyelids


In-hospital Parvo test
Any time that we see a kitten with a fever, vomiting, diarrhea and poor appetite, we will recommend a complete blood count. If the kitten has a low white blood cell count, we will likely recommend a special Parvo test. This test is marketed for dogs for the detection of canine parvo virus, but the feline parvo virus is similar enough that the test is accurate in cats, as well - though vaccination within 5-12 days of the test can occasionally result in a false positive. To run this test, a small amount of fresh stool is collected from the patient.

Additional tests, such as PCR testing and antibody level analysis can also confirm the diagnosis of FPV.

Unfortunately, many kittens will show mild signs of illness, such as fever and depression, before the white blood cells become affected, which can delay the diagnosis of FPV if conservative treatment is chosen over full diagnostic evaluation. If a kitten dies suddenly, a necropsy (the term for an autopsy, when discussing animals), may be recommended to collect samples to test for the virus - especially if there are other kittens in the home.

Because all the symptoms of FPV do not necessarily appear at once, it may be easy to confuse FPV with other conditions, such as poisoning or the ingestion of a foreign body (kittens love to eat toys, strings, hair ties, rubber bands, ear plugs...), Salmonella, Feline Leukemia (FeLV), feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV), feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), and pancreatitis.

Additional testing, such as urinalysis or blood chemistries may be performed to help rule out other diseases and conditions, or to assess the severity of the disease. X-rays may be recommended if blood tests are inconclusive or the cat does not have a known history - such as a stray or recently adopted cat.


There is no definitive cure for this disease, no medication that kills the virus that causes this disease. Cats affected with FPV must have immediate and intensive supportive care to help nourish and protect their bodies while the struggling immune system fights the virus. Since the lining of the intestine is being attacked, and nutrient absorption is decreased, most medications, if not all, will be given by injection - either into the vein (intravenously) or under the skin (subcutaneously). IV fluids will be necessary to protect the cat from severe dehydration due to poor nutrient absorption, lack of food and water intake and fluid loss from severe vomiting and diarrhea - TPN or total parenteral nutrition (IV fats and amino acids) will be administered this way, too, since affected cats are likely to vomit any food or water they eat or drink. Anti-vomiting medications will also likely be given.

Antibiotics may be given to aid the weakened immune system in preventing "opportunistic infections"  - exposure to bacteria that would not affect a normal, healthy cat, but that could be life-threatening to a cat with few white blood cells. In the case of FPV - the biggest concern is exposure to the normal bacteria living in the intestinal tract. As the protective lining of the gut is attacked by the virus, normally "friendly" bacteria may attack the unprotected cells and cause ulceration and eventually perforation of the intestinal wall, allowing bacteria to leak into the abdomen. In severe cases, the cat is given medication to help protect the intestinal lining from damage. Cats with severe depletion of both red and white blood cells (pancytopenia), or severely low blood proteins may require one or more blood or plasma transfusions.

Some suspect that treatment with immune-stimulation medications such as Interferon, or transfusion with antibody-containing serum may aid in fighting infection, but this therapy is not yet confirmed or considered to be routine.

An infected cat should be strictly isolated from other cats to prevent the spread of this extremely contagious disease.

Almost all recognized cases of FPV require hospitalization.


If a cat in your home has been diagnosed with FPV, closely observe other cats in the home for signs of illness. You can use a bleach solution to clean any potentially contaminated toys, food dishes, beds, and litterboxes, but the safest way to ensure the virus has been eliminated from your home is to replace all possibly infected belongings with new ones. If your cat recovers from FPV infection, he or she will have lifelong immunity, but other cats in the home, or visiting cats (or visiting people) may come into virus contamination in the environment. If you have had a cat that has been infected with FPV in your home, any new cats should not enter the home for at least two weeks and should have a Distemper vaccination 1-2 weeks prior to entering the home.

To clean contaminated areas, use a bleach solution of 1:20 (1 part bleach in 20 parts water) and allow the solution to remain in contact with the contaminated item for 30 minutes before rinsing. Any dirt, feces, vomit or other biological fluid should be cleaned up before applying bleach. Fabric items such as carpets, rugs and cat beds or other areas that cannot be bleached, such as wood flooring, should be steam cleaned at 240-270 degrees F.

