Monday, January 21, 2008

Feline Update

So on Saturday, Dave and I were chillin' upstairs in our room and the boys were downstairs. The kitten comes flying into our room and leaps onto Dave. Then it goes spinning off into the hallway.

Me: He's too crazy to be called Jedi. Aren't Jedi's mellow? Or angry?
Dave: Yea. We should name him something like Midnight or Ebony.
Me: But he's not all black. He's black and white, like an Oreo cookie.

We looked at each other and laughed. Of course! So we told the boys we were naming him Oreo instead of Jedi. They were playing video games and so, mindlessly, agreed.

About 10p that night, with the boys sleeping blissfully in their rooms, we were watching a movie. Resident Evil - Extinction. The cat came to pounce/lay on us as usual and I noticed some stuff in the fur around his bum.

Me: Dave, I keep seeing this stuff around his butt. At first, I thought it was kitty litter, but now I'm not so sure. Do you think he has worms?
D: Didn't they check that at his free vet visit?
Me: You'd think they would, but I'm not so sure. Come look at his butt. [D shutting off the computer]

D comes over and lifts his tail and there's this white thing wiggling out of his anus.
D: Um, yeah - I'd say he has worms.

Dave turns computer back on and after a little research and a call to the 24 hour vet, we confirm that Oreo has tapeworms. That is so nasty!!

We watched the last hour of the movie and discussed our options. We could take him to the vet on Tuesday (because today's a holiday, remember), we could take him back to the pound on Sunday and hope there's a vet there, or we could spend way too much and take him to the 24 hour vet now!

Well in that last hour of movie, the worms were coming out of him like gangbusters, so it was really a no-brainer. I mean, I've never seen anything like it - we were seeing live white wiggly worms coming out of our cat every 15 seconds! And riddle me this - why do the worms come out? I mean, they're in the body getting a free meal - why leave?

I packed him up and took him in to the 24 hr people. As we're putting him into the box, Dave says, "Who knew the creamy center of an Oreo was really just tapeworms?" Then he says, "Hey! You should take the leftover rice [from our Chinese food dinner] and tell the vet, 'Yea, just look at all the stuff we got out of him!'"

Dave's a funny guy.

We were sooooo grossed out! We were both super itchy all night. I have long hair and I had to go tie it up because every time it brushed against me, I'd freak out. The only reason that sweet little cat is still here at all is because tapeworms are one of the few wormy parasites that is very hard (nearly impossible) to transfer to humans.

No. That's not the only reason it's still here. But, seriously - ewwwwww! I wanted to hose down the whole house! I wanted to wake the kids and hose them down, too. I've washed every piece of bedding we own and I won't let Trevor clean out the cat box for a few days until the dead worms have all passed (as per vet's instructions). (By the way, Trev's been cleaning out the cat box, nearly every day without being asked! He's a good kid. We have a separate small, lidded and lined trash can that we keep in the garage. It's specifically for litter box cleaning. And I make him wash his hands for a full 60 seconds after he cleans the box.)

The vet gave the cat a pill and said he'd be fine in a few days. Before that, whenever we tried to give Oreo belly rubs, he'd attack our hands. We were a little sad, because our old cat used to love belly rubs! Now, since he's been treated, Oreo likes belly rubs too. Poor little guy!

Sunday, when we were having dinner with the in-laws, we told them how we'd renamed the cat Oreo. Dave leaned over to me and whispered, "We should've named him Pez."

Still itchy, Ruth!


Cynthia A. said...

Hi Ruth,

Worms can be a pretty revolting thing to find, but easily dealt with. Tapeworms will not generally be found in a fecal flotation test (as many other worms can be) due to the nature of the shedding of the eggs within the little worm segments called proglottids. What you see being passed is not a tiny worm, but only a small "egg packet" that has broken off of the end of it - the rest of the worm stays inside of the intestine. As you found out, tapeworms do require an intermediate host, so Oreo will not reinfest himself from his own feces. They get tapeworms by eating rodents or rabbits (hunters) or by ingesting fleas while grooming themselves. Therefore flea treatment is necessary if you live in a climate where they are common.

Roundworms, however, are a human health concern, so be sure to use a broad spectrum wormer that will cover both kinds of worms. Kittens can come already infected with roundworms from their mother, so it is recommended to treat them early at the first visit to the vet, and every 3 months throughout the year.

Although we can do routine fecal testing annually (which can give you false negatives), we generally don't. We usually recommend that people instead just put the money towards regular worming treatments throughout the year. As long as Oreo has a current patient relationship with a vet, you should be able to buy the wormer over the counter as long as you have a current weight for him.

Hope that helps,
Cynthia, Veterinary Technician

Kristyn said...

One year around Christmas my mom found out the hard way that our cat had worms. She went into the extra room where she did all the wrapping one night to get something. She did not turn the light on so the room was only lit by the fake candle lights that were in the window. She saw what she thought was a ribbon on the floor, picked it up and realized it was a worm. She screamed pretty loud!

5elementknitr said...

Thanks for the info Cynthia! I was curious about why they'd leave and now I know.

When I was a kid, I wanted to be a vet. - now, not so much!

Yarnhog said...

Every inch of my skin is crawling, and my hair is standing on end. My toes are wiggling independently. EEEEE!

WandaWoman said...

I feel itchy and scratchy right now! Eep.

Corwink said...

OHMIGOD!!!! I feel the need to run upstairs and shower after reading that. You are a better person than I am. I would have put the house up for sale with all the furniture, and kitten included in the price. I feel itchy now.

sophanne said...


They don't make letters to express my physical experience upon reading your adventure. YIKES!

There is no way I would have handled it as maturely as you seemed to have. There would have been screaming, squealing and a general bad bad scene.

Nell said...

Eeeewwwww!!!!! I'm all itchy and scratchy now too!!!

Glad it's all taken care of but EWW!!

Olga said...

GOUGE OUT MY EYES now now now
too much info

Anne said...

Aw, poor little guy!

My cats stay in all the time, so aside from a couple of flea treatments when I first got 'em, they've been parasite free. Though I'm now itchy too!

Anonymous said...

Awwww, that poor little guy. I am glad you are taking care of him. He is so cute! :)

Diane said...

Been there done that.

Your husband is hysterical.

Knit Witch said...

Ughhhhhhhhh!!!! Hahaha!!! Too funny. As a nurse and former vet tech I concur with Cynthia! Seems kind funny that the bigger worms are harder to find on the floats but it's true!

Thanks for entering the contest! I bet your hubby made some people turn pretty red with that routine!

CarrieM said...

Your husband has a pretty bent sense of humor!

Romi said...

Tag! Come read my blog for instructions!

And, Ruth, I have the say the worm thing is absolutely disgusting. My skin is crawling. :P