Depending on their mothers' background, stray kittens can face more health issues than kittens born into homes. This is mainly due to their mothers not getting vaccinations and other health care they need. As a result, stray kittens can come into the world already saddled with certain diseases.
Roundworms are probably the least threatening and most treatable condition a kitten can be born with. They are also probably the most common. They look like grains of rice under a kitten's tail or in their waste. Infected mothers get them by eating infected prey. In some cases, she was born with them herself and never dewormed. She passes them on to her kittens. Often, over-the-counter dewormer takes care of this problem. More severe cases can be successfully treated by veterinarians.
Feline herpes is a virus that causes cold symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, a runny nose and watery eyes. Mothers who have not been vaccinated against it or whose vaccination is not up-to-date can pass it on to their kittens in the womb.
Feline leukemia is a virus that can cause cancer and blood disorders in cats and can weaken their immune systems. If a mother cat has not been vaccinated against it, her kittens can contract it before birth.
Feline Immunodeficiency Virus
Feline immunodeficiency virus, also known as feline AIDS, is another virus that can infect stray kittens. As the name suggests, it eventually destroys the immune system. Like feline herpes and FeLV, it can be transmitted from an unvaccinated and infected mother to her kittens in the womb. Fortunately, however, it is far less likely.
Always check with your veterinarian before changing your pet’s diet, medication, or physical activity routines. This information is not a substitute for a vet’s opinion.
Leslie Carver has been a professional author since 2009. Her work appears on multiple websites. She has an associate's degree in English with progress toward her bachelor's at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She has been awarded an Outstanding Student Award in English and twice nominated for creative writing awards.