The best way to prevent your cat from contracting FPV is to have your cat vaccinated routinely every 2-4 weeks from the age of 8 weeks through the age of 16 weeks.  Maternal antibodies conflict with the vaccine's ability to help the body form immune responses. Since it is uncertain exactly when maternal antibodies no longer protect kittens after they stop nursing, routine re-vaccination until the age at which their risk factors are minimized is key to provide protection. After the first annual vaccine, a cat's future vaccination schedule should be determined based on the cat's age, health status and lifestyle by having a conversation with your trusted veterinarian, or at a minimum every three years.


Michigan DNR article on Canine and Feline Distemper

Isolation and characterization of feline panleukopenia virus from a diarrheic monkey 

High prevalence of non-productive FeLV infection in necropsied cats and significant association with pathological findings

Panleukopenia-like syndrome of FeLV caused by co-infection with FeLV and feline panleukopenia virus

Detection of Feline Panleukopenia Virus using a commercial ELISA for Canine Parvovurus

Evidence for recombination between Feline Panleukopenia Virus and Canine Parvovirus Type 2

Immunisation against Panleucopenia: Early Development of Immunity

Structural Comparison of Different Antibodies Interacting with Parvovirus Capsids

 Macintire DK, Smith-Carr S, Jones R, Swango L. Treatment of dogs naturally infected with canine parvovirus with lyophilized canine IgG. Proceedings of the 17th Annual Conference of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. June 10–13, 1999, abstract 118, 1999: 721. 

De Mari K, Maynard L, Eun HM, Lebreux B. Treatment of canine parvoviral enteritis with interferon-omega in a placebo-controlled field trial.Vet Rec2003;152:105–8

Genetic complexity and multiple infections with more Parvovirus species in naturally infected cats

Feline Host Range of Canine parvovirus: Recent Emergence of New Antigenic Types in Cats
Isolation of canine parvovirus from a cat manifesting clinical signs of feline panleukopenia.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Cuterebra infection: Not really that cute...

Meet Gryffin, a tiny little kitten found wedged between the wall of a gas station and the ice machine. He weighed less than two pounds, and had a wound on his leg. Upon examination by the doctor, it appeared to be a run-of-the mill bite-wound abscess. Once under anesthesia, we were able to take a closer look - clipping up the hair and scrubbing the wound with antiseptic scrub. Bite wound abscesses have a tendency to become infected, so Dr. Brooks removed the scab and flushed the wound. As would be expected, the wound was infected. After cleaning it out, the doctor gently probed the wound and determined that it was clean. We treated Gryffin with pain medication and antibiotics.

But, Gryffin didn't get better. His wound still seemed to bother him, and we examined him again. The wound was free from infection - what could it be? Dr. Brooks commented that it was a remote possibility that it was a Cuterebra breathing pore, but no Cuterebra was found in the wound, and the pores do not scab over while the larvae are inside. It was also an unusual site for a Cuterebra infection, since Cuterebra larvae generally infect the head and neck regions of cats. She decided to satisfy her curiosity non-invasively, by placing the ultrasound probe on Gryffin's leg. This is what she saw:

Ultrasound image of a cuterebra larva
Deep within the wound, far from the scabbed opening, a dead Cuterebra lay - acting essentially like a sliver under the skin, causing irritation and infection and pain. Dr. Brooks was now able to locate the larva and remove it, much to Gryffin's relief! We measured the Cuterebra once it was removed, and determined that it was the biggest one we had ever seen, at 4cm in length.

Cuterebra larva after removal

Cuterebra. It doesn't sound too bad, and usually, they don't cause too much trouble, but Cuterebra larval infection can cause problems for cats.

The Cuterebra larvae are immature bot flies - a large bumblebee sized fly. The adult flies are harmless - in fact, they live for such a short time, they do not even have mouth parts for eating!
Adult Cuterebra
They lay thousands of eggs in the environment (blades of grass, wood chips - areas near rodent burrows) or on other insects (such as mosquitoes), or even directly on the host (such as horses) - usually in clusters of 5-15 eggs. Cats and dogs are not the normal host of the Cuterebra, but can become infected if they spend time in areas where the eggs have been deposited. The eggs tend to hatch quickly when exposed to the warmth of a nearby body. Most of the time, cats will become infected by coming into contact with a newly-hatched Cuterebra larva with the nose or mouth, but the Cuterebra can also enter the body through open wounds.

