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C2006-45

Dear Christopher Cat

Six cats live on my terrace here in India. One of them, a 3-month-old kitten, has a pot belly and intermittently wobbly legs. Usually she runs and jumps well, but every few weeks, she walks slowly and her legs tremble. What can I do for her?

Christopher Responds

I was a healthy kitten, but some of the other cats in the barn where I grew up had pot bellies. Each of them was sometimes wobbly because the problem that produced the big belly also caused weakness.

One of the pot-bellied kittens had worms in his intestines. These roundworms and hookworms caused anemia and weakness.

Fortunately, the family that adopted him gave him medication to kill the worms. Once the worms were gone, his pot belly disappeared and his strength returned.
These intestinal parasites can invade humans’ bodies too, so it’s important to deworm all kittens.

Another kitten friend had feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), a viral infection that fills the abdomen with fluid. I am sorry to say that she died of FIP.

Still another kitten at the barn had a heart condition that caused weakness and fluid accumulation in the abdomen.
As you can see, your kitten may have any one of a variety of problems. A veterinarian can diagnose the disease and recommend treatment.

If you can’t find a veterinarian nearby, you may be able to contact one at an Internet kiosk.

“Vet on the Net” kiosks, developed by n-Logue Communications, are available in rural villages throughout India.

Each kiosk has a computer with wireless Internet access and video-conference equipment so you can consult with a veterinarian without traveling far from home.

Please let us know what the veterinarian says about your kitten.

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