Back in March in Norman, Oklahoma, Barbara Tarbutton and her husband noticed a little something off about their cat, Paw Paws. He had some nasal discharge with a little bit of blood in it and wasn’t moving around very well. Tarbutton says from the time they noticed Paws acting ill, it was only 20 minutes before they were on their way to the veterinarian’s office. Within hours, Paw Paws was diagnosed with Bobcat Fever. Despite getting expensive treatment, he passed away on his way home from the vet.
“He got one dose of it and, on the way home from the vet, he died. It was just… I couldn’t believe it,” Tarbutton told KFOR. But this isn’t the first case veterinarians in Oklahoma have seen. Bobcat Fever, named so because bobcats are the reservoir host for the disease, is becoming increasingly common throughout the state. The only means of transmission is through an infected tick bite, and veterinarians have noticed an increase in tick-related diseases in both cats and dogs this year. “The ticks this year have been awful. I’ve probably seen a 5- to 10-fold increase and tick diseases this year not just in cats but dogs also,” said Dr. David Biles with Westwood Veterinary Hospital.
If caught early enough, there is some hope that cats can recover from the illness. Unfortunately, however, it is almost always fatal. Veterinarians warn the best method of action is to prevent tick bites altogether. We recommend you speak with your veterinarian about the safest way to prevent ticks from reaching your cat.
We’re saddened to hear of Paw Paws’ passing and our hearts go out to the Tarbutton family. We hope no one else has to lose their precious kitties this way.