Cause to grieve

February 5, 2011

All of us have at some moment in our lives been acquainted with the gripping paralysis of grief in losing a beloved pet.  Unfortunately, we who rescue animals cannot always rescue every animal we find.  There are things that cannot be prevented or ignored; one of these problems is the horrifying outcome of Feline Internal Parasites.

Internal Parasites in Cats

By Darlene Zagata, eHow Contributor
Internal Parasites in Cats

Internal Parasites in Cats
Allyson Ricketts/

Internal parasites is a common condition that plagues many cats. Internal parasites such as worms can live in a cat’s digestive system. Most often they do not cause any harm and owners may not even realize their cat has them, but a severe infestation of internal parasites can cause illness.


  1. There are several different types of feline internal parasites, but the four most common include the roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. Roundworms are the most common type of internal parasite. They resemble spaghetti and usually don’t cause any severe illness. Roundworms are often found in kittens. This is because they can lie dormant in the mother and affect her unborn offspring. The kittens are born with the worms and should be wormed within a couple of months following birth.

    The hookworm is a parasite that attaches itself to the wall of the intestine and feeds on blood. The hookworm is not as common as the roundworm, but an infestation of hookworms can cause anemia and intestinal illness.

    Whipworms are more common in dogs, although there are species that infect cats as well. The whipworm looks like a piece of thread and lives in the large intestine.

    Tapeworms are segmented worms that are often transmitted through fleas or ingesting rodents or other infected wildlife. Tapeworms live in the intestine and rarely cause illness. They are often detected when segments that are small, white and resemble grains of rice are passed in the stool. A tapeworm infestation cannot be treated with over-the-counter medication. It is necessary to see a veterinarian for treatment of tapeworms.

  2. Identification

  3. There are other internal parasites that may infect a cat beside worms. Coccidia are microscopic parasites that attach to the lining of the intestine. These parasites reproduce in the cells that line the intestinal tract, killing the cell in the process. Coccidia is one of the most common parasites found in cats and kittens. It can be contracted through contaminated feces or ingesting rodents or other contaminated sources.

    Toxoplasmosis is a parasite that lives in the intestines. It can be contracted through contaminated feces or consuming contaminated food or water. It is also transmitted through the ingestion of infected rodents or other wildlife. Toxoplasmosis can cause illness and interfere with digestion.

    Giardia is a one-celled parasite that invades the gastrointestinal tract and causes diarrhea. Giardia can be contracted through infected water. Usually this doesn’t cause severe harm other than temporary diarrhea, but severe diarrhea and subsequent dehydration can occur in young kittens or a debilitated cat.

  4. Significance

  5. Heartworm is another internal parasite that may infect felines, although it is rare. Heartworm is more common in dogs since cats are not a natural host for this parasite. If a feline does become infected with the heartworm parasite, the heartworm usually dies and causes no harm. If the heartworm does manage to mature and live in a feline, death could occur rapidly due to obstruction of the heart’s blood vessels. According to information at, male cats are more susceptible to heartworm disease than females, although the reason for this is unknown. Signs of heartworm infection can include loss of appetite, vomiting, weight loss and respiratory distress.
  6. Effects

  7. Most internal parasites cause the same or similar symptoms, making it hard to determine what type of parasite has infected your pet. Certain parasites such as the tapeworm may be distinguished by the appearance in the stool. But even so, it is important to note that over-the-counter worm medication may not solve the problem depending on the type of parasite. Different parasitic infections often require different treatment. Below is a list of common symptoms caused by internal parasites, but it should also be noted that some cats may not show any symptoms.

