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sick stray without vet care

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
This weekend I found a stray cat by the house. Since my family owns two house cats that like to hang out in the yard sometimes, I caught her to keep her away from them. As it turns out she is pretty sick. She acts like she is starving but pukes up everything she eats, but keeps begging for more nonstop. I KNOW that she has worms because I saw them in the vomit. I think she may also have ear mites or an infection because she has brown crust in her ears and has lost the hair around them (she also shakes her head frequently).

I know that she HAS to go to the vet. The problem is that it is a holiday weekend and I'm pretty broke right now. Even though I have been around cats a lot, I've never personally owned one, so I'm not sure how to handle this. I'm in a rural area and over two hours away from the nearest city. The only shelter around here is a high kill shelter, and considering it's kitten season and her condition, she might not last long there. If there was some way that I could take her to the vet immediately and break down the bill payments, I think I could keep her here until she recovers, as long as she doesn't have anything too dangerous or contagious. But tomorrow is a holiday and she might need to make it a couple more days without vet care. For now I'm keeping her isolated from other animals and trying to minimize my contact with her until I can get her checked out, but in the meantime is there anything else I should be doing? How much should I feed her? Is there anything I can feed her that will be more gentle on her stomach? Is there anything I can give her to help her not feel so bad until I can get her to the vet?
post #2 of 13
If the worms came up in the vomit, they are roundworms (probably) they look like spaghetti? They are aggressive parasites, and the reason your cat is so ravenous is because they are eating everything that you feed her stripping her of protein. They multiply so quickly once inside the host that this is what is causing the vomiting. You want to push push push fluids. water with broth, water with tuna juice, water water water anyway you can. If this cat dehydrates, she could die. They can grow up to 5 inches inside your cat, and they can also kill her by blocking off his intestinal tract. I would really encourage you to find a vet that is open and just tell them you need roundworm medicine. I am guessing they are roundworms, because hookworms cause blood in the puking and in the stool and you mention no blood.

Over the counter wormers DO NOT work- you need medicine from the vet, several rounds of it-
post #3 of 13
Good luck with her Keriann. As hissy said, she needs that worming treatment ASAP as she may not make it another 2 days. As you said, most vets will do a payment plan with you and may even give you a substantial discount as she is a stray.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for the replies.

hissy - your description of the worms sounds like what I'm seeing with her. The worms that she has been vomiting up are maybe an inch or two long, thin, white, and coil up. I see about two to three each time she pukes. She has puked three times today (each time I fed her). Her vomit has no blood and her stool is solid and not unusual looking.

If these are roundworms, are there any threats to humans?
post #5 of 13
It really is rare, but it can happen. The larvae would have to get close to an opening like your eye or something. It is always wise when your cat has roundworms to clean up using rubber gloves and make sure and scrub your hands completely anytime you are handling the litter pan or cleaning up the sick. Your cat is plenty miserable right now. I hope you find a vet for her tomorrow.
post #6 of 13
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by hissy
Your cat is plenty miserable right now. I hope you find a vet for her tomorrow.
Me too! I'd take her tomorrow but I'm worried that nothing will be open because of memorial day. I'm not sure how vets do it, like if they are like the other businesses that are closed or if they are more like a hospital. Surely if someone has an emergency with their pet there is a way to get them to the vet right away?
post #7 of 13
Also, if you have children, don't let them anywhere near the cat or her litter box for now. When you dispose of her waste, make sure none of it gets into the enviroment as it can make the surrounding soil infectious.
post #8 of 13
Keriann, where are you located? Most areas will have an emergency clinic that you can go to.
post #9 of 13
Keriann, thank you for trying to rescue this poor kitty!

Those are indeed roundworms. She has a very, very bad infestation, and though others have told you this, she needs to see a vet ASAP. We also live in a rural area. All the vets out here have emergency numbers on their answering machines. We call the service, leave our number and they call back. If they agree it's an emergency, whichever vet is on duty meets us at the offices. With roundworm this bad, I'm pretty sure they'd consider it an emergency, though by now I'm sure you've either found her vet help or you've determined you have to wait until tomorrow.

In the meantime, you've done the right thing to isolate her from your cats. Roundworm can be difficult to get rid of, as they lay eggs, and any worming poison only kills the adults, so it has to be given two or three times every 2nd or 3rd week (depending upon the medication used) in order to cycle it through the lifecycle of the round worm. It's also likely she has other parasites, so when you do see the vet, please make sure they use a medication that will kill other worms.

If you have no interest in adopting this kitty, please discuss with the vet options for having him/her spayed/neutered! The vet may be aware of low cost services in the area, or may be willing to charge a reduced rate and you can discuss the option of a payment plan because it's not an owned cat, and you're doing it to help stop more homeless animals - vets usually try to help in those situations - especially in rural areas. You can also search for low-cost option using the link in my signature line, though many vets know of them. This way whether or not you decide to continue feeding her outside, at least when he/she is released, he/she won't be able to contribute to the terrible overpopulation problem. And if it's a male, he won't be left with the hormones that cause him to mark territory and fight with your cats, reducing the likelihood that they could be injured by him in the future.

Good luck, and please keep us posted if you can!

post #10 of 13
I was just wondering how the kitty was doing and what the vet said. Hopefully all goes well and kitty will be okay. Good luck! You are a very special person for taking this poor sick kitty into your home.

post #11 of 13
Thread Starter 
hi everyone thanks for the responses. sorry it took so long to get back to you guys but I have to use someone else's computer to post. The cat got vet care and he thinks she's going to be alright. She has worms and parasites, but other than that she checked out ok. I can't take care of the cat because I don't even live in this state, but am just visiting. I can't have pets where I am, but I have a good friend here who is going to take her in at least until she recovers and either keep her or try to find her a suitable home. She's already fixed and looks like she's housebroken too... must have been someone's pet at sometime, but from her condition it looks like she's been an outside cat for a while now.
post #12 of 13
great news about the little girl.
post #13 of 13
I'm so glad you were there to help! That really is wonderful of you, and thank you so much for the update! You're an angel, and I'm glad to hear kitty's going to be OK.
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