Taken in stray kitten with a few health concerns

sierramist

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Hi everyone!

I haven't posted in a long time, since we lost our dear Gunter last year.

But kitties in need always seem to find my husband and I, and during our morning walk yesterday, a calico kitten (Maybe 12-14 weeks? I'm bad at guesstimating age.) came bounding up to us meowing a little "Meep!" She was obviously emaciated and in need of some quick help, but looked good otherwise.

We brought her home and set her up in my office/studio, which is two closed doors away from our other three cats. Initially we were hoping to find her home or a new home for her, but 1) no luck and 2) we're getting a little attached.

Tried to make a appointment with our usual vet, but the earliest they can get us in is a week from tomorrow, so I'm trying to manage her few health issues in the meantime, which are:
  • She's very underweight, skin and bones, and is constantly ravenous. So far we've been giving small meals (like 1/4 of a small can of food) every 2-3 hours, supplemented with treats and a little kibble. We may try giving her some boiled chicken, too. Any other ideas on how to give her some quick nourishment and gain weight?

  • Initially I didn't see a single sign of fleas on her. No obvious flea dirt while parting her fur all over her body or anything, and I haven't seen any actual fleas. However, after laying on my desk I saw mayyyybe 2-3 little pieces of flea dirt, so there has to be some sort of small presence and I want to get in front of it. She's too small for any topicals, so the vet recommended a bath with Dawn. I think we're going to attempt this and see how it goes! I also plan to thoroughly vacuum the area every day, but I'm still worried about carrying eggs back into the main house with our other 3 kitties since I work over here in my office all day with the new girl on my lap.

  • She hadn't been scratching much at all either until just a couple of hours ago, and now seems to have a very itchy ear. She's been digging at it on and off. I don't see obvious signs of mites, but there is some medium-brown wax in there. I don't have access to any miticides at present, either. Are there any home remedies that might work? I've heard diluted apple cider vinegar can help? Just wait until her appointment and see?
Other than those three items (and probably needed de-wormed), she's doing great! Eating like a champ and did her first poop today and it was just the right consistency. Playing and sleeping and curious about everything. I would have loved to get her to the vet sooner to rule out any major issues, but hoping for the best and limping along until next week. Any advice is appreciated, it's been a minute since we've taken in a stray. And the big question remains — do we keep her? ;)

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PushPurrCatPaws

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She's lovely! I can see why you are getting attached already. She looks older than "12-14" weeks. I think if you found her outside, it might almost be a guarantee that she's been introduced to fleas and mites (and, hopefully, not a tom cat!) Do you think anyone has lost a cat in your neighborhood? If so, she might already be on flea meds and spayed. Have you checked if she is microchipped?

Hope she has a great vet visit!
 
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sierramist

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She's lovely! I can see why you are getting attached already. She looks older than "12-14" weeks. I think if you found her outside, it might almost be a guarantee that she's been introduced to fleas and mites (and, hopefully, not a tom cat!) Do you think anyone has lost a cat in your neighborhood? If so, she might already be on flea meds and spayed. Have you checked if she is microchipped?

Hope she has a great vet visit!
Thanks! Yes, I can never tell age very well, ha ha. What are major indicators?

I've made social posts and checked with neighbors, but no one seems to be missing her. There are unfortunately a lot of stray/feral cats in our town, so I wouldn't be surprised if she's been on her own — BUT, the fact she's generally social (a tad skittish at sounds, though, and isn't a fan of being picked up) makes me wonder. We'll scan her for a chip at the vet, just in case!
 

stephanietx

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Her ravenous appetite could be from parasites. I would try to get her into a different vet ASAP. She needs to be dewormed and a flea treatment as well as a general check up.
 
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sierramist

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Her ravenous appetite could be from parasites. I would try to get her into a different vet ASAP. She needs to be dewormed and a flea treatment as well as a general check up.
Yeah, I did think of that. I checked her poo and didn't see any obvious signs of round or tapeworms, though. The vet is working to get us in at the first cancellation so I'm hoping that's soon!

The bath with Dawn went pretty well, by the way! I still haven't seen a single flea, which is encouraging but also maybe frustrating because I feel like there has to be one... somewhere. Could have washed it down the drain before we noticed, I suppose. What's a good flea treatment for a kitten at a low weight? We're going to try and weigh her ourselves tomorrow to get a baseline idea of where she's at.
 

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Maggie lived outside for a month,Coco 2 yrs. I live by a dog park. Coco had no fleas. Maggie was given treatment and I bathed her.she had lots of dead fleas on. I bought advantage. It says on the box how much to give determining on weight.
 
