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Sick kitty died/endager my other pets?
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kterrey posted:
Last evening (Friday) we found a sick Siamese cat hiding in our garage at about 7:30 0r 8pm. The cat was scared but clearly not quite ferrel. We could not touch the cat who was small and scared so we left it in the garage with the door down so it could not get out and left food and a soft towel bed hoping that it would rest, eat, relax, gain strength, get more used to us and that on Monday we could get it to a vet. We work a second job on Saturday and Sunday and could then accomplish this task until Monday. We did notice that the cat was thin, dirty, had a huge area about 2 inches wide of raw exposed skin and muscle at the proximal base end of its back at its tail and that the distal end of its tail had been cut or bit off as well. At that moment we did not see the "worms" crawling out of its skin and when we did the next morning we though it was full of worms and that they were exiting from its rectum. I left my adult daughter at home with the cat to watch over it while my other daughter and I were at work. About noon that second day she called to tell me that she thought the cat was going to die, was cold and that the worms were maggots coming out of its skin. I said that I didn't think maggots lived in live animals. She bathed the cat, warmed it, and stroked it while it went to sleep. Later at about 3pm she called me to say that the cat had indeed died. When I and my other daughter (her twin) got home I looked up information on maggots and found that they do live in live flesh, saw a picture, and my daughter that took care of the cat during the day said that the picture on the internet looked exactly like what she saw on the cat exiting its flesh. Tomorrow we will be burying the cat in our back yard and planting flowers. My question is this: would this cat have died even if we could have gotten it to a vet in the less than 20 hours we had it over night? And, will burying it in the back yard hurt in any way if we take great care doing so our other two dogs and eight cats? Thank you.
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AMERICAN VETERINARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION
Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP responded:
Of course, it's impossible to say what would have happened under different circumstances. Delaying medical care is always risky, but you did the best you could for her. At least she had some comfort and food in her last days and was not alone.

Fortunately, your cats and dogs cannot catch maggots from this cat. Maggots are fly larvae that live in decaying tissue and, believe it or not, can actually help tissue heal. It is an indication, however, that the wound had been there quite some time.

Most importantly, however, is that you didn't expose your other cats to this one. Although they can't catch maggots, they can catch many other diseases this cat could have had, such as Feline Leukemia or FIV. These are untreatable, fatal diseases that are often seen in stray cats. It's very important to keep new cats from your other ones until they can be examined by your veterinarian for this reason.

Drew Weigner, DVM, ABVP
The Cat Doctor
Board Certified in Feline Practice


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