Once in the body, the larva forms a small cyst under the skin - most commonly near the face and neck. These lumps are usually very easy to distinguish from a cancerous lump by the 2-4mm breathing pore that the larva creates. Often, the larva can be seen moving towards and away from the pore to breathe. These lumps are called "warbles". It is most common to see the warbles in late
August and September. Some years, we see a lot, other years, we see none. In the Waterford area, kittens tend to be most commonly affected, but any cat that goes outside could come into contact with a Cuterebra larva.

Sometimes, a sneezing cat may have a Cuterebra infection in its nose. On some rare occasions, a Cuterebra infection may occur in or near the eye or spinal cord. These situations are very rare. Cats that develop eye infections may or may not have damage to the eye. Neurologic signs of Cuterebra infection may include "head pressing", circling in one direction, or other behavioral changes. Cats that develop spinal cord infections may fully recover once the Cuterebra larva is removed.

The most effective treatment for Cuterebra infection (called "cuterebriasis") is surgical removal of the larva. In some situations, this can be quite complicated, depending on the location of the larva. It is important to be able to remove the entire larva, and not to break the larva while it is inside the cat, or a severe allergic-type reaction can occur (called "anaphylaxis"). 

It is important to remember that you can NOT get a Cuterebra infection from an infected cat, but you may have Cuterebra present in your yard.

Two weeks after removing Gryffin's parasite, he looks great!
In Michigan, late summer and early fall is the time of year that Cuterebra infections become evident. The larvae are very difficult to see until they become large, due to the fur coat your cat wears. Some years, we do not see any cats with Cuterebra infections, other years we see quite a few. This year, we saw a cluster of 4 cats with Cuterebra infection, all in a row at the end of August and early September. Two of the cats had Cuterebra larvae in the neck region, Gryffin had his infection in a hind leg, and one Cuterebra was located up a cat's nose! He had a "chronic upper respiratory infection" that would get only a little better with antibiotics. Some might have written that off as a viral infection (viruses do not respond to antibiotic treatment), but Dr. Brooks took a look up the cat's nose and there was the source of the chronic sneezing! Once the Cuterebra was removed from the cat's nose, he fully recovered.

These days, Gryffin is doing much better, without his creepy-crawly passenger!

EDIT: 11/4/14 Gryffin came in for a recheck and had gained almost a pound since his last visit. His wound is healed and he is looking and feeling great!

For more information:
Article on Cuterebra from the American Association of Veterinary Parasitologists

Monday, October 13, 2014

Disease Monograph: Feline Leukemia - Part 2: Diagnosis, Prevention and treatment

Diagnosis of Feline Leukemia

To diagnose this disease, there are two types of blood test. One is called an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA test) and the other is called an immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) test. It is highly recommended to test cats prior to giving the leukemia vaccine to ensure that the cat is not already positive. If your cat is positive for FeLV, the vaccine will not help your cat fight the infection. The ELISA test is a quick and readily-available color change test that detects FeLV virus presence in the blood by testing for a protein that the virus creates when it replicates. This test can detect the virus at any stage of infection and can display positive results within a few days of infection. False positives can occur, due to the nature of this disease, so if your cat has only been tested once and tests positive, it may be a good idea to wait 2-3 months and re-test. Additionally, if you test a cat immediately upon bringing it into the household, you should test again about 60 days after its last possible exposure to the disease (whether it came from a shelter, was outdoors as a stray, or came from a breeder or friend).

In some cases, the tears or saliva of a cat can be tested with the ELISA method, but it turns positive only in late stages of infection and can return a false negative result. It can also return false positive results due to the nature of the testing procedure, so it is not commonly performed.

The IFA test is a test for FeLV proteins (antigens) in blood cells that appear at a later progression of the disease. This test may return a false negative result if the cat is in the early stages of the disease. If the IFA test is positive, it generally means that the cat will be unable to fight off the virus. This test is usually sent to a reference lab to confirm positive test results from the veterinary hospital laboratory.

A third type of blood test exists, but is not commonly used for regular screening. This third test is a PCR test and indicates whether there is any FeLV DNA present in the blood.

According to the American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP), the recommendation is that the FeLV status of ALL cats should be known, because Feline Leukemia Virus is responsible for the illness and death of more cats than any other disease condition.  Cats who have had a recent known or possible exposure, or cats that are ill should be tested before entering into a home with other cats.