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sierramist

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Darn. Checked where she slept last night, and there's still a little bit of flea dirt. So I guess our bath wasn't very effective.

Tried to weigh her but she wouldn't sit still. I may call the vet back today and ask what to do. I hate to get another vet involved because we'd have to drive further and then get her records transferred back, but I'd really like to get her seen soon.
 

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Old technique from before chemical flea treatments. Use a fine toothed flea comb. Have a jar partially filled with some soapy water nearby. Set cat on a (preferably) white towel. Comb. Work from head back towards tail. Periodically or when you see flea(s) on comb dip into soapy water, shake to remove, then continue combing. Cat usually enjoys, especially if you are talking sweetly all the while.
 

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Question is not do you keep her, question is does she keep you,lol!!! She is home, what is her name? She has been out for a while,her being skin and bones proves that and even if she doesn’t have parasites she would be inclined to eat as much food as she is presented. (State of mind is , who knows when and if another meal will come) . She looks pretty good but don’t be surprised if she gives you a present in a shape of kittens, she looks old enough. Good luck and thank you for caring.
 
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sierramist

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Thanks all, for the feedback! Talked to the vet again and they said we could try Capstar as a quick way to get any active fleas off of her. Gave her the pill with no problems, tried to get her to stay on white towels for a bit, and ended up with just two fleas that fell right off after about an hour! I knew they had to be hiding there somewhere. We're going to do another bath tonight and hopefully that will suffice until she gets prescribed a monthly topical at the vet soon. They like Revolution Plus at our vet, so that should knock out any ear mites and worms too. We'll see what they decide. Hoping for a cancellation so we get in soon.

No name yet! I'm still not 100% if she's a new addition or not. Depends on her workup and how our others react if we slowly start to integrate. And if another home presents itself, I'd be open to that if it's a good one.

And egads, hoping she's not pregnant! :eek: Will the vet be able to tell?
 
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sierramist

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A little update:

We STILL can't get into our vet until Thursday. Even called another local vet, and they are booked up even later! What the heck is happening around here?

But the good news is, since last week's Capstar and baths, zero signs of any fleas. Though I'm fairly certain she has ear mites. She doesn't scratch at her ears constantly, but definitely a few times a day and shakes her head a little. We're washing our hands thoroughly after petting her and vacuuming the space often, so hopefully we aren't bringing any mites into the "main house" where our other three cats are. (I can give Revolution Plus to two of our other cats, but one has idiopathic seizures so I'm cautious and try to keep topicals off of him.)

Hopefully at Thursday's appointment we'll get new kitten on Revolution Plus too. I plan on keeping her in quarantine for a while yet before even thinking of slowly introducing her to the others, until she's been vaccinated and completely cleared of any problems. She's in my office space and get a bunch of attention while I'm working each day — napping on my lap as we speak!

Her ravenous eating has tapered off also, by the way. Still eats like a champ and is excited about meal times, but isn't craaaaazy about food like last week. I imagine the vet will still deworm her but I'm glad to see she's getting some good nutrition now. We're feeding two 3 oz. cans of Wellness kitten food a day + about 1/4 cup of Blue Buffalo kibble (divided) + a little Feline Natural Chicken & Lamb Feast as a treat/topper twice a day. Not sure if that's exactly right but she seems to be happy with it for now.
 
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sierramist

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Finally, we visited the vet this morning!

Her FIV/FeLV was negative, thankfully. No chip. Weight is good now and they think she's about 6-7 months old. Got her vaccinations and going to start her on Revolution Plus today. Did a fecal and will get the results tomorrow.

And no ear mites, hooray! That's a big relief. They did a sample under the microscope though, and did see a little bacteria/yeast, so they cleaned her ears and prescribed Tresaderm drops twice a day for a week. Though I think actually getting it IN her ears will be challenge. Any tips on this?

But overall, they said she looks really great, especially for a stray. We go back in a few weeks for her booster and to set up a spay appointment, and we won't try to integrate with the others until probably around the same time, to be sure she isn't carrying herpesvirus and her other issues are knocked out.
 
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sierramist

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More good news! Her fecal came back negative for everything, so no worms, hooray!

She was soooo lethargic yesterday after her vaccinations that I was worried, but is better this morning and eating a bit. Now if we can just figure out how to get these drops in her ears so it isn't traumatic. We might wait a day to let her rest up. I feel like I'm giving her trauma after trauma the last couple of days, poor girl.

And we still have to put her Revolution Plus on. I decided to wait on that since she already felt so bad yesterday.
 
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