    Weight loss
    Pot-bellied appearance
    Decrease in appetite

  8. Considerations

  9. If internal parasites are found during a routine veterinary exam, cat owners may be surprised especially if the cat is otherwise healthy and has shown no symptoms. Even though your cat may seem perfectly healthy, untreated worm infestations can cause debilitation. A cat with worms is not getting proper nutrition because the worms are depriving the pet of needed nutrients. Although a relatively healthy cat may not have any immediate health problems, over time the cat could become weakened and suffer ill health.
  10. Prevention/Solution

  11. The most common means of transmission of intestinal parasites is through contaminated feces and the consumption of infected wildlife and other sources. Many cat owners attempt to eliminate an infestation of worms through the use of an over-the-counter dewormer. While these medications can be effective to a degree, they need to be repeated since worm infestations can recur. Just because a cat has been dewormed once does not mean that it will stay worm free. The best course of action is prevention. Clean litter boxes thoroughly and take the proper steps to eliminate fleas. You may want to consider keeping your cat indoors since cats that are permitted to go outside are more prone to parasitic infestations because they may come in contact with contaminated soil, water or eat infected rodents.

Read more: Internal Parasites in Cats |

Sometimes, FIP cannot be cured, as was the unfortunate case in our dear little Clank.

Clank was born 8-15-10, a very young kitten in Karen’s care.  He at one point was one of the only surviving litter members, most of whom also succumbed to FIP.  Clank seemed to have been spared, until a few weeks ago when Karen realized how sluggish he was acting, and how ill he seemed.  The vet confirmed the worst, and Karen opted to put Clank down.  So Clank, we will always remember you and your sweet disposition.



January 4, 2011

I have always been a great advocate for adoption, mainly because all of our cats are in some way adopted or rescued.  While working with Catnip And Tails I came across the sweetest rare female orange tabby, and I’m proud to say that soon I will be bringing NOVA home.  She will join Spooky and I’m sure that she will be a fantastic companion for us both!

Happy Mew Year!

January 4, 2011

Gatti Italiani e Buon Natale!

December 25, 2010


I am writing this post from the beautiful, romantic country of Italy.  Specifically, we are in Sicily, not too far from Mount Etna.  I’ve been enjoying the company of my maternal family and six cats – yes, I said six.  All of them are outdoor cats, and most of them are quite skittish, but they inspired me to write a post here about how cats are viewed in Italian society.  If you compare cats in Italy to cats in, say, Algeria, they have it much better here.  Unfortunately, the overpopulation of cats in Algeria is so badly handled that people actually shoot them on sight.  Because they do not have a proper system of spaying, neutering, and rescue, many cats perish this way.  But in Italy, things are a bit different.

It is true that you see cats roaming the streets here, and while not all of them are abandoned, they get along just fine.  People are quite kindhearted, and while people make the situation out to be horrific (see this article for information), it’s not as bad as most think.  Cats, as they are in the States, are kept inside as pets, but lots of people keep cats as outdoor mousing animals.  They are fed well, and probably fed overmuch, and have the run of the property.  While they run around everywhere, they usually return home.  There are shelters for them, and they are protected and cared for.  The six my family keep here, for example, also keep harmful critters away from the chicken coop, and keep pests away from small greenhouse crops and citrus trees.  There is a huge billboard just outside of Catania that currently boasts a sweet photo of a small, fluffy black-and-white kitten with a Santa cap, and telling all about animal beneficiary organizations in Sicily and all over Italy.

Of course, if the overpopulation problem is really horrifying, it is not in the general area I am visiting.  In larger cities, for example, cats can be badly neglected and abandoned.  Generally, however, cats are viewed as good luck and sweet pets.  Just as in the States, Italian culture tends to view animal cruelty as criminal and despicable.  Here, in fact, is an excerpt from the Animal Cruelty Wikipedia page:

Acts of cruelty against animals can be punished with imprisonment, for a minimum of three months up to a maximum of three years, and with a fine ranging from a minimum of 3.000,00 Euro to a maximum of 160.000,00 Euro, as for the law n°189/2004.[24] The law was passed mainly to crush the phenomenon of dog fighting, which in Italy is a clandestine blood sport fully controlled by organized crime.  (CREDIT WIKIPEDIA)

Spaying and neutering here is a difficult thing for me to gauge.  More or less, cats kept outside are not fixed.  My family, for example, tends to let them have kittens so that they can have more mousers, and to refresh their “farm” population.  The property specifically is not a farm, it is a large piece of land fenced in with a house, pool, tennis court, gardens, trees, chicken coop, dog pen, and outbuildings, plus a greenhouse.  It is an expansive property, and very beautiful, and something that most Americans would not have in this particular style.  So here, the cats have plenty of shelter in bad weather, and many places to hide themselves if they feel threatened.  Generally, my family in itself is an animal-loving one, and thus I get my enjoyment for the company of animals in general.