The Six Stages of FeLV infection

1. The virus enters the cat and infects the white blood cells in the tonsils which then travel to the lymph nodes and copy themselves
2. The virus enters the blood stream and spreads throughout the body
3. They lymphoid system (the root of antibody response) becomes affected and further spreads the virus
4. The virus takes over the immune system and the intestinal tract becomes infected.
5. The bone marrow becomes infected if the cat cannot fight off the infection. At this point, the virus has become a part of the cat for the rest of its life. The virus is now carried in newly-made white blood cells that are produced by the marrow. Red blood cell production may be affected, as well.
6. The infection spreads to the cells that line the body cavities and organs, including salivary glands, stomach, esophagus, intestines, trachea, kidney structures, bladder, pancreas and lungs.

The outlook for cats infected with FeLV is grim. Eighty to ninety percent of cats that test positive do not live more than 4 years after diagnosis (on average, about 2.5 years). The other 17% are carriers that may be outwardly healthy, but can spread the disease to other unvaccinated cats. Cats that test positive and appear healthy should be kept in a low-stress environment to help the body conserve energy to fight the disease, but there are no other definitive preventive measures that will stop the disease progression.


This disease is extremely contagious in kittens. Neonatal kittens are 100% susceptible to contracting the virus after one exposure. By 8 weeks, their risk of infection drops to 85% from one exposure. Only about 30-40% of cats become immune after exposure. This means that 60-70% of unvaccinated cats (6 of 10) will contract the virus.

Several different vaccines exist for feline leukemia virus prevention: inactivated virus, recombinant canarypox vector and genetically engineered subunit vaccines. Once a cat has been vaccinated, it takes about 2-3 weeks before the cat develops immunity, so vaccination for Feline Leukemia is best done well before a cat will be at high risk for exposure. Most Feline Leukemia vaccines only provide immunity for 12 months, and therefore need to be boostered annually. The vaccine used at Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital is a vaccine that only needs boostering every 2 years, to help reduce the risk of negative side effects. Some cats vaccinated with feline leukemia virus vaccines have had negative side effects - usually mild, but up to and including vaccine induced sarcomas. Your cat is not at risk from contracting FeLV from the vaccine. Since 1992, none of the FeLV vaccines available are capable of causing active infection. Additionally, the vaccine will not cause your cat to test positive on a Feline Leukemia test. While no vaccine is 100% effective, use of this vaccine in high risk cats is highly protective (80-90%) and strongly recommended.

The virus does not survive long outside of the body, only lasting 2 hours at most, and in reality probably only a few minutes, in a dry environment, keeping the litterbox clean and dry is important if there is a feline leukemia positive cat in a multi-cat environment. The virus is also easily killed with bleach and household detergents.


Many times, a cat diagnosed with FeLV infection is already feeling sick, and in these cases, a pet owner may opt for euthanasia to end the cat's suffering. Since there is no cure for FeLV infection, and since 80% or more of positive cats will die within three years (most of which occur within 6 months) this may be the most humane option in cases where the cat is severely ill.

Propionobacterium acnes - a potential FeLV treatment
If a cat is diagnosed with FeLV infection and is apparently healthy, the best course of action is to limit the cat's exposure to other cats, keep the cat indoors, limit and prevent stress in the cat's life, feed a high quality diet, and keep her (non-FeLV) vaccinations up-to-date (remember that this disease decreases the effectiveness of a cat's immune system, making her more susceptible to other diseases). Quick response to secondary infections or conditions will help keep the infected cat healthy, longer, as well, so a close relationship with a veterinarian is important. For example, if an infected cat's red blood cell count begins to drop, the cat can receive various treatments aimed at stimulating red blood cell production or circulation - B12 or iron injections, erythropoetin treatment, or even a blood transfusion, if needed.

Additionally, there has been some development of experimental treatment protocols combining the

Polyprenyl immunostimulant - a potential FeLV treatment
use of immunostimulants, antivirals such as interferon and drugs that are in development for human AIDS treatment (these are usually tested in cats before moving on to human trials). However, there have not been many clinical use trials for these treatments, so information about their general effectiveness remains vague and anecdotal. Chemotherapy for FeLV associated cancers is available, but FeLV positive cats do not respond to chemotherapy as well as non-FeLV positive cats, and survival time once cancer develops is usually only about 6 months, despite chemotherapeutic treatment.

