We had been sent to look at a kitty by our friend who fostered cats and kittens.
“Look at that TAIL!” I squealed as I took the little wisp of a cat out of a top cage. She was shaved because of her spaying and looked like a squirrel with a huge, puffy chocolate colored tail which was bigger than the cat itself.
The light blue eyes peered back at me as if to ask “so, what’s all the fuss about?”
“Well, is she what you want?” My hubby was trying to help me focus.
“Hum, I was thinking of a Himalayan type kitty but she is wonderful and not shy at all….”
About 20 minutes later we had rescued our 3rd cat and had gotten some freebies as Nine-Lives Rescue had a special going with Pet’s Mart at that point in time.
Katy Dancer was a pretty easy name. She didn’t walk, she flew – from chair to bed to table to couch. Never a shy moment even with all Mitzi’s hissing and slapping. Mitzi was our ten year old cat who thought our household should be a ONE CAT place..
Katy Dancer and Stormy Blue became good buds immediately. We had adopted Stormy four months before hoping to help keep Mitzi “young”. She almost hissed herself into a heart attack and hadn’t lightened up in those 4 months - hence the hunt for another kitty.
We were told she’d been a barn cat. She and her mother were both rescued and a week later Katy still had an indentation around her neck from the flea collar that had not been changed when she grew. Her mother had all the hair worn off her neck from a too tight flea collar. We didn’t know what else had happened before we rescued Katy but were soon to find out.
Our little girl would act starved – meowing and meowing she’d run to the food bowl and eat one bite and walk away. I had never seen a half grown cat do that.
One day I was in the master bathroom with her and she began to cough. I thought there was a piece of food on her chin and wiped it off with my finger to clean her up. I glanced at the “piece of food” to see a rectangular segment with two spiral parts within the rectangle. My microbiology class came back in a hurry and it was like I was reading the textbook again - all of this, AFTER I had rinsed the “piece of food” down the drain so I had nothing to show the vet.
I ran to the phone and called the vet’s office.
The assistant answered and assured me that tapeworms were not found in this part of Colorado. That did not add up to what I had seen. It would then make sense why this little blue eyed kitten would act starved and only eat one bite.
I called again and this time got the vet.
“Yes, we gave Katy worm medicine…..”
“Did it cover tapeworms?”
“Well, no, they aren’t common in Colorado but we do have them, why do you ask?”
I explained what I saw to the vet. “Bring her right in and we will give her the tapeworm treatment.”
Katy apparently had such a large tapeworm that she could only fit one bite of food in her tummy. Very soon she would have starved to death. Within 2 ½ weeks of taking the tapeworm medicine Katy Dancer had gained three pounds!
I then spoke to my friend who was a foster mother to many cats and kittens. She said she had a kitten who had recently died from a tapeworm before they figured out what was wrong with it. If you are squeamish you don’t have to read the next few sentences. I asked her how they diagnosed it after the kitten died. She said the worm crawled out of the kitten’s mouth.
Mick and I were SO thankful to have this little fur ball healthy and alive and being such an affectionate kitty. It was almost like she knew we saved her life and was thankful.
Interestingly enough, the little cream colored girl with brown points later turned into the exact color of “Himalayan” cat I was looking for to begin with. I didn’t know that pointed cats got darker as they aged and especially in colder climates like Colorado.
Both Katy and Stormy are thirteen this year. They are going from very dark back to the lighter color they were as middle aged kitties now that they are older (grayer?) They are very loved, total house cats who are active, playful and both can still catch flies in mid-air.
So, this is a head’s up for those adopting a partially grown cat. When most vets worm a kitty they aren’t worming then for tapeworms which can be very deadly. Thankfully for Katy we won this round and the tapeworm lost.
(C) Marijo Phelps all rights reserved. Use with proper credits