Today is Christmas for us here in Italy!  We are celebrating in the best Italian style:  Food, food, more food, presents, and more presents, and lots of company, family, and conversation.  So, I must leave you with a warm benediction:

Buon Natale, Auguri a tutti!

Italian Cats!

December 18, 2010

As you can see, I’m very much enjoying myself in Italy.  I am near Mount Etna, in Mascalucia, which is in Catania, which is in Sicily, Italy.  I’m loving everything about this trip, especially visiting all of my family and spending time.  But there are six cats total living on my aunt’s property, and two who enjoy my company somewhat.  They are so cute, and so feral seeming, yet they depend on my family for food.  They are outdoor-roaming cats, yet they are entirely well taken care of.

I will be posting more pictures when I can!

Fuzz on my sweater!

December 10, 2010

Every Sunday morning, I arrive at ten-thirty in the morning sharp to meet Karen at Petco.  She is the mother of all foster mothers, and a warrior for the fostering community.  Depending on the capacity of cats in the kennels that day, we clean four to five cages, including litter boxes and kitty messes.  We strive to keep the cages looking their best, even when the cats inside of them mess up the cage within ten seconds of the cleaning!  We also take time to socialize with each cat, and to talk with customers at Petco, who want to know how they can adopt, how old is this cat, and other such questions.  We also do our share of hoping and praying that our “kids” get adopted very, very soon.  Given that we have many adult cats as well as kittens, we tend to really root for the adults, because folks tend to overlook them, especially when there are kittens in the vicinity, or the mention/possibility of kittens in a foster home somewhere.  And yes, we have plenty of kittens!  But the adults tend to outnumber the kittens, and they are all wonderful and deserve great homes, too!

We don’t get paid for this, let’s just get that straight.  Petco allows us to have our kennels there so that we can save more cats and spread awareness.  Since I began volunteering, I’ve done a ton of networking, online and off, to assure that each cat will get a permanent home.  Of course, we can’t do everything.  That’s why we have others in our rescue organization, including a foster coordinator who keeps track of the foster homes taking care of various felines.    But we need more people!  Mainly, we would love more foster homes, but if you have time, volunteering is a great way to make a difference, especially if you have talents (like my web-design skills) to donate to the cause.  But if you don’t have time, perhaps you can donate!

Money is not the only thing we look for, although we do take care of vet bills ourselves, and depend on some fundraising to pay these bills.  Other items we need are as follows:  Blankets, kitty beds, cat and kitten food, wet food, kitten formula, toys, treats, and other such things cats like.  You can also donate pop bottles and cans to help raise money, and used ink cartridges for recycling.  You can look in the sidebar for our other links, like our wishlist and donation page.

Quick Video Share – Repurrters

December 10, 2010

Latest adoption

December 10, 2010

Rusty got adopted Wednesday night by a wonderful family with children.

Rusty has been one of my favorite cats at the L Street Petco location.  He is so super loveable that honestly I was flabbergasted that he stayed in the kennels for the month of Sundays I have been volunteering at Catnip And Tails Rescue!  He’s such a big fluffy dude, and enjoys being petted so much it seems ridiculous…

So congratulations, Rusty.  Finally, FINALLY someone came through for you!

“Sprinkles” in her new home.

December 6, 2010

Pretty little calico girl Sprinkles, now renamed Skink, is in her new home.  Her new human says,

”She is doing just great.  Walked into my house, laid down on the tree skirt under the Xmas tree, and smiled at me.  ‘I’m home,’ she said.”

Congrats, Skink!

Congratulations, Esmerelda and Cash!

December 5, 2010

Today I had the honor of seeing Karen send out Esmerelda and Cash for adoption with a wonderful couple.  I can sense a fur-ever home, and this is it for those two!

So, congratulations to these two sweet kittens on their brand new home!