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I'm cat sitting/someone is now sick?!!!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I am watching 3 kittys for 10 days. I am 4 days into it now. I just met these cats 4 days ago. 2 girls, 1 boy. all around 6-8 yrs old. Boy cat goes outside at night, comes home in the am to eat/sleep. I am watching these cats in their own home. I have a 9 yrs kitty--Rosie--who does not go outside. Anyhow...day 2 I notice someone has a runny stool...diarrhea maybe? I am not sure...it was flat,but like putty sortof? I wasn't going to call my neighbor unless it continued. So next day ...2 more runny stools....1 in the morning and 1 that was sortof formed on the end of it in the late afternoon. It was better than the early morning stool but still not solid. Should I be worried here? I called her and she said to give it a couple more days and then maybe she could get her friend to take them to the vet? I did also notice (and this I called my vet on and a really nice vet-tech helped me on the phone) TINY TINY GRAIN LOOKING things--white--like rice but so very much smaller....on her sofa. Now I thought maybe these were tape worm segments--but the vet-tech said that they sound too small to be that. And all these rice-looking things are exactly the same size. Aren't tape segments irregular in size? My kitty has never had tapes so I am not very familiar. I explained really good on the phone what these things looked like and she could not come up with what they might be. I have not seen any of these move...and oh!!!! On one of the cats beds? I found a ton of these things...but they were turned yellow...almost like a golden color. I took the bed outside and shook it out really good ..but it weirded me out. I don't know if the diarrhea had something to do with the grain looking things I am seeing? Or could one of the kitty's just be stressed out 'cuz I am a new person taking care of them and they got a nervous tummy? They are very loving towards me and seem to like me now...first two days one girl kitty would not come out from under the sofa and now she comes right up to me. The other two seemed to like me right away and were not shy. I was thinking maybe the shy kitty had the "runs" cuz she was scared? nervous? Could that be it? Or do we maybe have a worm situation here causing the runs? I don't know how to bring this up to my neighbor because she said they have never had diarrhea in all the time she's had them (6 yrs?) I almost feel like she won't beieve me if I say they might have a worm? You have to really "look" to see these white things....they are on the carpet, on the sofa, on the table....anyone have any ideas? How shoud I word it to my neighbor so she is not offended that I think her cats might have worms? Or should I not say anything? And the stool thing....when is it worrisome --I mean, these are not full-fledged watery stools--but they are not normal either...not normal to what I would consider a formed,shaped,solid kitty poop. What should I do here? thanks for any/all help.
post #2 of 13
Sounds like tapeworm egg casing - I think you're right. I'd ask to see the vet .

Definitely call your neighbour and see when the last time anyone was wormed. It's quite possible they got them from fleas, check the cats carefully for flea dirt.
post #3 of 13
Yes, the rice like things are worms. I wouldn't worry about them, they are definitely not an emergency. As a cats' sitter, I would not hurry to the vet with the cats. They can comfortably wait -- while the worms are bothering you more, by far, than the cats (who likely are not bothered at all). The cats' person should not be offended! Most cats have worms at some time in their lives, many cats live with them all the time.
Nor are soft stools a cause for major concern. Real diarrhea will be liquid, and likely frequent as well. If you're concerned about fluids, try leaving bowls of water around the house in places other than where the cats usually find their water bowl. Cats like to find water in different places, and will likely drink more. The cat who lives with me likes the water bowls he finds in the livingroom and on the back porch far more than the water bowl I leave next to his food bowls.
Relax, have fun.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I will ask her about the worming thing.

I did ask her before she left who her vet was ...and she couldn't remember the name--not a good sign. She told me she only had to "use them" once last year? I know who it is because I know the area she described but the vet probably isn't even familiar with all 3 cats--sounds like only 1 went for shots one time...probably the outdoor kitty. Do tapeworms cause diarrhea?

What does flea dirt look like? I am not even sure what a flea looks like? I have never had any issues with fleas so I am not familiar.Could I transfer fleas from her house to mine if she has them in her house? Would I see them?
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much. I will try not to worry. I have not had to deal with this type of thing before. How many stools would be considered "frequent"? (so far--there hasn't been more than 2 in 24hrs that are runny) I like the idea about the water bowls...they have 3 now ..I will add a couple more. Thanks!
post #6 of 13
I would worry about it a little just because you are cat-sitting and don't know these cats well. They may be acting very strangely and you'd have no idea. I think the best thing to do it get in touch with your neighbour and see how she feels. However, I'm worried how far it has progressed so far with out treatment. If they are shedding worm casings all over the house this may well be far-gone into a very serious situation. Obviously they are coming back in a little less then a week & this could probably wait that long, but they may want you to take them in right now.

All worms irritate the digestive tract & cause irregularities in bowl movements. Blood in the stool is a very obvious sign that often comes with heavy worm infestation.

I wouldn't say 2 in 24 hours is very frequent, but you have to compare that to the total number the cats are having in that time. It sounds like only one of them is very sick. The boy probably holds it & poops outside more then in (It know our indoor/outdoor does).

Flea dirt looks like just regular dirt, but when you smear it on a paper towel with some water, it leaves a red streak. The best place to look for fleas is at the neck & base of the tail. You probably won't see much because they don't like the light and will scurry away as soon as you part the hair, but if you see something moving - you have fleas . I know with Peaches they were jumping off her. Yuck!!!

