Fat Cat Catches a Cold at NYC Pound

This is Kootie – a neutered male cat, age 7.  His owner died and someone brought him to NYC ACC on January 4, 2012 so he could be cared for until adopted by a new owner.  Reader Daniela brought him to my attention last month.

Kootie’s initial exam at the pound indicated that he had clear eyes and ears, was overweight and was observed to have a “mild appetite”.  This means the cat was eating smaller amounts of food than would be expected.  To my mind, this sounds not only normal for a cat in a shelter but also possibly beneficial for Kootie since he needs to lose some weight.  Mild appetite is not anorexia.  Anorexia would be a concern because it could lead to fatty liver disease in any cat and overweight cats may be at an increased risk.  However Kootie was not anorexic.  Nonetheless, the vet at the pound injected him with famotidine, a drug that is sometimes used to get cats to eat (although it is not an appetite stimulant).  A note appears in the record that an appetite stimulant will be considered “if decreased appetite”.

I’m not a vet but this looks bizarre to me.  To my layman’s eyes, it looks like the vet is scrounging for possible reasons to justify putting Kootie on the kill list in the near future.  He’s fat which may increase his risk of fatty liver disease if he starves himself.  But he’s not starving himself, he’s just not eating as much as would be expected, which would eventually result in him being less fat and reduce his risk of health problems.  So let’s give him an acid neutralizing drug to see if that gets him to eat more so he can stay fat.  If not, we may have to give him an appetite stimulant to keep him fat and at risk for health problems.  Whaaa?

There was no need to scrounge for long though because after 11 days at the pound, Kootie caught the cold that all kitties there seem to get.

Click to enlarge.

At Kootie’s next exam on January 15, the vet noted he had discharge from the eyes and nose and was sneezing. He was otherwise bright, alert, responsive, and hydrated with normal sounding heart and lungs. So it was merely a kitty cold that the pound gave to him.  He was put on antibiotics and placed on the kill list.

Again, I’m not a vet but this is very puzzling.  It looks to me like NYC ACC is prescribing meds for a minor cold with one hand and drawing up a syringe of Fatal Plus with the other.  How can this possibly be ok with the shelter, the Mayor’s Alliance and/or Maddie’s Fund?  How can anyone make the claim that NYC is progressing toward no kill when a cat like Kootie is at risk of being killed by the pound on trumped up charges (first of being fat and not eating enough and then of catching a minor cold at their disease ridden facility)?

Thankfully a local rescue group called Empty Cages Collective stepped up and pulled Kootie.  I don’t see him on their current list of adoptable cats so maybe he has already been adopted, I don’t know.  At any rate, I’m thankful there are small, hard-working, cash-strapped rescue groups willing to stop what they can of the senseless killing in NYC.  They don’t have top dollar spokesmen or millions in cash but they have the sense to know that killing healthy/treatable pets is plain wrong, no matter how anyone tries to justify it.  And for that, I’m grateful.

16 thoughts on “Fat Cat Catches a Cold at NYC Pound

  1. When my brother died, one of his cats that I inherited was a young male who had not been vaccinated when a kitten. When my brother and I took him in for neutering, my notes tell me that the spay/neuter clinic refused him due to his symptoms of respiratory infection. After my brother’s death, I took this cat to one of my good vets for a check-up where he was x-rayed and tested for possible asthma or other serious respiratory ailments. He showed no signs of anything more serious than a somewhat runny nose and sneezing fits from time to time. That vet told me that it would not be good to give him immunizations for respiratory infections now that he already showed signs of infection – that immunizations now or in the future Could lower his immunity rather than do any good. That was over 2 years ago – this cat continues to have some sneezing fits from time to time and snuffles sometimes, but there has never been an increase in his symptoms or any transfer of his symptoms to the other cats he lives with – most who had their kitten vaccinations, but not all. I’m glad that Kootie was pulled by a rescue, and hope he’s over his cold.

  2. Well…if a cat is really heavy, even a reduced intake of calories over a long enough period could result in hepatic lipidosis. If he was eating only half of what he should to maintain his weight, he could have been at risk (which is why it is recommended that you cut back on calories for obese cats VERY slowly). And while I don’t agree with the vet’s approach to the matter, that may have been the thought process there.

    As for killing off a cat because he sneezes, that’s unacceptable. I’m very glad that he was pulled and saved from these butchers.

    I’m off to make a donation to Empty Cages Collective.

  3. Glad he got out. FYI, Famotidine is an acid-reducing med. Usually, cats are given Valium to stimulate their appetites. Don’t know where that vet got it’s college degree! Anyway, as long as he’s safe.

    Let’s face it, the NYACC has been a hell-hole on the order of MAS, but with different “style”, shall we say.

    1. Yes, famotidine is not an appetite stimulant but is sometimes tried on cats in case the reason they aren’t eating has to do with stomach acid problems.

    2. Valium is no longer recommended as as an appetite stimulant in cats because oral valium can cause liver failure in a small percentage of cats, even after just one use. There are better appetite stimulants out there, like cyproheptadine or mirtazapine. Famotidine is effective if the cause of the appetite reduction is an upset stomach, which is possible due to stress. However, it needs to be used more than once–more like twice a day for several days to see if it’s effective.

  4. NYCACC let all the cash strapped Rescues and all the people all over on-line networking and trying to find fosters/adopters for their animals instead of working with them and doing a little of the work themselves. I imagine with all of us working so hard for free to save these animals helps NYC save a lot of money.
    On their evaluations about the dogs are not very good . They don’t even consider just the environment they are in and possibly some other trauma that landed them there would affect how they act.
    The case of Star http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=361919187154300&set=a.362354430444109.96046.152876678058553&type=3&theater the link is of Star thread and eval . This link is Star getting ready to Leave ACC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9qKnsGVwBg&feature=youtu.be .
    Including My Midnight who did not have a good dog 2 dog. Midnight loves other dogs. I Had to do some training because My senior dog BabyGirl had a problem at first. Training complete and they now Love each other.
    It all seems geared to put them on the list instead of putting some effort of saving them.

  5. Naturally a cat in a shelter cage will have a reduced appetite with no exercise, and you don’t have to be an Einstein to figure that out. Why do the “experiments” they do on these poor kitties make me think of Josef Mengele?

  6. ACC has been openly using excuses to put pets on the kill list for months now. Join the “Pets on Death Row” Facebook page for more info – but warning: Many, many gorgeous, apparently friendly, perfectly adoptable pets are still being killed by ACC. The rescues can’t take them all. It’ll break your heart in little tiny pieces (and it’s one reason I’ve started focusing on rescue in Nashville and TN proper – I simply can’t get to NYC in time to save one of these animals. They killed a big fat gray Maine Coon identical to my beloved Huey before I could get him. I’m still not over it.)

  7. So sad. It seems like in too many of these cases that the righthand doesnt know what the lefthand is doing. Matters of life and death should not be taken so lightly with these shelters.

    Thanks to the rescue group who got him and Im glad to hear hes doing alright.

    Really sad when the only chance that an animal has to come out of a SHELTER alive is through the same IRRESPONSIBLE public that they blame brought him in there.

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