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2 kittens dead, mother missing, Parasite?!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm aware this is my first post to this forum but I had to share this problem with you all since its been quite a devastating experience.

One of our kittens just died this morning.. the horrible thing about this is that it made absolutely no sense at all.. and came after just recovering from an unusual death of another kitten from the same litter.

The kitten that died today was 100% healthy last night and early this morning.. meowing.. playing and loving. Exactly like the first one that died. This is the mom cats second birth. The first litter was a couple of months ago.. some of the kittens in the first litter have gone missing after a few months and have left us incredibly worried, they were all outside cats.

We were planning on taking the mom cat to the vet so that she cant have kittens anymore but before we knew it she had kittens again.. this time secretly in our attic. We discovered the kittens after they were a few weeks old and took them downstairs to live on our porch.. since the mom cat didn't come up to feed them anymore. (we heard meowing from upstairs) We fed them for 2 weeks outside on the porch and they seemed happy and content..the 1 kitten (persian) seemed to have some sort of eye infection and a dirty bum.. which we cleaned.

We were a little concerned since the mom cat never showed its face and we still havnt seen or heard of her. Then without any warning or symptoms 1 of the kittens (persian) was found dead with foam at its mouth. We were so devastated by this that we took in the remaining kitten and made it a little place to stay inside the house.. especially since the weather had turned increasingly colder the last week. We were planning on giving it a flee bath in the coming week and take it to the vet so that it can live in the bedroom and convert it into a proper house cat.

After 2 days of constant meowing and attention seeking we let it into the bedroom despite not having it treated for flees or taken to the vet yet... it was unbearable listening to it like that. It was very happy in the bedroom but outside it just wouldnt stop meowing. The only unusual thing about the cat was the its one eye seemed lame or hurt.. something like the persian cat but no real sign of infection. At night time we'd put it outside the room since we couldn't yet let it on the bed. The next morning (today) I woke up earlier to go the bathroom and noticed the cat was still alive and healthy. 30 minutes later I heard an unnerving meow and checked up on it... I called for the cat and looked around but couldn't find it.

After waking up my wife we looked for it and she found it curled up in a little ball inside its basket. At first we thought it was dead but it had occasional spasms. This was extremely odd since it was not breathing, eyes open and not blinking, no movement whatsoever.. just the occasional spasm. It reacted slightly to bright light shun into its eyes.. but other than that it was lifeless. We felt so hopeless and considered our options. Eventually we decided on looking up in the directory for a vet and rushed to get it there on time. When we got there the kitten was as before.. lifeless and having occasional spasms. The vet was completely clueless though.

I did research about this since I felt our own health was at a risk.. maybe some infectious parasite or something?!

I searched google and cat forums.. read about other peoples stories that were similair saying its Toxoplasmosis, Mastitis, FIP.. etc and that none of their vets knew what was causing the unusual deaths.

Toxoplasmosis seems like an option because both cats had some form of eye problems (each in 1 eye).. both experienced very mild symptoms and both ended up dead within a couple of hours with some form of nervous disability.

Mastitis also sounds like an option because they both drank milk from the same cat.. and the mother cat is missing (possibly dead)

FIP sounds also like an option because it is seen in cats with low immune systems.

We have no clue really and fear that if its Toxoplasmosis that we're in danger of infection.

Can someone please help us!
post #2 of 10
If the mother cat has abandoned them it's probably because she knew they were sick or weak - or she came back into heat and went to find a mate. It sounds as if she had 2 litters very close together, so the second kittens maybe weren't as strong as they should have been.

I think it's quite important that you try to use a trap to catch mum and take her to be spayed as soon as possible, if she has yet another litter so soon it won't be good for her health or the health of any more kittens she has - alas nature is harsh and female cats are evolved to breed often (they can get pregnant again within a few days of giving birth) and often die young as a result.

Are there any kittens still left from this litter? Sorry I didn't see that info in your post. If so they need to be kept warm and hand-fed with kitten replacement milk, and see a vet.

