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Savannah Cats

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, I am writing with a few questions that have been on my mind regarding my cats. I first found them when I was living in Savannah, GA for school. Around April of 2006, it came time to finally haul off my broken down chrysler lebaron to the mechanic. When I went to clean out the car, I found 4 newborn kittens in my trunk... they were less then a week old, and as the car was being towed and no mother was to be found, i took them in and began nursing them on formula. After the car was back from the garage about 48 hours, I drove down to the supermarket, and heard a strange sound from the backseat.... where i found another 5 kittens, clearly from different parents (the first litter was mostly calico and brindle; the second where variations of the classic tuxedo).... So at this point, I am now nursing 9 tiny kittens, which as i'm sure many of you know, is a full time job. Amazingly, the feral mothers of both litters began hanging outside my apartment until i let them come in, nurse BOTH litters, and then they would leave, only to return the next day. I provided food and water for the mothers, but for the most part they wanted nothing to do with me. Sadly, one day both mothers tried to nurse at the same time, got in a fight, and I never saw either of them again.

I brought the kittens to the vet 3 times over the next few months, and for the most part they were healthy and strong. As you can imagine, being feral cats, they did have worms, and scattered conjunctivitis infections. The smallest of the runts was an all black male, he had such a terrible eye infection he could not get rid of when he was young, my girlfriend and I steeled ourselves to the very likely chance he would not make it. We made an effort to feed him separately however, and did all we could to treat his infection. After his eyes opened, (long after the others, due to the infection) they were so cloudy i was sure he was blind... however, he would eventually shake the infection, and has grown to be one of the most incredibly happy and loving creatures I have ever known. (we ended up keeping him and a very unique looking brindle female, giving up the other 7 kittens to friends and family)
The four of us have now moved up to Boston, and are all adjusting well to the cold (the cats have a great park view to keep them busy birdwatching). The only problems i have had with my kitties is their recurring worm infections, the constantly re-appearing eye infection, and the skittishness of my female. We have tried a number of worm meds, and while they seem to go away for awhile (and yes we scoured the litter box while treating, even replaced the whole thing) they always seem to come back. Can anyone recommend a really good worm treatment? I feel horrible that they keep coming back and bothering the little ones. My boy also frequently has crusty buildup in the corner of his right eye (the one where the infection was the worst) which is also extremely watery a lot of the time. We had him on conjunctivitis meds, but went through 2 tubes with no permanent change to the problem... any advice here would be very appreciated as well, like i said he is just the sweetest soul, and if there is anything i can do to remove all discomfort from his life i want to.... and i especially don't want to risk his long term health by trying other treatments on him. The final issue i wanted to bring up here is the skittish behavior of my girl. Her mother was by far the more standoffish of the 2 mothers (they are each from different mothers) and I see a lot of that nature come through in her, particularly around strangers or anytime there is a surprising noise. she is extremely affectionate as well, and just loves me to death. I enjoy letting her sleep in my lap, but as we do live in a city, I end up getting clawed in a delicate region as she panics from car horns, shouting outside, subway trains, people moving too quickly... really most anything can send her scrambling for safety (you would think she hadn't been coddled and protected since birth!) I feel for her, and can tell that her tension is always very high (she does a strange sort of backing-up in the corner move, with her tail up and twitching wildly, when she is excited or nervous) I was reading a little about some air-based pheromones for nerves on petmeds.com and was wondering if anyone had any experience with this. I would love to be able to help her relax a little bit, although if the boy relaxed anymore it would probably be hard to tell if he was still alive so I'm hesitant to plug in a pheromone dispersal medication.

Anyway, thanks for reading my little saga, and thanks in advance for any advice in paying back some of the happiness these two have already given me!
post #2 of 13
If those kittens have never been to a vet to be checked for worms or eye infections, shots, etc., then that is what you should do. Don't try to self-medicate when it comes to worms or eye infections.

Thank you for taking on the job of raising these kittens, but they do need a vet's care and spayed/neutered ASAP.
post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Guess you missed that part (long thread, i know!) But they have been to the vet 3 times so far, have been seen and prescribed for both problems (the problem is just that they keep recurring and its hard on my bank account to keep shelling out for vet visits... they have one coming up but i thought I'd see about getting some feedback from people on here who have probably been there). I also had all 9 spayed and neutered. (part of the reason I'm so poor! although they did give me a litter rate... and yes I saw the post on when you cant afford a vet... i don't expect this site to replace the visit, I'm just a concerned parent in the meantime)

edit: spellcheck grrrr
post #4 of 13
Do you know which kind of worms? That would definitely affect the possible treatments and the frequency (some need several treatments because of the worms' life cycles). For the conjuntivitis, it is often caused by a herpes infection that flares up with stress. You can give them L-Lysine (the tablets from the drugstore are pretty inexpensive) on a daily basis and then up the dose during a flare up to help them recover more quickly.

