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Nursing Mom with Tape Worms

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
The stray cat that we have out here on our farm has tape worms, since she had her kittens she's been acting weird. I don't know if she's post partum or if her worms are bugging her or if she's tired of being a mamma. She'll let all four kitties attach to feed and then she'll roll over and knock them off. The rest of the time she is never in the box with them. She keeps her distance and then when she is ready to feed she'll feed. She doesn't seem to be protective of her kittens either. Just to see how she would react, my husband (the cat doesn't really like him) acting like he was going to attack her kittens and she turned her back and walked off. Is this a behavior I need to be concerned about. The kittens look fine still but is there something I need to do or will she snap out of it. Since she is nursing her kittens, can she pass the worms on to the kittens through her milk or was that already done invetro? I know I have to wait until 8 weeks to treat the kittens but can I treat the mom now with her nursing? Will it hurt the kittens? I'm kind of wanting to get an idea as to what I'm in for in the next few months. I didn't know if this would go in the health or behavior forum.....
post #2 of 11
Sparky - is she a young mom? She may not have the skills to care properly for the kittens. Also - how old are they?
post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
This is as I understand it (from the people who farm out here) that this is her second litter of kittens. The kittens are a little over a week old.
post #4 of 11
Sparky - To be honest I do not know how to help you with this serious question, so I have asked the other mods who are more knowledgable than I to assist!

Help will be in the way soon!
post #5 of 11
Yes, she can and in fact more than probably WILL pass those worms on to her kittens, but don't worm her as long as she is actively nursing. My suggestion is to wait until the kittens leave to go to their new homes. (I can only assume that you are hoping to place the kittens once mature enough to be away from Mom) Older kittens, even if already eating solids, will from time to time attempt to nurse. It is instinctual behavior and happens more readily in an insecure environment, such as is the life of barn cats.

I don't know if you are willing to take on any expense for this cat and her family, but the entire lot really needs to be seen by a vet. If Momma is "acting wierd" and babies may not be getting enough sustenance, then the vet can assist them.

As for your husband - ~please~ don't let him try to frighten those kitties anymore. It's just plain not necessary and it borders on being cruel. I completely understand that you are only attempting to determine Momma's level of committment to her babies, but take my word for it, that isn't the way to do it, my dear. The only thing you can hope to accomplish with such tactics is to allow those kitties to forever be frightened and mistrustful of human males. Think like a cat...and act accordingly. Momma sees this big male human who she already knows doesn't like her much making aggressive postures towards her babies. In such a position, with you in her place, how would YOU react? I believe the instinctual response is to ensure your own safety as best you can, and if you see an opportunity, grab the babies when you can, IF you can before Big Scary Male hurts one.

So long as Momma ~is~ nursing them, grooming them and staying close by the box - even if not actually in it with them, things are as they should be. Once they get a little older and a little more active, Momma will start to teach them the ropes. She'll be more interactive with them as they grow.

I hope the vet is a do-able prospect. They may have even more advice.

Best of luck, and please let us know how things go,

Gaye Flagg
post #6 of 11
great post Gaye and the only thing I can add is if this is the second litter for this mom, then she is probably tired of the chore of taking care of young ones.Once these kittens are 12 weeks old, please take mom in to get spayed.
post #7 of 11
Besides spaying you should also get all cats dewormed as well. Worms can definitely take their toll on a cat and should always be treated. Spaying is also very important. Dont forget that for every new kitten born dozens more die in the shelters...this is a good incentive to spay and neuter! You should look for low cost spay/neuter and vet care in your area to help you maintain these cats. Also, don't forget about vaccinations as well.Good luck
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. The kitties won't have too many ill effects of my husband trying to "attack" them since their eyes and ears aren't open yet and he didn't make any noise he just made the motions. As for placing the kittens, no one wants one. We live in a small town and I was just planning on keeping them since that would be the only option since we can't place them. I will probably take them all to the vet since looking at them doesn't cost anything and he can tell me what to do as far as treatment. Unfortunately we have no low cost spay/neuter shelters around here because we live in a rural community and there is only one vet in our area. We pay cash for all vet visits we take our cat to that she needs treatment. If I were to pay for spaying and neutering it would cost me upwards of $300 and that is just the spay/neuter process. We don't have that kind of money. I wish I could fix every stray we have out here but unfortunately I don't have that luxury. I wish I didn't have all these strays running around out here but that is my situation. Only one momma has adopted me the others stay clear of me because they are wild cats. I've still got six and a half weeks to decide what I'm doing and nothing is definate yet...so we'll see what happens.
post #9 of 11
Hey Sparkycat!

It is tough, I know, living in a small, rural community. However, I'll bet your vet, or as an even better resource, your vet techs, would know of a rescue or other similar type organization that would take those babies when the time comes. How far is the nearest "bigger" city? Maybe there is a low cost spay/neuter arrangement to be found there?

Best of luck,

post #10 of 11
Hey Sparky

Since you have some time, here is a website where you can contact this organization and see if they can help. They are one of the biggest promoters or spaying and neutering low cost mobile clinics and perhaps unknown to you, they might be close enough to help. They also maintain lists of people that would be willing to take the kittens off your hands when the time comes to place them in homes if they have the space available. It is worth it to email them and tell them what you are facing and see if they will help. Good luck......

Alley Cat Allies
post #11 of 11
........And hubby needs to know that $300 now will be a LOT less than a lifetime of future kitties to care for with food, etc......
Good luck with this Sparkycat! You have a good heart
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