Doing the right thing isn't always easy.  Those of us who adopt pets can attest to that.  In Misty's case, this was especially true.  She was recently adopted by her current family as a mature adult cat after spending pretty much all of the previous years of her life in the same home.  She seemed to be handling things well initially, but after a couple of weeks she began developing some severe symptoms of an upper respiratory infection.

 

Upper respiratory infections in cats typically involve sneezing, discharge from the eyes and nose, conjunctivitis, and sometimes ulcers in the mouth.  In more severe cases, systemic symptoms can be seen like lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite.  Feline upper respiratory infections are often caused by viruses, with two of the most common being feline herpesvirus-1 and feline calicivirus.  Both of these viruses are highly contagious, infecting many cats that come from catteries or shelters, and can cause chronic infections.  This means that cats can become carriers of the viruses and may experience recurrent symptoms, especially during times of stress.

 

This is what we belive happened with Misty, likely due to the stress of changing environments after so many years of stability.  Her treatment initially involved fluid administration in the hospital and antibiotics to manage the secondary bacterial infections that were also affecting her.  Her clinical condition improved, except for one thing - Misty would not eat.  Appetite stimulants and supportive medications seemed ineffective; new foods including sandwich meats and baby food didn't help.  She continued to look good otherwise, but days passed without her eating and she was losing weight.  So, the decision was made to place a temporary feeding tube in Misty so that her owners could get calories (energy) into her body that would help fight the infection, which in-turn would improve her appetite.  Low and behold, the feeding tube worked...but not in the manner we expected.  In fact, the owners never even had to use it, as Misty ate on her own that very night.  Cats...

 

After a few days passed with Misty maintaining her appetite and regaining some of the weight she lost, we decided to remove the feeding tube.  And we're happy to report that she continued to do well and has become comfortable in her new home with her new owners - who did the right thing by adopting an adult cat, but found that it didn't end up being easy!