As far as your own health goes - Toxoplasmosis is only serious if you are pregnant or have a suppressed immune system, otherwise most people catch it and don't even realise they've had it. If you've been around cats a while, especially handling outdoor cats, you probably caught it long ago and don't need to worry about it. Gunky eyes in the kittens is most likely due to a respiratory virus which you cannot catch from cats.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epona View Post
If the mother cat has abandoned them it's probably because she knew they were sick or weak - or she came back into heat and went to find a mate. It sounds as if she had 2 litters very close together, so the second kittens maybe weren't as strong as they should have been.

I think it's quite important that you try to use a trap to catch mum and take her to be spayed as soon as possible, if she has yet another litter so soon it won't be good for her health or the health of any more kittens she has - alas nature is harsh and female cats are evolved to breed often (they can get pregnant again within a few days of giving birth) and often die young as a result.

Are there any kittens still left from this litter? Sorry I didn't see that info in your post. If so they need to be kept warm and hand-fed with kitten replacement milk, and see a vet.

As far as your own health goes - Toxoplasmosis is only serious if you are pregnant or have a suppressed immune system, otherwise most people catch it and don't even realise they've had it. If you've been around cats a while, especially handling outdoor cats, you probably caught it long ago and don't need to worry about it. Gunky eyes in the kittens is most likely due to a respiratory virus which you cannot catch from cats.
Hi Espona,

Thanks for responding! We'd take the mom cat if we could.. but we suspect she is dead already We dont think that this could be from not receiving enough milk because that would only mean the disease penetrated harder than it should have.. not the direct cause.

Glad to hear im not at any real risk of getting anything fatal from Toxoplasmosis parasites in the house.

Appreciate your response...
post #4 of 10
"FIP sounds also like an option because it is seen in cats with low immune systems"

I lost Tuffy to FIP over a year ago. It was not sudden when he died. The poor guy went through heck before he finally died. He was a full grown cat though so maybe its different in kittens.
post #5 of 10
The only way to really look into it would be having an autopsy done and tests run on the kitten that had died.
post #6 of 10
I am sorry for your loss. It's hard to lose kittens no matter how old or young they are. I have no idea what happend to them but I hope someone can come along and give you an idea or 2.
post #7 of 10
Actually the seizures and foaming at the mouth are two symptoms of poisoning. Do you have any rodent poison out? Are you in an area where rodent poison could be used by your neighbors? Human medicines, lawn chemicals, certain plants, are also other possible sources of poisoning.

Also if you live in an older home/building there could be toxic substances in the attic or porch that you may not be aware are there. ( my first home was build in 1872, I found lots of strange things in the cellar)

Momma cat may have been killed by anything as she was outdoors. She could have died from disease, a predator or poisoning.

As Jenniferd noted, the only way to know for certain would be to have a necropsy done.
post #8 of 10
Rabies are extremely rare in cats, but one symptom of rabies is foaming at the mouth.
http://www.cathealth.com/drooling.htm
post #9 of 10
Poison was my first thought - I lost a cat to rat poison a year ago with just these symptoms.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittymonsters View Post
Actually the seizures and foaming at the mouth are two symptoms of poisoning. Do you have any rodent poison out? Are you in an area where rodent poison could be used by your neighbors? Human medicines, lawn chemicals, certain plants, are also other possible sources of poisoning.

Also if you live in an older home/building there could be toxic substances in the attic or porch that you may not be aware are there. ( my first home was build in 1872, I found lots of strange things in the cellar)

Momma cat may have been killed by anything as she was outdoors. She could have died from disease, a predator or poisoning.

As Jenniferd noted, the only way to know for certain would be to have a necropsy done.
The wife here:

kittymonsters, you might be correct about the poison, but we have none in the house, only some cockroach poison in the bathroom which I removed a while ago. And certainly no medicine or pills lying around, nor any poisonous plants. The attic hasn't been used in 15 years but it is possible there was something there, yet why did they both die well after 2 weeks of being moved to the porch..?

We only gave them kitten food, some milk, never expired, water and sometimes peeled and cut up hot dog wieners. The previous litter had that same diet and they all grew up very strong, they also lived in the house with us the first 3 months.

I buried both kittens in the back yard and only sealed and kept the litter box, we'll take that for tests.

It seems to me that their immune system was very low and even the smallest infection or parasite could have done this, but the worst thing in this whole situation was the agony these two kittens had to go through.



Thank you everyone for the suggestions and support!
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