Yes you could easily transfer fleas from one house to another with out knowing it then give them to Rosie. They'll just hop a ride on your clothes or you, that's why I'd check these guys carefully. It wouldn't be hard for the boy to pick them up hunting outside.
post #7 of 13
Flea dirt is little black specks you can see when they are left behind when the cat spends some time on lighter colored bedding, carpet and the like. Favorite napping spots are good places to look. You can also buy a flea comb -- when you comb a cat with fleas, you'll remove the little black specks. Put them on a wet/ very damp paper towel, and watch them turn into blood colored specs.

Yes, you can carry them from one house to another, especially if fleas like you. It's not a given that they will hitch a ride on you, but some people seem to be particularly attractive to fleas (the way some are to mosquitoes). You'll be able to see them -- tiny jumping bugs -- on light colored carpet or fabric especially.

You can also see that a cat is troubled by them; she will be biting and scratching. On a light colored cat, you may even see the fleas, if you part the hair. When there are a lot of fleas and the cat is getting desperate for relief from them, she will start jumping up onto places like the kitchen counter, tables and the like -- places off the floor & without fabric on them -- to sleep.

Cats who go outdoors are pretty certain to pick up fleas, and then share them with any other animals in the house. I treat my cat (who goes outdoors) with Advantage, recommended by the vet. I guess you will want to ask the cats' person before you do that, depending on how distressed the cat(s) are (some are more distressed by them, even allergic to the bites, than others). I take care of my downstairs neighbor's cat when she's away. Once while I was feeding him I discovered he was badly infested -- he had a lot of scabs on his neck from scratching, and was sleeping on the kitchen counter to try to get away from them. He was miserable. I went ahead & put Advantage on him, and left her a note telling her I had & why. She didn't mind. But, people are different.

For me, bottom line would be, how uncomfortable are the cats?

If you find fleas or the evidence of them & want to be certain not to share them with your cat, you can put Advantage on her now.
post #8 of 13
Thread Starter 
oh wow! Thanks.. i think? lol. I am not excited about bringing fleas home to Rosie. OK...so here is what I have seen so far: No one (not even boy kitty) is scratching or itching a lot--just your normal quick itch on the ear/leg whatever. I usually spend one hour in the a.m. and 1/2hr when I bring the mail in and 1 hr. before dark with them. They actually seem rather healthy/happy--but again, who knows what goes on when I am not there to see. I know they are all eating because I have seen each of them eat in front of me. I have seen two of the three drink water. They are all alert/friendly when I arrive...purring and rubbing on me and each other. They just don't "look or act" like they are uncomfortable. So, I guess I will just wait
it out and see if the diarrhea gets worse/more frequent --if it does I will call and tell her they need to get a vet now! She would have someone she knows take them all in ...atleast that is what she told me on the phone.
about FLEAS!!
If I take my clothes off before I come into my house would that eliminate risk of fleas coming into my home? I have been getting undressed in my garage and leaving my clothes out there...then putting them back on when I next go over to her house. At night I have been washing them in hot water/drying in dryer for the next day. My husband thinks I am overboard with this...but I don't want my Rosie girl to get sick/fleas/whatever these guys might have.?! Um...could fleas jump into my hair????? ugh. Is advantage over the counter or do i need to go to my vet for it?
Thanks again for all the input!
post #9 of 13
Ok - don't do anything without her consent. NOTHING.
DO CALL her for permission to take the cat to the vet if necessary. Tell HER to call the vet to authorize you to take the kitty to the vet...

Here is why... It sounds to me, and again, I AM NOT A VET, so this is NOT a diagnostic, that this cat is infested with parasites. As long as he is eating, drinking, etc, he can wait for her to come in, unless he has some pretty bad diarrhea, not lose stools... For what you are describing, he has loose stools.

Now, what IMO you SHOULD absolutely do, is to keep all these kitties INSIDE for the remaining of her trip...
There would be nooooo way I would be responsible for someone's cat and leave them to sleep outside! Can you imagine if they get hit by a car? Forget the tapeworm!
I catsit for my neighbors indoor/outdoors cats all the time... guess what? Under my watch, indoors ONLY! While you are pet sitting, you are not a petsitter, you are responsible for their lives... so keep it with upmost care - and that you can only do it inside of the house - period.
post #10 of 13
They probably will not get into the hair on your head, unless you lie down on the carpet with your head down on it, or nuzzle a cat's fur with your head. If you don't shave your legs, and sit down on the floor, they could easily jump for your leg hair. But there are a lot of fleas around, by the time that happens, in my experience.

Advantage is vet recommended, but sold over the counter in pet supply stores. Not cheaply. Long term, you'd probably find a better price on line. But it doesn't sound like your cat would need repeated treatments. (Tho I have known indoor cats to get fleas when a bad season is happening.)

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
I was just over checking on these guys for final time tonite...everyone seems ok. No diarrhea in box I also found a comb...not a "flea" comb but a close tooth one. I checked them all and then used a paper towel -damp-on the stuff I combed out and did not see any dirt/blood streaks. I also tried to watch them close to see if anything "jumped" off of them when I was petting them. Nothing that way. Then I checked where they have been laying when I get there and I did not see any flea dirt/specks of dirt like stuff. Hard to say on the one sofa they lay on because it's dark blue plaid fabric...but I looked anyhow for "stuff" on it. I hope tomorrow is a good day and I find no diarrhea and everyone is ok. Send good vibes for these 3 ok?! Thanks again!!!!!!!!
post #12 of 13
Well that's good news! If they had fleas bad enough to cause tapeworm presumably you would have found them .

Hopefully they are just a little upset about someone new taking care of them I hope it clears up soon! 6 more days...
post #13 of 13
Tapeworms are indeed no fun for the cats and stealing much needed nutrients from them.

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