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Find a veterinarian immediately and establish a relationship. Waiting until you have a sick animal is not the time to find a vet you like and feel comfortable with. Make sure to ask the vet about who would you contact during the hours their clinic is not open. Some vets treat their own emergencies and other vets send you to an animal emergency clinic. Keep the phone numbers of your vet and an emergency 'after hours' clinic (you may want to drive by the emergency clinic so you know how to get there) readily available. Also, keep a vaccinations/worming schedule and all other health information in a place you can easily locate. 

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) operates the Cornelius Clinic, an affordable wellness clinic that is open to the public. The Cornelius Clinic can serve as your veterinarian for low-cost wellness/vaccinations, however, it is not a clinic for injured animals or those needing specialist care. 

The AMVA recommends the following vaccinations for cats: Feline Panleukopenia Virus Vaccine (distemper), Feline Calicivirus, Rhinotracheitis AKA Feline Herpes Virus, and Rabies. Other vaccines include Bordetella bronchiseptica (for kennel cough), Gardiasis, and Chlamydiosis. Your cat's lifestyle and circumstances will play a large role in what vaccinations he needs - talk with your veterinarian about the best vaccination plan. If you have adopted your cat from CAP, the cat's vaccinations will be up to date, he will be wormed, spayed/neutered, and checked for feline leukemia.

Fleas: Do not use flea collars, first because their effectiveness is questionable and second, because flea collars can cause skin sores on long-haired cats due to the concentration of poison around the neck. Rather, a good rinse or monthly single dose of products such as Frontline or Advantage (available from your vet) is a better solution to the problem of fleas. Consult your vet for the best option. Flea products contain toxic substances and their use should be minimized to the extent possible.


 Health Concerns - Please Be Aware

CAP takes every step possible to ensure that your new pet is healthy; however, an animal can appear perfectly healthy, displaying no symptoms of illness, and begin to get sick several days later. You have two weeks to return the pet due to illness or behavior issues, and six months to choose another pet. 

If your pet begins to show signs of illness within two weeks of adoption, please call us at 281-497-0591 so we can arrange to do a medical evaluation and prescribe medications as appropriate. A very small fee for medications may be charged. Note: CAP is unable to treat animals displaying symptoms of parvovirus, distemper, and other potentially life-threatening and/or highly contagious diseases.

If you decide to take your pet to your own veterinarian, CAP cannot be responsible for costs or reimburse expenses. 


Most Common Illnesses and Symptoms


 Feline Upper Respiratory Infection (URI)

Despite the precautions taken by CAP while caring for the cats in our shelter, it is possible for your new pet to have been exposed to URI, commonly described as a feline cold that runs a course of 7-10 days. Symptoms include sneezing, nasal discharge, runny eyes and cough. If left untreated, more serious conditions can develop including pneumonia. A simple treatment of antibiotics will usually cure URI unless the condition has worsened, and then breathing treatments may be needed.


Feline Herpes Virus

FHV is the most common cause of upper respiratory infections in cats. FHV is very common and most cats are asymptomatic, but they can show symptoms while under stress, especially in a shelter environment. The symptoms of FHV, which can be easily managed with antibiotics and antiviral medications, include conjunctivitis, discharge from the eyes and/or nose, sneezing, congestion, lethargy, loss of appetite, and fever. FHV is contagious when the cat is actively showing symptoms, and it can be spread through the sharing of food and water dishes and litterboxes, as well as through mutual grooming. Most cats with FHV live a typical lifespan with the addition of proper nutrition and veterinary care.