Feline H1N1 Takes a Deadly Turn

By Yul

H1N1 isn’t just a ferret-killer. Since I last reported on it, at least three more cats have caught it and one of them died.

Buddy Lou was a 10-year-old male cat who lived in Oregon. About a week after a child in his house had H1N1, Buddy developed a weird pneumonia (view x-rays) and tested positive for H1N1. Antibiotics and oxygen failed to help. Buddy deteriorated over 4 days at the vet’s and he died on November 7.

Buddy Lou (Photo - Chicago Now/Steve Dale)

Buddy lived with 3 other cats who started coughing and sneezing, but none tested positive and all recovered.

The following week, a cat in Utah got sick after its owner had H1N1. This cat was having trouble breathing, and an initial nasal swab was negative, but further testing confirmed it was H1N1. That cat recovered.

Nine ferrets in Oregon came down with H1N1 after humans in their household had it, but they all recovered.

AnnArbor.com reported that 2 cats, 13 and 14 years old, also contracted H1N1, but they both recovered. Since none of these cats were named, it’s impossible to tell if they were additional cases or not.

Humans take note: NO ONE has reported cats passing H1N1 to humans.

Cats have no vaccine for H1N1. Dogs so far are unaffected, but they have their own flu, H3N8, and they do have a vaccine for it. (It figures.)

People, watch your cats for lethargy, poor appetite, fever, runny nose and/or eyes, sneezing, coughing, or changes in breathing (including difficulty breathing). It could be H1N1 and the cat needs to see the vet STAT.

If you are sick, protect your cat as you would try to protect your kid. Don’t sneeze into your hand and then pet the cat. It can lick the virus off its fur. Cover your face when you sneeze or cough to keep the virus out of the cat’s air space. Don’t handle the cat or its belongings with germy hands.

9 Responses to Feline H1N1 Takes a Deadly Turn

  1. Zappa says:

    Hi Yul! I feel awful for Buddy!! I will remember him in my kitty prayers>My mom commented that this blog is still the only place even discussing the kitty-swine flu link> How can we let more Humans (and cats)know?

  2. catsworking says:

    There’s a pet expert named Steve Dale in Chicago who has been reporting on cats catching H1N1, and he’s the one who tipped us off to the latest cases. But you’re right. With the millions of pet cats in the U.S. (we outnumber dogs) you’d think this would be getting more ink than Sarah Palin knowing how to write her name in a book. For all we know, she’s just scribbling X’s.

  3. Adele says:

    Yul, thanks for the info. Alice is very concerned. I’m having a bunch of people over on Sunday, and even though she’ll be hiding in the closet, she wants to know if I can seal the closet off and not unseal it until everyone has left, and I’ve taken proper sanitary measures.

  4. catsworking says:

    Adele, I think you should do as Alice asks. She sounds very sensible. You can never be too careful where your kitty’s health is concerned.

    Karen just had me at the vet today because of my recent sniffles and sneezes. I’m happy to report it’s a sinus infection, not H1N1.

  5. Adele says:

    Yul, Alice hopes you get over your sniffles once and for all. She and I wish the staff of Cats Working and all its readers a very happy Thanksgiving. Bob and Fanfromfaraway, we hope you have a good Thursday. We both hope Cole gets lots of turkey and enjoys his first Thanksgiving out of the joint and with a family. Have any of you guys told him about Santa, yet? I’ll bet Santa didn’t visit the joint.

  6. Bob says:

    Adele, its ok if you wish me a Happy Thanksgiving.
    We have it up here too!!! Just a little earlier than yours..

    Happy Turkey Day Everyone

  7. catsworking says:

    Adele, we hope you and Alice and all Cats Working readers also have a Happy Thanksgiving.

    Karen is having dinner at her sister’s, but assures us that she will bring us some turkey for dinner. Cole says it will be his first taste of “real” turkey, not those ground guts in a can we usually eat, so he’s pretty excited.

    He doesn’t know about Santa yet, but he’s in a for a big surprise because Karen says we’re all going to make his first Christmas with a family one he’ll always remember. I’m sure she’ll let us write about it. Things here have been kind of low-key for the past 5 years, since Fred developed his “incontinence” problem. As much as we still miss Fred, now that she knows it won’t get soaked, Karen says we can put up the big Christmas tree with all our cat ornaments again and have a blast.

    The cat ornament tradition began many years before my time when the late Rex was a kitten. His first Christmas, he smashed a box and a half of glass ornaments on the slate foyer, so Karen started collecting unbreakable ornaments of cats, and she probably has a few hundred by now, plenty to fill a 7′ tree. It’s pretty exciting to have such a HUGE cat toy right in our living room. Cole’s eyes are going to pop out when he sees it.

  8. Joan says:

    Poor little kitties! Hopefully the H1N1 virus will lose strength and disappear with the weather getting colder. Here in PA human cases are levelling off and being replaced with seasonal flu. I’ve never heard of cats getting regular seasonal flu from a person. When I had the flu in 1999, our cat Ginger stayed in bed near me and we only got out of bed to eat and go to the bathroom. After that I called her “Nurse Ginger”.

  9. catsworking says:

    Welcome, Joan! We cats make excellent nurses and have a long tradition of taking care of Karen, going all the way back to the late Nurse Coco, her first cat. No feline here has ever caught anything from her, even though she has a bad habit of leaving half-used tissues all over the house. If that doesn’t make us sick, nothing can!

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