Healing Feline Distemper Naturally & Effectively

Kitty DTThis page is the beginning of numerous pages to come, in my "spare" time (yeah right!). We are not veterinarians, but we have worked with many distemper kittens. Many have asked for us to put together helpful ideas, thoughts, and experience in healing distemper kittens. As such, this is the beginning of our feline distemper information. Please check back for updates that are sure to come in the future.

Identification of Distemper

Is It Really Distemper?

There are many dis-eases that can mimic distemper. Some of these diseases are viral, some bacterial, others are worms or protozoan. Here is a partial listing of dis-eases that mimic distemper virus:

  • Coccidiosis aka "Cocci" or Coccidia (single celled organism - protozoa)
  • Giardiasis aka Giardia (single celled organism - protozoa (trophozoites)
  • Food Poisoning (i.e., salmonella)
  • Poisoning (non-food; i.e., antifreeze, drugs - i.e., wormers)
  • Intestinal Blockage (i.e. from consuming foreign objects)
  • Worm Infestation (roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, tapeworms)
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Colitis
  • Being vaccinated can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and/or lethargy in some kitties for 1 or 2 days post vaccination.
How Did My Kitten Get Distemper?

There are many ways a kitten can get distemper. Here are a few examples:

  1. Kitty DTIf you, your family, or friends come in contact with an infected kitten without disinfecting yourself before playing with your kitten, you can give distemper or other dis-eases to your kitten. This can happen at pet shows, pet stores, shopping malls, etc.
  2. If your kitten comes in contact with excretions from an infected cat, he or she can come down with distemper.
  3. They say distemper is NOT airborne, but as far as I am concerned, it is. Consider the fact that a fly or bird can come in contact with an infected kitten's vomit or feces and carry the virus to your home makes ME think it IS airborne!
  4. Stress can cause distemper or any other dis-ease to manifest. Many cats and kitties that are purchased from animal shelters or brought into rescues come down with distemper. Likely, due to the following:
    1. The kitten was unwanted by its owner and dumped at the shelter or found living on the street.
    2. The kitten was subjected to all the animals at the shelter (along with any dis-eases they may have had) and many strange humans.
    3. The kitten's diet was likely different than what it was used to.
    4. The kitten was likely vaccinated with a 5, 6, or 7-in-1 vaccine, plus possibly rabies.
    5. The kitten was possibly chemically wormed as well. f) The kitten was then adopted to a new home with another change in his or her environment, people, possibly other pets, diet, etc. to get used to.
    ALL of these things can create stress on the immune system of little kitties. Just think of how stressful it is for you to move to a new home and you at least have a choice of where you are moving to!
  5. Distemper vaccines are modified live (MLV). Meaning, you are giving a tiny amount of the live distemper virus when vaccinating. As such, the distemper virus is shed from the body for approximately 2 weeks post vaccination. If you or your kitten come in contact with the feces of a recently vaccinated cat, it is possible your kitten can come down with distemper. This does not usually happen, but it can.
  6. Chemical worming can also lower a kitten or adult cat's immune system causing them to come down with distemper. We suggest you NEVER chemically worm at all, but if you feel the need to do so, do not do so on an overly hot or cold day. Extremes in temperature are stressful for us just as they are for our animal companions. NEVER chemically worm a kitten who is not well, unless excessive worm load is the cause of the kitten's ill health, but realize that chemical wormers can kill little kittens when they are sick and have excessive worm loads. In this case, I recommend being very careful and strive to boost the kitten's immune system with excellent nutrition, clean fresh water, possible supplements - kelp, vitamin C, echinacea, colostrum or others. Best yet, it would be MY opinion (and remember I am NOT a vet) that you should NEVER chemically worm at all. There are plenty of natural worming methods that can be utilized that are safe and effective. For instance, simple raw grated carrots are excellent at removing round worms from the system. The raw grated carrots simply wrap around the round worms and carry them out of the system, plus they provide a good source of vitamin A, and are not toxic to pets.
  7. We have had over 100 animals here the past 8 years and have never chemically wormed them or ourselves. Natural worming remedies - herbs, homeopathy, food grade diatomaceous earth, etc. are very effective at eliminating parasites without putting chemicals or toxins into "OUR" or our animals systems.
    When you start worming a pet with natural methods, it is best to continue treatment for at least a week. We do not recommend you start worming one day, then quit for a few days as this can produce a build up of worms in the system.

I'm a "Temp-a-holic", so I always monitor a feline distemper kitty's temperature. Holistic norm is 100.5 to 101.5, anything other than this is either a low or high grade fever. We use those nice digital thermometers. We ALWAYS tell distemper kittens WHY we are taking their temperature. If someone was putting a thermometer in my rectum, I'd want to know WHY! A sick kitten's temperature tells us many things:

  1. High grade fever tells us a kitten could dehydrate more quickly, as they are overheating, so they may need extra fluids. A fever can also tell us there is a secondary infection going on for which we may choose to either be a little heavier handed with the antibiotic we are using or for those using homeopathic remedies, the high grade fever helps guide us to the appropriate remedy.
  2. A low grade fever tells us the kitten is chilled. When we are "chilled", we put on a sweater, jacket, or cover up with a warm blanket. The same courtesy should be extended to our kitten family members who have low grade fevers. No need to sit them on the furnace, but a light blanket helps them to keep their body heat in check, which can help them feel better and conserve their much needed energy for healing, instead of heating. A low grade fever also tells us that any fluids we give the kitten should be warmed to body temperature, as giving cold fluids would bring down the kitten's body temperature further.

