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Unread 09-08-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default Question about tapeworm?

Long backstory:
I recently aquired an almost 2 year old longhair calico cat, Mochi (pictures below because I love the buttons off her so I like to share). A coworker of mine had gotten her as a kitten and brought her into work to feed her when I first met her. I ended up naming her for the coworker and falling completely head over heels for her and would watch her while said coworker was out of town.

A few weeks ago this girl decided to move in with a new boyfriend who was allergic to cats, long story short he decided to liberate her indoor cat in the woods and I spent a good 4 hours finding her and bringing her to my house. The coworker agreed to give her to me and I was thrilled, I'd been wanting her since I met her anyways!

Needless to say she was completely stressed out and almost immediately went into heat, peed on everything, and wouldn't leave my side, she slept on my neck at night and my lap when I used the bathroom. I decided the first thing to do was get her fixed and have a vet check up. The vet was terrible which is another story entirely, but she ended up fixed and pronounced full 'o tapeworm. Yay. After I brought her home from the doctor a friend informed me that she could have had tapeworm for ages and that it could not only be the reason for her tiny size (she's smaller than most 6 month old kittens) but if it has been there for a long time could cause other health problems. Is this true, should I be concerned?

And on an odd note, she eats plastic when she is upset. Like grocery bags and ziplock bags. Is this normal and how do I get her to stop? It cannot be healthy.....


helping me fill the bathtub


reminding me that she is more important than making dinner...unless it's for her
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Unread 09-08-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hi and welcome to you and Mochi, she is a beautiful kitty and lucky that she has you As far as I know tapeworms do not cause long term problems in cats, they can deprive them of nutrients whilst they have them and they may not look their best but as long as you treat Mochi with worming treatment she should recover fine.

The plastic bag is a strange thing - cats can develop obsessive behaviour (my Ben used to repeatedly claw paper), but eating plastic is not a good thing, so just try and keep the bags out of sight!
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Unread 09-08-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Thanks, supersmithy, I couldn't find anything on the internet (actually how I stumbled upon this place) about it affecting her long term, but I should worry professionally because I'm darn good at it...

And I'm keeping plastic away from her, and hoping the fixing may reduce her stress enough to stop the behavior altogether, it's diminished a lot since she's gotten fixed and calmed down. I gather from her previous owner it mostly happened when she'd go into heat. I cannot imagine why she didn't get her fixed, since due to her size pregnancy would just not be a good idea...
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Unread 09-09-2009   #4 (permalink)
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Hello to you & Mochi! She is really beautiful, I can't believe someone would just 'release' her and I'm so glad she's with you now.
Both my cats have had tapeworms after becoming infected after a flea out break. As long as she has had a dewormer & is free from fleas I can't see her suffering any long term damage, just keep an eye out to make sure she is rid of the tapeworm completely. She may just be a small cat, but she will keep growing for at least another 18 months so she has plenty of time yet!
One of my cats Ripley likes to lick & eat plastic too, I just have to keep it out of her way. She will eat elastic bands too if she gets the chance.
Love the photos, my cats often come & stare at me if I'm in the bath and Newt loves to cuddle up on my knee and makes me feel really guilty if I have to move her for something as insignificant as my dinner!
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Unread 09-12-2009   #5 (permalink)
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Well, I was cleaning out the litter box today and I found something red and fuzzy ... some kind of string or material ... so, yeah, cats eat weird things

My Nefrit gets tape worms all the time. Yeah, they come from fleas ... the tapeworms are in the flea, and the cat eats the flea when grooming herself. Your vet probably gave Mochi a pill or something. It should get rid of all the worms. If it doesn't, you will know. Eventually, you will see them coming out of her butt (how disgusting ... but true ) ... they will look like little grains of white rice. You might also find them in the litter box.

As for obsessive behavior ... she's just stressed. (I'm guessing). Love her like crazy (which you're no doubt doing) but also entertain her by playing with her ... she's a kitten, so new toys are always awesome in her book. When Nefrit was a kitten, she liked the wands with the string and feathers attached. She would cut flips in the air trying to catch them lol Bastet liked the little fake mice. I would throw them and she would carry them back to me, over and over and over again.