FeLV versus FIV

Some people confuse Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) and Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) because they are both retroviral diseases that affect the immune system. Feline Leukemia Virus infection, however, is almost two times more common than FIV. There are two very significant differences between the two diseases:

1) FeLV frequently causes severe illness, especially in young cats, while FIV tends to remain latent or non-illness-causing in the body for 8-9 years or so. It may never cause illness in some cats.
2) FeLV is much more easily transmitted. FIV tends to cause disease primarily following a bite wound, while FeLV can be transmitted through casual contact.

References and Further information:

Disease Information Fact Sheet: Feline Leukemia Virus
Journal of Feline Medicine and Surgery (2013) 15, Supplementary File

Monday, October 6, 2014

Microchips Really Do Work! - Fluffy's (aka Cooney's) Unusual Story

 So often, when stray cats are brought into our office by concerned cat lovers, even if they are spayed, front declawed, Siamese, Persian, Maine Coon....none of them have microchips. Or, if they do have a microchip, it isn't registered anywhere and leads to a dead end. On Monday, we had a happy microchip story, though maybe not the story you might normally hear.

This little stray kitty has been being fed outdoors for 3 years by some of our clients. Over time, they started calling her "Fluffy". They noticed that she had dental disease and decided to bring her in to their house and care for her teeth. They brought her to us for a checkup, wondering if she had a former owner. When we examined her, we found that she had a spay scar and a microchip, so we called the microchip company. Sure enough, she was registered! We contacted her former owner and discovered her full story...

Her owner was a woman from Germany that lived in Royal Oak. This little cat was a stray, and was living under her deck. Attempts to bring her into the house were unsuccessful. Four years ago, the woman from Germany was recalled to her home country for one reason or another, and was not able to take this little girl with her. Instead, she made provisions for her to be re-homed with a good friend. Again, attempts to bring her inside were unsuccessful. She was miserable, not wanting to eat, and hiding in the basement, so Cooney was taken to the vet and microchipped in case she tried to return to Royal Oak. Her new owner set up provisions for her in her back yard, just as she had been used to, but shortly after returning her to the outdoors, she disappeared. That was in 2010. Her first owner was devastated. Her newer owner was sad that she had failed both Cooney and her friend who had entrusted her with Cooney's care. She put up signs in her own neighborhood and in Cooney's former neighborhood in Royal Oak, as well as approaching neighborhood friends and neighbors.

Monday, "Fluffy" was brought into our office. She was very nervous, but very cooperative and sweet, and she acted like a cat that was used to humans. We examined her, checked for a spay scar, drew blood for a Feline Leukemia/FIV/Heartworm combination test, trimmed her nails, checked her for fleas, and scanned her for a microchip. Once we had the microchip number, we called the company, who directed us to the registered owner and the veterinary hospital where the chip was implanted. We were able to contact her former owner who was beside herself with excitement - she had been certain that Cooney was dead. She wanted to know if Cooney was happy. We suggested that she speak with the people who had been feeding her and decide between them what the best plan was for Cooney.

In the end, since it was her home that Cooney ran away from, Cooney's former owner decided to relinquish ownership to the people who have been caring for her for the last 3 years, hoping that she had finally found a home where she would be content. We called her former veterinarian and they sent us her previous records. We discovered that she was 11 years old (she looks more like a 5-7 year old cat, which is pretty good for a cat that has lived outdoors!), and she is now scheduled to have her painful mouth treated.

What a happy ending! Cooney - now Fluffy - was never abandoned, and was always loved and missed. She has a brand new home, and her former owner can rest assured that her beloved cat is safe and sound a whole ocean away.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Meet Mr. October!


Age: 17 months

Weight: 10.65 pounds - Good body condition

Gender: Neutered Male

Demeanor at the Veterinary Office: Very cooperative boy!

Leo's mom reports:

Leo was born in April of 2013. He is very adventurous, and likes to climb everything. Whenever I am coming home, he is always sitting on the kitchen window sill. When he was a baby, he was so small, I had to build him stairs to get everywhere. Now, he is able to jump from the ground onto the top of the refrigerator! Quite fussy, Leo does not like to be held, and yet, demands attention. He contorts and stretches his body as he sleeps, and his favorite toy is a brand new cardboard box to jump around in.