Distemper kitty vomiting can occur for numerous reasons. Make sure you read the following to make sure your kitten isn't vomiting for a reason that you can prevent.

  • MOTION SICKNESS: Movement can trigger vomiting. Whether a car ride, picking your kitten up and moving her to another location, or just from the kitten getting up to urinate or drink. When WE have the flu, our tummy is queasy, and movement can trigger headaches, dizziness, and vomiting for US, just as it can for distemper kitties.
  • DEHYDRATION: Being dehydrated can trigger vomiting. Dehydration is likely the single biggest reason kitties are vomiting.
  • EXCITEMENT: If you go to visit your distemper kitten while she is at the vet's on IV's, the excitement of seeing you can sometimes trigger vomiting. The same as seeing you walk in the door after being home without you can trigger vomiting. It may also be the combination of getting up from a laying position (which they were laying low because movement can make them vomit) and being so excited to see you that they momentarily "forgot" they were sick.
  • EXCESSIVE FLUIDS: Often, distemper kitties quit consuming water on their own, so when they start drinking water, WE get excited they are drinking. Our excitement is short lived, after our little distemper kitten gulps down too much water, only to vomit it up seconds later, in a massive mess all over the floor...We recommend keeping only 5 or 6 licks worth of water or plain flavored pedialyte in a bowl on the floor for the kitten to consume. As soon as they drink this water, we wait 10 minutes and then replace the empty bowl with more water or pedialyte, tho just enough for 5 or 6 licks. NOT so much that they weigh down their little tummies and heave it back all over the floor. Here again, remember, the distemper virus is like a really terrible human flu. When we have the flu, if we drank an 8 oz. glass of water, we'd be vomiting too. Small amounts of fluids, frequently. You can give the kitten ice chips to lick also.
  • EXCESSIVE ORAL DOSING: If you are dosing your distemper kitten yourself with the Kitty-DT (aka Kitty Distempaid) remedy and your kitten continues to vomit after 2 or 3 hourly doses, you can make the doses smaller and give half the hourly dose, every half hour. Hourly doses can even be broken down into quarters by giving 1/4 the hourly dose every 15 minutes. Make sure the kitten isn't dehydrated though, as vomiting can be indicative of dehydration. If the kitten isn't on IV's or Subcue fluids and the oral doses continue to make the kitten vomit, "I" would give an enema instead. Enema fluids are completely maintained by dehydrated distemper kitties.
  • EXCESSIVE WORM LOADS: Excessive worm loads can cause a kitten to vomit. If worms are present in your kitten's vomit, call us for an emergency parasite tea recipe or call a local feed store and obtain Food Grade Diatomaceous Earth
  • DEHYDRATION CAN KILL YOUR KITTEN: A lack of bodily fluid can cause a distemper kitten's heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, etc. to have to work harder. Eventually these organs give out and they can die quickly from dehydration, so preventing dehydration is very very important!

Distemper kitties always have diarrhea.

Diarrhea can cause dehydration, due to the loss of fluids. IF we are personally dealing with a distemper kitten who has a massive amount of fluid loss through diarrhea, we often make it a point to given them oral or enema fluids shortly thereafter, within 15 minutes or so, to replace the fluid loss, rather than waiting for their next scheduled hourly dose, to help prevent dehydration.

Many people want to stop the diarrhea with kaopectate or similar over the counter remedies or drugs. In the holistic world, it is said that diarrhea is the body's way of trying to rid itself of something that is making it sick, so stopping the diarrhea isn't necessarily a good thing. And in fact, it can actually make a kitten worse, by not allowing its body to get rid of what is making it ill quickly.


Distemper kitties do not feel well, hence, they are lethargic. Just as we are lethargic when we have the flu. We believe it is important to give them lots of tlc, time, attention, and be at their beckon call, just as we would want someone to be there for us if we were so sick. We also believe, it is important for them to be able to recover in a household that is conducive of getting better. Not saying we want them glued to a hospital bed, but that excessive noise and play with other family members is best kept to a minimum, to help allow them to heal.

*These statements have not been evaluated by Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this Web site or in emails is designed for educational purposes only. The information on this web site is not intended as a substitute for the advice of a physician or veterinarian. This information is not intended as a substitute for the reader's independent judgment and personal responsibility. Health issues are far too important to delegate to anyone else. It is highly recommended you research and seek information and counsel from as wide a variety of sources as possible, so you can make well informed educated decisions about you, your child's, or your pet's health, as in the end YOU make the decisions.