Dunno if you've ever owned a cat before, but this is just how they are. They do weird things. They're a lot like two year olds. They get into weird stuff, eat things they shouldn't, poop and pee where they shouldn't ... but then they're so gosh darn cute you can't ever get mad at them lol
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Unread 09-13-2009   #6 (permalink)
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Welcome aboard!!!!!! Mochi is precious. I agree with Hallan, how could anyone just release her outside, especially if she was an indoor cat, simply heartless! Hope her boyfriends worth it...?????


Glad she found a loving home with you...
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Unread 09-14-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks everyone, for responding, it feels great to be part of such a caring community!

I'm glad to report, she hasn't eaten a ziplock bag since I posted (although she did a number on a bowl of after dinner mints we had on the counter..plastic and dinner mints, you are one high class kitty) and I'm thinking it was just stress related. And as for the worms, she seems no worse for the wear so I can quit worrying! Thanks again everyone!
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Unread 10-02-2009   #8 (permalink)
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Default Tapeworm Dewormer Not Working on my Cat - Help!

Hi Everyone,

I saw this post and thought someone may be able to help. I just adopted a cat from the SPCA on Sept. 25th. She is almost identical to Mochi and is a very sweet girl. When I found her at the SPCA, I just fell in love with her and had to bring her home with me. It was a good thing I did. I took her home and the first night we had her, she went to the bathroom in the litter box (thank god!) and I found that she had a horrible tapeworm infestation. I've had cats in the past who've had tapeworm, but nothing like this. She was supposed to have been dewormed and defleaed when I adopted her and they said they dewormed her using Milbemax and Advantage on Sept. 9th. I don't think this was done because the girl filling out the paperwork couldn't find any confirmation of this in her file and filled the information out and back-dated it in front of me. There is no way that in the 16 days she was at the SPCA in her own cage with her own litter box that someone wouldn't have noticed she had a horrible case of tapeworms. I took her back to the SPCA on the 26th, they gave her Cestex while I was there and said it should take 24 to 48 hours before the worms were killed. I also treated her with Advantage that night, as I saw a lot of flea dirt on her tummy and didn't want to treat for worms and then have her reinfested because of fleas. Not only was there flea dirt, but her belly fur was so matted, when I took her to the vet on the 27th for her free check-up, they had to shave her tummy. Here it is, Oct. 1st and she is still showing substantial live tapeworm segments in her feces. I was told by the vet not to worry if she passes dead segments, but when I called them today, they were suprised she was still passing live ones. I treated her again today with Milbemax and am worried this will not work. I feel so bad for this beautiful, affectionate animal - she suffered as a stray before coming to the SPCA and then suffered while she was supposedly "rescued" by them and is still having problems. Not only that, but I've had to give her a poisonous substance to try to kill the worms twice in a week. Even the vet couldn't believe I got her from the SPCA because of the condition she was in. Anyway, has anyone come across a case of cat tapeworm where the medication didn't work? I am worried that she will not be able to get rid of them...

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!
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Unread 10-02-2009   #9 (permalink)
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Honestly, when your vet is "surprised" the medication isn't working, it may be time to find a new vet.

I can't remember the name of the medication my two cats were recently given (I was dealing with an AWFUL flea infestation), but it was in the form of a tiny pill/tablet.

Another possibility is that the fleas are returning to kitty and kitty is continuously being infected with tapeworms. Do you still find fleas even with the Advantage? That could mean your home has become infested, and you'll have to probably call an exterminator (otherwise you'll end up wasting a looooot of money, like me).

Obviously, I can't offer medical advice :-/ It's frustrating that you have a doctor who's basically just scratching his/her head here. Get a second opinion!

Btw, what is this "poisonous substance" you're giving her? The tapeworm pill is pretty harmless ... except to tapeworms!
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Unread 10-02-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Hi Alleyoop,

When my two cats had tapeworm it took a couple of doses of de-worming tablets from the vet and several flea treatments before they were completely clear. I think they were re-infecting themselves with the tapeworm through swallowing fleas while grooming themselves.
Please don't worry that she'll never be rid of them, it may just take a couple of doses of tablets & making sure she is flea free.
Well done for giving this cat such a caring home, what's her name & do you have any photos of her yet? We love cat pictures here!
I'm Helen, I have two cats.
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