Can a stray kitten transfer feline leukemia to my cat?

by Anonymous

I found a stray kitten that has been in my house for about week and lately my cat has not been eating, drinking, sleeps a lot and gags once in awhile.

He was a healthy cat before that, plus about 3 weeks ago we had to put our dog to sleep that my cat has been with since we got him.

Also, we then adopted an 8 month old puppy about 2 weeks ago. Is he depressed? Thank You!!!

Editor's note: I want to put this first so that it's clear...

If he were my cat and he stopped eating and drinking, I'd bring him to the vet today. No waiting.

OK, here's some further explanation...

I'm sorry to hear that your cat is not feeling good. He's had a lot of very rough changes in his life very quickly, so it's possible that he is depressed.

I'm also sorry to hear about your dog (we like dogs and other animals here too, but don't tell anyone).

Feline leukemia is caused by the feline leukemia virus and can be transferred from an infected cat to your cat through contact with saliva, including grooming and bite wounds.

Sometimes it can be transmitted by the sharing of food bowls and litter boxes, but this is said to be rare.

So yes, it's possible that a stray kitten infected with FeLV could infect your cat. Many cats show no symptoms in the early stages of the disease, though, and the only way to know what's wrong is to get him examined.

The general rule is, if your cat misses more than one meal, shows any behavior changes, and/or stops drinking, he needs to see the veterinarian immediately.

P.S. Here's more on the feline leukemia virus from Cornell.

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