The pheremone stuff you are talking about is probably Feliway. It's a synthetic version of a pheremone that cats produce naturally. It may help your girl feel more calm because it replicates a comforting scent. I don't think it would make your boy too relaxed. It's worth a try for your girl though. You might also look into Rescue Remedy, a Bach Flower Essence that a lot of people find useful in calming down their cats.
post #5 of 13
What kind of worms are the vets' finding? I know some can be tough to get out, especially in the ferels. I do hope that you can resolve the problems soon.

And BLESS you for getting all the babies neutered/spayed before placing them - that is a lot of commitment and money - but really responsible
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
I will have to check the vet records... (or just ask my girlfriend... she has a way of remembering these things) as to the worms (all i know is they look like little white maggots... pretty disgusting). Sounds like the pheromone products may be worth a try, thanks for the suggestion! Is there anything that L-Lysine could harm in my cat if this is not really the issue? I am loathe to experiment if it could risk his health at all, but at the same time i want to get him relief as soon as possible... thanks for your attention and feedback folks!
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Most of them were pushing 4 months before i finally gave them up golden, i got VERY attached to them all... which is probably why it took me so long to give them up (I even turned down a few people who wanted to take them because i was afraid i wouldn't be able to visit them again!). In the end however, the logistics of having NINE cats in a 1 bedroom apartment... well, that and my reluctant cat-lover of a girlfriend, made me see reason and settle for 2! we really did luck out with the boy especially... I have had many many cats throughout my life, and I have never even heard of one like him... he always greets me like its the highlight of his day when i wake up and when i get home, and then follows me around everywhere i go. He rolls over on command (suggestion? he IS still a cat), plays fetch and rough houses like a puppy, and then is perfectly happy to become a purring ball of fluff when its time to chill out. When we first rescued the babies my girl was adamant we couldn't keep any (she is mildly allergic), but her attitude changed within about 2 weeks, largely in part to his uniquely loving and playful spirit. You can probably tell by my gushing fatherly affection why I want to clear up these issues for them as soon as possible. The only hint of a mean streak I ever see in him is his enjoyment in tormenting the girl. I have caught him chasing her around out of boredom and he is very possessive of me: if he notices her in my lap, he will go out of his way to chase her off, even if he isn't particularly interested in attention at the moment. For the most part they are very loving to each other though, which leads me to believe her stress level is more related to genetics then to her environment.
post #8 of 13
Glad to hear you are treating with vet worming medications. OTC stuff often doesn't work and can be harmful.

It sounds like your little ones have tapeworms. They get tapeworms from ingesting fleas, so I'd make sure you treat your home for fleas - they may be just re-infesting themselves over and over. You can get some diatomaceous earth at any garden centre which you can sprinkle (and sweep down into the fibres) into your carpets and even upholstery. DE is completely safe for the cats. Just be sure to not inhale the dust (not lethal or anything just uncomfortable). Even if the kitties ingest a little it won't hurt them, actually it will kill any internal parasites they may have.

I'm assuming you've had them checked for fleas, but you might want to treat them with Advantage or Revolution just the same. Although Mika is indoors only, I treat her from April until November with a topical flea treatment because Bijou goes outside and also we humans can bring in fleas on our boots and clothing.
post #9 of 13
To answer the L-Lysine question - they put it in some higher end pet foods. It's an amino acid, so no worries about it harming cats. You can even take it yourself.
post #10 of 13
Originally Posted by strange_wings View Post
To answer the L-Lysine question - they put it in some higher end pet foods. It's an amino acid, so no worries about it harming cats. You can even take it yourself.

Our shelter buys it at a health food store and adds some to all the kitties food if any one of them starts to sneeze.
post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! you have been very helpful. this is a great resource and I'm sure my feline roommates will appreciate the advice too!
post #12 of 13
Welcome to TCS - you and your girlfriend are truty amazing to have taken on the responsibility and cost of caring for nine kittens and their feral mothers. I hope that you can solve their health issues - you will get very good advice here from the many knowledgable and experienced cat owners. Have you posted pictures yet?
BTW - welcome to Boston! I hail from New Hampshire, but lived in Boston and the north shore for many years!
post #13 of 13
If the worms are "like little white maggots", sounds like tapeworms to me. And tapeworms come from fleas. Are you having a flea problem? Even if the cats don't have them on their fur, they still can be in the carpet/furniture.

Which means that you need to treat the kittens for fleas and your house. That might explain the reoccurring problem with the worms.
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